Dear Clients: Read this. Love, Designers.
The open letter that every client - designer needs to read.
Dear Design Clients,
Welcome to your wake up call. I'm Ralph Theodori, the design director of Vectornator, and I need to get things off my chest:
Those who run their own design studios or work as freelance designers often struggle with their relationship with their clients. Great minds do think alike, but in this case, I would like to imagine that designers live in Mars: A land of the future, fashion and art. Clients however reside all the way in Venus; where word art, Microsoft paint and comic sans enjoy their retirement.
Now, we believe that the following tips will not only make your communication skills better with your designer, but this will help you build a bridge to Mars; where you will finally understand what's going on inside the designer's mind that's sitting right across the table from you.
Let's start with our first and most obvious tip:
1. Please stop asking for bigger logos 😭
The first tip is a well known one, Please stop asking us to make the 'Logo' bigger. The most important thing to know is:
"A bigger logo does not make a small brand bigger."
Your logo should be visible in a tiny iPhone app icon and on the billboard on the highway. Instead, ask your designers about different size options instead of making things "Bigger".
2. Know what you want 💡
Don't be disappointed about the draft you receive if you haven't given enough information to back up the designer's task. When you meet with your designer, make sure you transfer your entire vision across to the mind of the creative.
Start with general info and ideas then sprinkle some more details, keywords and colors that describe what you're looking for.
Setting expectations is crucial. Don't forget to tell the designer what you're expecting at the end of the project.
3. Give us some space 👽
Great client feedback is key to achieve a great design. However, don't let your guidelines and beliefs overcrowd the designer with more boundaries and limitations.
"Don't clip your designer's wings"
Limitations can disturb their creative process and limit them from achieving the great work you're expecting. Always give some creative freedom where the designer has enough space to excel at his work. Finally, never be afraid to ask your designer for his opinion on things. This might help you become more familiar with the latest design trends and themes that fit your criteria.
Which brings us to our fourth tip:
4. Google is your friend 🕸
In order to avoid any surprises in the final design. Always keep your eyes up to date with the current state of design. It's time to wake up, Comic sans is dead and people don't use word-art anymore. It's time to browse through some modern brand websites, check out the latest design trends and search dribble to get familiar with today's design. A short trip down the web will surely help you mature your creative taste!
5. Don't be afraid of change 🙅♂️
A part of giving designers more freedom comes from accepting change. Don't be afraid of change. Maybe it's hard to let go of your logo that you used for the last decade. Maybe it's time to give your brand a major facelift. This might be the right moment to take a sharp turn and do something new and original for your company.
Client vs. Designer by DEEKAY
6. Reward the designer 🏆
Good feedback is quite underrated. Feedback is not a long list of negatives. Designers need to hear about the positives just as much. Give props, tell them what you really like and they will be able to see your feedback under the microscope and understand your perspective.
Again, don't forget to ask your designer for their personal opinion and take their advice. Self-feedback can help move the design process forward.
In addition, Building a solid relationship with your designer can be very beneficial. If this is your first project together, communication is vital. Then, it will get easier with each new project you are collaborating on; As you will become more in sync with each other and your workflow will become more productive and efficient.
7. Review work properly 👀
In order to give proper feedback to your designer, make sure you review their work properly. First, It's better to wait and open your design files on a proper monitor or display instead of quickly reviewing them on your smartphone. Your phone's tiny display will fail to show you the design in all of its glorious details and colors.
Don't forget to turn that monitor around and ask your colleagues for their feedback too. This will help you broaden your view and diversify opinions, which will result in a great, valuable response to your designer. which leads us to point #8:
8. Prepare to hear other perspectives 🎤
Chances are, your designer knows more about design than you do. Don't be afraid to trust your designer on some design decisions. Of course, you need to be on board with the final version; we are not asking you to give up your own opinion, but to simply be open to different views and perspectives that might be different than yours. After all, open minded, well informed clients are the dream of every designer to have.
9. Please don't be late to pay your designer for their hard-earned work 💸😉
Finally, a big shoutout to DEEKAY, the amazing motion designer behind the humorous Designer-Client Gifs we used in this article, He was able to capture his experience with clients in a very genuine way:
January 24, 2020