Design insights & tutorials.

13 ways to trick your client into happiness

The art of making your customers love the designs you create.

In an ideal world our clients would think like designers. In an ideal world our clients have a good knowledge of marketing. In an ideal world they think logically and communicate clearly. Well folks, this is not an ideal world. And, unfortunately, our clients do not think like a designer. They don’t necessarily know the basics of marketing or branding. They are not designers. That’s why they’ve hired us.

title image for trick your customer

Now, if we could just get them to trust us. Well, that’s not going to happen. So, what’s left? I’ve got It! We’ll TRICK them. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

I’ve developed a few techniques over the years that help me “trick” my customers. These tricks are for both of our benefit. I trick them into picking the best design and trick them into being happy. It’s a win-win.

1. Lower your customer’s expectations. Ok, I’m not suggesting you tell the customer: “Your design is going to suck.” But I AM suggesting that you set your customer up with realistic expectations. Don’t promise the world. And if they’re ASKING for the world… you need to be honest with them about what you can accomplish. Even at the risk of losing a project – I really hammer home exactly what we can accomplish so the customer knows what to expect.

2. Limit your concepts. It’s natural to think that giving your customer 8 logo concepts is better than giving them 4, but is it? First off, the customer is relying on you to give him or her the best options. You should be the one narrowing down the options to the best few. Whatever you decide to show your customer, be prepared for him or her to pick your LEAST favorite option – they always do. Secondly, too many options can be very confusing. There are too many possibilities, too many styles, too many choices to be made. In my experience 3-5 concepts is optimal. 3-5 concepts is just enough to let the customer feel like they have a good choice while still controlling the situation.

3. Clients like shiny color stuff better than black and white stuff. It’s unfortunate that clients are influenced by “bling” (color, gel, gloss, drop shadows and lens flares) but they are. If you have two concepts to pitching to a client and the first one is an AMAZING concept – that you’ve sketched out in pencil and the second concept is mediocre at best, but it’s polished, full color with gel effect and drop shadows, can you guess which concept the customer is going to pick? They’re going to pick the color one – every time. They can’t imagine how cool the pencil-sketched concept is going to look. They only see a pencil sketch. So, if you want to steer the client to a particular design – sell it; add that color, add the gel, whatever. Make sure the one you really want them to pick looks just a little bit better than the others.

4. Give bad news immediately and over the phone or in person if possible. If something bad happens don’t try to hide it. Just be honest immediately. A mistake that YOU point out is twenty times better than a mistake that THEY discover. Let’s say you designed a flyer and misspelled a word. Don’t quietly pray that they won’t find it, because THEY WILL. A hundred people will point it out to them. Bring it up, apologize and offer a solution. I will frequently offer free design services if I’ve made a mistake. This allows me to keep their money in my bank and simply “work-off” my mistakes. Also, clients can get really nasty through e-mail. If you’ve made a mistake – get them on the phone. They will always be much nicer if they’re actually on the phone or meeting with you in person.

Just some eye candy

5. Beware of “scope creep.” Some clients like to make changes as you go through the design process. Don’t let this slide without saying something! Every time a customer makes a change – you need to point it out, describe how the change will affect the design process and establish a new set of expectations. Now, I’m not talking about changes like: “Please add the word ‘From’ to the first sentence.” I’m talking about when a customer says: “Hey – I would like to add a photo gallery to my website.” In that scenario you need to say: “Ok, but we will miss our deadline if we are going to do that additional work. Also, it will cost $XXX.XX more dollars.”

6. Narrow down options. If, even after all these tricks, my customer is proving hard to please, I will try to narrow the design decisions down. For instance, can we settle on a color scheme? Can we focus on just picking a font? Can we decide on the principle image they want me to use? I might make them come to a decision on these item outside of the design itself. So, the next time I’m working on a concept, I’ll already know the colors, font and images to use. Then I only need to make the layout work.

7. Only work with the decision maker. Frequently you’re not even working with the person making the decisions. You’re working with the lackey that’s between you and the decision maker. I really fight to try and work directly with the guy/gal that’s calling the shots. Otherwise you’ll be doing everything twice – once for the lackey, then again for the decision maker.

8. When working with groups; elect a leader. Similar to rule #7 is working with groups. Sometimes the group doesn’t even know who the leader is. So, you’ll be getting different feedback from different people in the group. I request any group to elect one person to do all the communicating with me. That way, when the leader collects the feedback from the five other people in the group, they will realize that it’s all different. Bob says change the color to blue. Susan says change the color to white. Matt says to change the color to yellow. This makes no sense.

more eye candy

9. Touch base if the project is running long or starting late. If I’m not moving real fast through a project, or if the start of a project has been delayed I’ll drop my client an e-mail. Basically I’ll say something like: “Hey Bob, I just wanted to let you know that I got swamped and will be starting your project on Thursday. Sorry for the delay. We should still meet your deadline, no problem.” This pro-active approach is always much better than having to answer their question: “What’s going on with my project?”

10. Educate your customers. I know this is a tough one, but you have to try anyway. When a customer asks me to do something that is not good design – I will take the time to explain why MY way is more effective that THEIR way. It takes some tact to communicate this without ruffling feathers, so be gentle.

11. Don’t fight with your customer. Sometimes you need to swallow your pride and just give the customer what they want – even if it’s a miserable design. If you’re asked to design something in a way that you know is terrible, you should make your case, try to teach them and give them better design options. But, at the end of the day, if they’ve got their heart set on something (even if it’s an ugly mess of a design) – Give it to them.

12. Give a little extra. If you just do one small little extra task – and let them know about it, they’ll be very grateful. It doesn’t have to be a lot of work. It can be something very small. But it should be outside of the work that was agreed upon. A quick note to the customer might read something like this: “Hey Bob, I noticed that the logo you provided me had a little scratch through it. I removed that and cleaned up the lines on it. This was not part of the project scope, but I can’t have you going around with a dirty logo! No charge for this additional service.”

13. Say Thank you. Amazing. All I need to know I really DID learn in kindergarten. They’ve done studies on the power of a “thank-you.” Disgruntled customers can be magically transformed into satisfied customers with the mere muttering of the words: “Thank You.” So, thank your customers for their business. Thank them when they make a payment. Thank them when they buy you a beer.

With that said, thank you for taking the time to read our blog. I hope this has been helpful to you in some way. If you have more helpful hints for keeping your customers happy – please add a comment.

About the Author, William Beachy

I grew up in Cleveland Hts. Ohio and was drawing constantly. As a child I took art classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art and eventually became known as the "class artist." I graduated from The Ohio State University's department of Industrial Design. I have always tried to blend my passion for illustration with Graphic Design. Go Media was the culmination of my interests for both business and art. I'm trying to build a company that is equally considerate of our designers AND our clients.
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Discussion

We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • Bubulubu

    Oh man, you telling me! Customers really want shiny logos and stuff and then complain that they don’t look good in black & white!

    Really nice way to handle customers! I will try it your way and save me some headaches!

    Love your tutorials. Very inspirational. Your art is off the hook too. The vectors. The posters! The shirt designs.

  • Bubulubu

    Oh man, you telling me! Customers really want shiny logos and stuff and then complain that they don’t look good in black & white!

    Really nice way to handle customers! I will try it your way and save me some headaches!

    Love your tutorials. Very inspirational. Your art is off the hook too. The vectors. The posters! The shirt designs.

  • Bubulubu

    Oh man, you telling me! Customers really want shiny logos and stuff and then complain that they don’t look good in black & white!

    Really nice way to handle customers! I will try it your way and save me some headaches!

    Love your tutorials. Very inspirational. Your art is off the hook too. The vectors. The posters! The shirt designs.

  • Travis

    yes, clients love some of the weirdest and most horrible designs, but since I work at a design agency and I hardly get to talk to clients (even though when I get to the project goes off without a hitch) so I have tried to tell my boss, in a nice way, that she should help them understand what is good design and what is not. but sadly every holiday, even the small ones, we have to make some cheesy clip art like products and like you said it is almost always shiny.

  • Travis

    yes, clients love some of the weirdest and most horrible designs, but since I work at a design agency and I hardly get to talk to clients (even though when I get to the project goes off without a hitch) so I have tried to tell my boss, in a nice way, that she should help them understand what is good design and what is not. but sadly every holiday, even the small ones, we have to make some cheesy clip art like products and like you said it is almost always shiny.

  • Travis

    yes, clients love some of the weirdest and most horrible designs, but since I work at a design agency and I hardly get to talk to clients (even though when I get to the project goes off without a hitch) so I have tried to tell my boss, in a nice way, that she should help them understand what is good design and what is not. but sadly every holiday, even the small ones, we have to make some cheesy clip art like products and like you said it is almost always shiny.

  • B

    #2 is a big one. I tend to do 3-4 concepts, but never more than that, b/c it is not time efficient.

    #3 bothers me. It’s always been my firm belief that if a design doesn’t work in black and white, it WILL NOT work in color. Period. But this is not realistic when it comes to the mind-set of client.

    Thanks for the info.

  • B

    #2 is a big one. I tend to do 3-4 concepts, but never more than that, b/c it is not time efficient.

    #3 bothers me. It’s always been my firm belief that if a design doesn’t work in black and white, it WILL NOT work in color. Period. But this is not realistic when it comes to the mind-set of client.

    Thanks for the info.

  • B

    #2 is a big one. I tend to do 3-4 concepts, but never more than that, b/c it is not time efficient.

    #3 bothers me. It’s always been my firm belief that if a design doesn’t work in black and white, it WILL NOT work in color. Period. But this is not realistic when it comes to the mind-set of client.

    Thanks for the info.

  • http://www.soul-to-squeeze.deviantart.com Derek

    Good ideas, I especially can vouch for number 12, if you do a little extra(even if it’s just a small task) it’ll really make them think that much higher of you.

    And to the guys at Go Media – thanks for all these articles and tutorials that you’ve posted here. They are really helpful and I always look for updates.

    -Derek

  • http://www.soul-to-squeeze.deviantart.com Derek

    Good ideas, I especially can vouch for number 12, if you do a little extra(even if it’s just a small task) it’ll really make them think that much higher of you.

    And to the guys at Go Media – thanks for all these articles and tutorials that you’ve posted here. They are really helpful and I always look for updates.

    -Derek

  • http://www.soul-to-squeeze.deviantart.com Derek

    Good ideas, I especially can vouch for number 12, if you do a little extra(even if it’s just a small task) it’ll really make them think that much higher of you.

    And to the guys at Go Media – thanks for all these articles and tutorials that you’ve posted here. They are really helpful and I always look for updates.

    -Derek

  • AndrU

    Thank You Bill!.

    (No more, No less!)

  • AndrU

    Thank You Bill!.

    (No more, No less!)

  • AndrU

    Thank You Bill!.

    (No more, No less!)

  • bwoogie

    Thank you for taking the time to give these tips.

  • bwoogie

    Thank you for taking the time to give these tips.

  • bwoogie

    Thank you for taking the time to give these tips.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this list. Hopefully I will be able to master these techniques when I get ready to do jobs. Thank you so much.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this list. Hopefully I will be able to master these techniques when I get ready to do jobs. Thank you so much.

  • http://www.patrickdaley.wordpress.com Patrick

    Thank you for this list. Hopefully I will be able to master these techniques when I get ready to do jobs. Thank you so much.

  • http://www.karmaorange.com chris (FR)

    Thank you guy ! ;)

  • http://www.karmaorange.com chris (FR)

    Thank you guy ! ;)

  • http://www.karmaorange.com chris (FR)

    Thank you guy ! ;)

  • http://aiburn.com Sean Hodge

    Great article! I especially like your discussion points on presenting work to clients. We as designers have alot more control over this selection process than we may realize. Thx.

  • http://aiburn.com Sean Hodge

    Great article! I especially like your discussion points on presenting work to clients. We as designers have alot more control over this selection process than we may realize. Thx.

  • http://aiburn.com Sean Hodge

    Great article! I especially like your discussion points on presenting work to clients. We as designers have alot more control over this selection process than we may realize. Thx.

  • http://paulmorel.com/ Paul

    Very nice article. It’s going to be very useful if I ever find clients! Haha

  • http://paulmorel.com/ Paul

    Very nice article. It’s going to be very useful if I ever find clients! Haha

  • Paul

    Very nice article. It’s going to be very useful if I ever find clients! Haha

  • http://robertaseldon.bravehost.com Roberta Seldon

    Excellent!! Thanks for the article :)

  • http://robertaseldon.bravehost.com Roberta Seldon

    Excellent!! Thanks for the article :)

  • http://robertaseldon.bravehost.com Roberta Seldon

    Excellent!! Thanks for the article :)

  • Joe Baron

    “Also, clients can get really nasty through e-mail. If you’ve made a mistake – get them on the phone. They will always be much nicer if they’re actually on the phone or meeting with you in person.”
    That is so true as well as the “thank you.” It really is amazing how that works. Just showing manners in general will build a good relationship. This was a very useful blog and is greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • Joe Baron

    “Also, clients can get really nasty through e-mail. If you’ve made a mistake – get them on the phone. They will always be much nicer if they’re actually on the phone or meeting with you in person.”
    That is so true as well as the “thank you.” It really is amazing how that works. Just showing manners in general will build a good relationship. This was a very useful blog and is greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • Joe Baron

    “Also, clients can get really nasty through e-mail. If you’ve made a mistake – get them on the phone. They will always be much nicer if they’re actually on the phone or meeting with you in person.”
    That is so true as well as the “thank you.” It really is amazing how that works. Just showing manners in general will build a good relationship. This was a very useful blog and is greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • Tylon Blas

    I couldn’t help but just [lol] at my desk after I read this… I work for a Christian church and all that you mentioned is what I go through on a daily basis. The most annoying thing about my job is that I’ll get an entire ministry behind my chair, watching me make something based on someone else’s project request, and then they’ll start chattering about changes that need to be made. Ugh!

    #11 is my biggest struggle. You wouldn’t believe the stuff that I’m ashamed to have worked on. Especially involving children’s ministry things. But, if everything looks like rainbows, it’s perfect to them!

    Anyways, this was a great reminder and also greatly insightful…

    “Thank you”

  • Tylon Blas

    I couldn’t help but just [lol] at my desk after I read this… I work for a Christian church and all that you mentioned is what I go through on a daily basis. The most annoying thing about my job is that I’ll get an entire ministry behind my chair, watching me make something based on someone else’s project request, and then they’ll start chattering about changes that need to be made. Ugh!

    #11 is my biggest struggle. You wouldn’t believe the stuff that I’m ashamed to have worked on. Especially involving children’s ministry things. But, if everything looks like rainbows, it’s perfect to them!

    Anyways, this was a great reminder and also greatly insightful…

    “Thank you”

  • Tylon Blas

    I couldn’t help but just [lol] at my desk after I read this… I work for a Christian church and all that you mentioned is what I go through on a daily basis. The most annoying thing about my job is that I’ll get an entire ministry behind my chair, watching me make something based on someone else’s project request, and then they’ll start chattering about changes that need to be made. Ugh!

    #11 is my biggest struggle. You wouldn’t believe the stuff that I’m ashamed to have worked on. Especially involving children’s ministry things. But, if everything looks like rainbows, it’s perfect to them!

    Anyways, this was a great reminder and also greatly insightful…

    “Thank you”

  • k

    thanks a ton. superb insights. u guys do a great service to designkind.

  • k

    thanks a ton. superb insights. u guys do a great service to designkind.

  • k

    thanks a ton. superb insights. u guys do a great service to designkind.

  • http://donpatricio.com oz

    thanks for the tips..

    very useful, we all deal with sort of the same clients.

    Forgot to mention those “designer-wannabe” clients that provide Powerpoint-Word-even-Paint “logos” or “designs”.

    Thanks again !!

    -Oz

  • http://donpatricio.com oz

    thanks for the tips..

    very useful, we all deal with sort of the same clients.

    Forgot to mention those “designer-wannabe” clients that provide Powerpoint-Word-even-Paint “logos” or “designs”.

    Thanks again !!

    -Oz

  • http://donpatricio.com oz

    thanks for the tips..

    very useful, we all deal with sort of the same clients.

    Forgot to mention those “designer-wannabe” clients that provide Powerpoint-Word-even-Paint “logos” or “designs”.

    Thanks again !!

    -Oz

  • wicker

    number 10 is an art form all by itself. the pencil sketch thing is very true too. it seems people in suits couldn’t tell a good design unless its printed on a tie.

  • wicker

    number 10 is an art form all by itself. the pencil sketch thing is very true too. it seems people in suits couldn’t tell a good design unless its printed on a tie.

  • wicker

    number 10 is an art form all by itself. the pencil sketch thing is very true too. it seems people in suits couldn’t tell a good design unless its printed on a tie.

  • http://pushapixel.com Justin (Pusha)

    I have had some clients that are very controlling. A good thing to do is make them think that your ideas were their ideas. It will help you gain approval faster with less changes if they think it was their own idea. You lose some authority as the designer but at this point you know that you never want to work with this client again and just want to get the job done. I’m sure you have all had a client like this;)

  • http://pushapixel.com Justin (Pusha)

    I have had some clients that are very controlling. A good thing to do is make them think that your ideas were their ideas. It will help you gain approval faster with less changes if they think it was their own idea. You lose some authority as the designer but at this point you know that you never want to work with this client again and just want to get the job done. I’m sure you have all had a client like this;)

  • http://pushapixel.com Justin (Pusha)

    I have had some clients that are very controlling. A good thing to do is make them think that your ideas were their ideas. It will help you gain approval faster with less changes if they think it was their own idea. You lose some authority as the designer but at this point you know that you never want to work with this client again and just want to get the job done. I’m sure you have all had a client like this;)

  • http://www.rubinsky.com SusanR

    All of this is worth it only if you’re getting paid enough. Make sure you’re getting paid what you’re worth first. Otherwise, they think you’re replacable anyhow.

  • http://www.rubinsky.com SusanR

    All of this is worth it only if you’re getting paid enough. Make sure you’re getting paid what you’re worth first. Otherwise, they think you’re replacable anyhow.

  • http://www.rubinsky.com SusanR

    All of this is worth it only if you’re getting paid enough. Make sure you’re getting paid what you’re worth first. Otherwise, they think you’re replacable anyhow.

  • http://www.stage1creative.com Kimball Carr

    Well said! It’s as if you took some of your examples right from my own experience! Thanks for the great thoughts.

    Kimball Carr
    Owner | Stage 1 Creative

  • http://www.stage1creative.com Kimball Carr

    Well said! It’s as if you took some of your examples right from my own experience! Thanks for the great thoughts.

    Kimball Carr
    Owner | Stage 1 Creative

  • http://www.stage1creative.com Kimball Carr

    Well said! It’s as if you took some of your examples right from my own experience! Thanks for the great thoughts.

    Kimball Carr
    Owner | Stage 1 Creative

  • http://www.utogger.com Andrew

    I can relate to your supporting comments in #2: “…be prepared for him or her to pick your LEAST favorite option – they always do.” That’s happened to me a couple of times recently. Good article!

  • http://www.utogger.com Andrew

    I can relate to your supporting comments in #2: “…be prepared for him or her to pick your LEAST favorite option – they always do.” That’s happened to me a couple of times recently. Good article!

  • http://www.utogger.com Andrew

    I can relate to your supporting comments in #2: “…be prepared for him or her to pick your LEAST favorite option – they always do.” That’s happened to me a couple of times recently. Good article!

  • http://www.caseydigennaro.com Casey

    SICKNESS!!! I agree completely! In fact, I expounded on my own site. I’m an aspiring blogger. Please check it out and leave a comment! http://www.caseydigennaro.com

  • http://www.caseydigennaro.com Casey

    SICKNESS!!! I agree completely! In fact, I expounded on my own site. I’m an aspiring blogger. Please check it out and leave a comment! http://www.caseydigennaro.com

  • http://www.caseydigennaro.com Casey

    SICKNESS!!! I agree completely! In fact, I expounded on my own site. I’m an aspiring blogger. Please check it out and leave a comment! http://www.caseydigennaro.com

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  • http://www.bycolor.ro Bogdan Georgescu

    My first comment on a blog, although I read a lot of them (Smashing is my fav). :)
    I absolutely agree with all of the points. Fantastic post, I’ve enjoyed every word!

    Thank you.

  • http://www.bycolor.ro Bogdan Georgescu

    My first comment on a blog, although I read a lot of them (Smashing is my fav). :)
    I absolutely agree with all of the points. Fantastic post, I’ve enjoyed every word!

    Thank you.

  • http://www.bycolor.ro Bogdan Georgescu

    My first comment on a blog, although I read a lot of them (Smashing is my fav). :)
    I absolutely agree with all of the points. Fantastic post, I’ve enjoyed every word!

    Thank you.

  • pritam

    nice info…..loved reading it

  • pritam

    nice info…..loved reading it

  • pritam

    nice info…..loved reading it

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  • Mike

    Very good information! But I do not agree with #11 (maybe it’s because I’m more focussed on product design). If you do not like the design your client want, you should not let the client “win”. Firstly, because the design is connected with you. So, it is not very good advertising for your portfolio. Secondly, YOU are the design expert. Of course, you should not get too cocky, but come on, if they want your design (and thus, your expertise), they should listen to you as well. And third, I think you will regret making that design in the end.
    In my opinion, you need to stick to your own ideas/philosophy. As stated in the “15 Awful Mistakes…” article: design is not a throwaway commodity. So do not everything to sooth the client wishes. Design is bigger than that.

  • Mike

    Very good information! But I do not agree with #11 (maybe it’s because I’m more focussed on product design). If you do not like the design your client want, you should not let the client “win”. Firstly, because the design is connected with you. So, it is not very good advertising for your portfolio. Secondly, YOU are the design expert. Of course, you should not get too cocky, but come on, if they want your design (and thus, your expertise), they should listen to you as well. And third, I think you will regret making that design in the end.
    In my opinion, you need to stick to your own ideas/philosophy. As stated in the “15 Awful Mistakes…” article: design is not a throwaway commodity. So do not everything to sooth the client wishes. Design is bigger than that.

  • Mike

    Very good information! But I do not agree with #11 (maybe it’s because I’m more focussed on product design). If you do not like the design your client want, you should not let the client “win”. Firstly, because the design is connected with you. So, it is not very good advertising for your portfolio. Secondly, YOU are the design expert. Of course, you should not get too cocky, but come on, if they want your design (and thus, your expertise), they should listen to you as well. And third, I think you will regret making that design in the end.
    In my opinion, you need to stick to your own ideas/philosophy. As stated in the “15 Awful Mistakes…” article: design is not a throwaway commodity. So do not everything to sooth the client wishes. Design is bigger than that.

  • http://www.gomedia.us William A. Beachy

    @Mike

    If you have enough work that you can afford to lose clients (and money) over design disagreements – then, sure… I guess you should stick to your guns.

    Mike, I am curious – are you a freelance designer? Do you own your own company? Are you designing for clients that come to you, or are you designing your own line of products?

    I guess my firm does not have enough work to have the luxury of just dumping clients over a differing of opinion.

    Let me ask you… if you are designing a chair for a client, and you put in 100 hours on it (so you are owed $10,000 by the client) – and you’re CLOSE to what the client wants… but there is one last little change that you do not agree with… what happens? Do you just tell the customer to take a hike and you give up the 10K?

    I’m just trying to understand how your philosophy works in the real world. That type of rigid idealism does not work in my experience.

    Of course, this is different if you are developing your OWN line of products. In this case… YOU are the client and then your work is only judged by whether or not people buy your products.

    -Bill

  • http://www.gomedia.us William A. Beachy

    @Mike

    If you have enough work that you can afford to lose clients (and money) over design disagreements – then, sure… I guess you should stick to your guns.

    Mike, I am curious – are you a freelance designer? Do you own your own company? Are you designing for clients that come to you, or are you designing your own line of products?

    I guess my firm does not have enough work to have the luxury of just dumping clients over a differing of opinion.

    Let me ask you… if you are designing a chair for a client, and you put in 100 hours on it (so you are owed $10,000 by the client) – and you’re CLOSE to what the client wants… but there is one last little change that you do not agree with… what happens? Do you just tell the customer to take a hike and you give up the 10K?

    I’m just trying to understand how your philosophy works in the real world. That type of rigid idealism does not work in my experience.

    Of course, this is different if you are developing your OWN line of products. In this case… YOU are the client and then your work is only judged by whether or not people buy your products.

    -Bill

  • http://www.gomedia.us William A. Beachy

    @Mike

    If you have enough work that you can afford to lose clients (and money) over design disagreements – then, sure… I guess you should stick to your guns.

    Mike, I am curious – are you a freelance designer? Do you own your own company? Are you designing for clients that come to you, or are you designing your own line of products?

    I guess my firm does not have enough work to have the luxury of just dumping clients over a differing of opinion.

    Let me ask you… if you are designing a chair for a client, and you put in 100 hours on it (so you are owed $10,000 by the client) – and you’re CLOSE to what the client wants… but there is one last little change that you do not agree with… what happens? Do you just tell the customer to take a hike and you give up the 10K?

    I’m just trying to understand how your philosophy works in the real world. That type of rigid idealism does not work in my experience.

    Of course, this is different if you are developing your OWN line of products. In this case… YOU are the client and then your work is only judged by whether or not people buy your products.

    -Bill

  • Mike

    @Bill

    No, I’m not running my own design company but I do some freelance stuff, and honoustly, I’m quite young and inexperienced in comparison with a lot of people here.

    With the track #11 it is stated that if you made a terrible design, and totally not agree with it, you should swallow your pride. Well, that would really be something. If you have done some design school and become a professional designer, you’re an expert. Maybe you not always agree with your client, but you should not give in if you don’t like the chosen design. If you are not on the same page about the guidelines or demands, some compromising will not do any harm, but you probably make the best design possible in your opinion, that still is quite okay in your opinion.

    On the other hand, I think design is more a kind of process, or better: chemistry between the designer and the client. In my humble opinion the best way to work, because you combine your design skills with the skills of your client on his or her specific domain. In the end, it should deliver some quality design.

    And about your $10k example, you’re totally right. There should be some degree of compromising in the end, otherwise it will be very hard to make some money. But totally not like the choices of your client… Well, why does he ask you to do the design part as he thinks he knows it all better. Does not make your profession a bit ridiculous (I say it a big extreme, but I think you get the point)?

  • Mike

    @Bill

    No, I’m not running my own design company but I do some freelance stuff, and honoustly, I’m quite young and inexperienced in comparison with a lot of people here.

    With the track #11 it is stated that if you made a terrible design, and totally not agree with it, you should swallow your pride. Well, that would really be something. If you have done some design school and become a professional designer, you’re an expert. Maybe you not always agree with your client, but you should not give in if you don’t like the chosen design. If you are not on the same page about the guidelines or demands, some compromising will not do any harm, but you probably make the best design possible in your opinion, that still is quite okay in your opinion.

    On the other hand, I think design is more a kind of process, or better: chemistry between the designer and the client. In my humble opinion the best way to work, because you combine your design skills with the skills of your client on his or her specific domain. In the end, it should deliver some quality design.

    And about your $10k example, you’re totally right. There should be some degree of compromising in the end, otherwise it will be very hard to make some money. But totally not like the choices of your client… Well, why does he ask you to do the design part as he thinks he knows it all better. Does not make your profession a bit ridiculous (I say it a big extreme, but I think you get the point)?

  • Mike

    @Bill

    No, I’m not running my own design company but I do some freelance stuff, and honoustly, I’m quite young and inexperienced in comparison with a lot of people here.

    With the track #11 it is stated that if you made a terrible design, and totally not agree with it, you should swallow your pride. Well, that would really be something. If you have done some design school and become a professional designer, you’re an expert. Maybe you not always agree with your client, but you should not give in if you don’t like the chosen design. If you are not on the same page about the guidelines or demands, some compromising will not do any harm, but you probably make the best design possible in your opinion, that still is quite okay in your opinion.

    On the other hand, I think design is more a kind of process, or better: chemistry between the designer and the client. In my humble opinion the best way to work, because you combine your design skills with the skills of your client on his or her specific domain. In the end, it should deliver some quality design.

    And about your $10k example, you’re totally right. There should be some degree of compromising in the end, otherwise it will be very hard to make some money. But totally not like the choices of your client… Well, why does he ask you to do the design part as he thinks he knows it all better. Does not make your profession a bit ridiculous (I say it a big extreme, but I think you get the point)?

  • Mike

    (sorry for my bad English)

  • Mike

    (sorry for my bad English)

  • Mike

    (sorry for my bad English)

  • http://www.vistadriver.net Download Driver

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  • http://www.vistadriver.net Download Driver

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  • http://www.vistadriver.net Download Driver

    Great Post. Thanks..

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  • Aditya

    First things first, Thank you!

    Thanks for the gr8 article…it definitely helps a lot to know how to deal with clients, who mysteriously never seem to be satisfied! Now it all makes sense…clients are a lot like chicks…u need to talk to someone who know how to do it before u try ‘em out urself….have a nice day!

  • Aditya

    First things first, Thank you!

    Thanks for the gr8 article…it definitely helps a lot to know how to deal with clients, who mysteriously never seem to be satisfied! Now it all makes sense…clients are a lot like chicks…u need to talk to someone who know how to do it before u try ‘em out urself….have a nice day!

  • Aditya

    First things first, Thank you!

    Thanks for the gr8 article…it definitely helps a lot to know how to deal with clients, who mysteriously never seem to be satisfied! Now it all makes sense…clients are a lot like chicks…u need to talk to someone who know how to do it before u try ‘em out urself….have a nice day!

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  • Lost Marble Media

    Dam…I wish I’d read this about 2 weeks ago! Amazingly useful advice! I thank you very much!

    CHEERS!!!

  • Lost Marble Media

    Dam…I wish I’d read this about 2 weeks ago! Amazingly useful advice! I thank you very much!

    CHEERS!!!

  • Lost Marble Media

    Dam…I wish I’d read this about 2 weeks ago! Amazingly useful advice! I thank you very much!

    CHEERS!!!

  • bret

    Excellent article, very informative! Thanks for taking the time to write it!

  • bret

    Excellent article, very informative! Thanks for taking the time to write it!

  • bret

    Excellent article, very informative! Thanks for taking the time to write it!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/enamonio Manuel Minino

    VERY GOOD post!!

    Special attention to point 3. a little color, shadow or wathever, will do the trick, if u got to show a stationery, do a mockup over a wooden background with a coffe cup and a pencil or something, if its a tshirt, take picture of a real tshirt and put the design on it.. is a little extra work, and most designers dont like that kinda crap and prefer a classic clean vectorial presentation but pimp your presentations actually WORKS!! — a good way is to have prepared templates for that, i have some for stationery, flyers, brochures, magazines and tshirts, just have to change colors, logos and voila!!

    This is a hard one: —> 7. Only work with the desicion maker. WELL… Unless you know personally the desicion maker, or is a friend of yours, is difficult to get that, because the desicion makers hire and pay money (sometimes a LOT of money) to others to do the lackey job. I do that myself… i have an assistant…

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/enamonio Manuel Minino

    VERY GOOD post!!

    Special attention to point 3. a little color, shadow or wathever, will do the trick, if u got to show a stationery, do a mockup over a wooden background with a coffe cup and a pencil or something, if its a tshirt, take picture of a real tshirt and put the design on it.. is a little extra work, and most designers dont like that kinda crap and prefer a classic clean vectorial presentation but pimp your presentations actually WORKS!! — a good way is to have prepared templates for that, i have some for stationery, flyers, brochures, magazines and tshirts, just have to change colors, logos and voila!!

    This is a hard one: —> 7. Only work with the desicion maker. WELL… Unless you know personally the desicion maker, or is a friend of yours, is difficult to get that, because the desicion makers hire and pay money (sometimes a LOT of money) to others to do the lackey job. I do that myself… i have an assistant…

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/enamonio Manuel Minino

    VERY GOOD post!!

    Special attention to point 3. a little color, shadow or wathever, will do the trick, if u got to show a stationery, do a mockup over a wooden background with a coffe cup and a pencil or something, if its a tshirt, take picture of a real tshirt and put the design on it.. is a little extra work, and most designers dont like that kinda crap and prefer a classic clean vectorial presentation but pimp your presentations actually WORKS!! — a good way is to have prepared templates for that, i have some for stationery, flyers, brochures, magazines and tshirts, just have to change colors, logos and voila!!

    This is a hard one: —> 7. Only work with the desicion maker. WELL… Unless you know personally the desicion maker, or is a friend of yours, is difficult to get that, because the desicion makers hire and pay money (sometimes a LOT of money) to others to do the lackey job. I do that myself… i have an assistant…

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  • Budi

    thanks man….

  • Budi

    thanks man….

  • Budi

    thanks man….

  • -KiD J

    Nice artilce bill, found it really useful.

  • -KiD J

    Nice artilce bill, found it really useful.

  • -KiD J

    Nice artilce bill, found it really useful.

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  • http://www.drunkduck.com/Last_words/ Alex

    One amendment to number 12: Do extra work only once in a while. If you do it every time for free, they begin to expect it. I learned that the hard way with my first client. I was so stoked to even get a project that big on the first go around that I agreed to do it and did extra without pay going all out on making it look brilliant, and ever since this group wants to know if I’ll do their work for free or next to nothing now. I was told I could get them to pay by another illustrator before I did the job, but in my excitement and fear at possibly losing the job, I chickened out and gave the wrong expectation.

  • http://www.drunkduck.com/Last_words/ Alex

    One amendment to number 12: Do extra work only once in a while. If you do it every time for free, they begin to expect it. I learned that the hard way with my first client. I was so stoked to even get a project that big on the first go around that I agreed to do it and did extra without pay going all out on making it look brilliant, and ever since this group wants to know if I’ll do their work for free or next to nothing now. I was told I could get them to pay by another illustrator before I did the job, but in my excitement and fear at possibly losing the job, I chickened out and gave the wrong expectation.

  • http://www.drunkduck.com/Last_words/ Alex

    One amendment to number 12: Do extra work only once in a while. If you do it every time for free, they begin to expect it. I learned that the hard way with my first client. I was so stoked to even get a project that big on the first go around that I agreed to do it and did extra without pay going all out on making it look brilliant, and ever since this group wants to know if I’ll do their work for free or next to nothing now. I was told I could get them to pay by another illustrator before I did the job, but in my excitement and fear at possibly losing the job, I chickened out and gave the wrong expectation.

  • Jay

    Thank you so much for this Article. Helps out a lot. I have been through a customer who is very hard to please with designs and like you said they like their old crappy design better than the new concept i designed for them. But still I explained my point of view and finally came to agree to change some thing around with their old design and present them.

  • http://www.roomfurniturechina.com bedroom furniture

    A good thing to do is make them think that your ideas were their ideas. It will help you gain approval faster with less changes if they think it was their own idea. You lose some authority as the designer but at this point you know that you never want to work with this client again and just want to get the job done.

  • JC

    Thanks! Oh and embossing and drop shadows… oi vey, that's a client pleaser for sure.

  • papamoa

    Hey great article, its always a challenge keeping the client excited about the project throughout…

    Re: “3. Clients like shiny color stuff better than black and white stuff.”

    (In my experience) i have found the approach of initially presenting hand drawn, penciled concepts portraying the ideas work a treat. Talking through the concept and direction in this way let's them feel like they are included in the creation of the design – and it also saves me going down the avenue (of an idea) that they straight-up dislike. Only then will i refine and finally put into the computer to be worked up for review.

    P.S. I only just found this site, and am trawling through the various articles and pages – very good stuff!

  • Dan

    Excellent job..
    dizi izle

  • http://www.loveshoppingshoes.com Alexandermcqueenshoes

    your article is very good

  • http://www.ghdhairbuy.com/ GHD Hair Straighteners

    I have tried to tell my boss, in a nice way, that she should help them understand what is good design and what is not. but sadly every holiday, even the small ones, we have to make some cheesy clip art like products and like you said it is almost always shiny.

  • http://www.ghdhair4australia.com/ GHD Australia

    Oh man, you telling me! Customers really want shiny logos and stuff and then complain that they don’t look good in black & white!

  • Supra Shoes UK

    Really nice way to handle customers! I will try it your way and save me some headaches!
    Love your tutorials. Very inspirational. Your art is off the hook too. The vectors. The posters! The shirt designs.

  • http://www.bestcardprinter.com Jeff Jones

    A really great list of keeping everyone happy when providing designs for clients. Cheers :-)

  • http://www.bestcardprinter.com Jeff Jones

    A really great list of keeping everyone happy when providing designs for clients. Cheers :-)

  • http://twitter.com/Oreagency ORE Agency

    Always give a little extra. But not too much – hand/arm.