This article was contributed by Callum.
As creative individuals we often pour our heart and soul into our work, we live and breathe our graphic design passion. It is often easy to forget we are creating these works of art for other people. The design process shouldn’t be one-sided, it should be a joint collaborative effort from both parties.
In my experience, my best work is achieved when I have a clear brief from my client and we have free and open dialogue on the business and the design. I want my client to be my co-creator and feel a sense of ownership over their logo. I have tried many methods, however, the one I find most effective is a 5 step process:
Ask, decide, design, feedback and the final approval. Tweet this.
These are 5 simple but important steps in the graphic designer-client relationship. The best way to achieve a design which both parties are 100% satisfied with is to follow the steps mentioned below, even if they do sound a little simple.
Structure the line of communication and you will see that your number of satisfied customers will increase.
If you don’t ask, you’ll be forever guessing. An experienced designer will ask all the important questions. These include but are certainly not limited to:
- What is the logo design or website for?
- What is the nature of the business?
- What style do you want the design to be in?
- Who is your target market?
- What is your pricing strategy?
See Jacob’s brand identity questionnaire or design brief here. This will help you get an idea of what the customer wants, define what they like and their ideas for this project. It’s good to prepare a series of questions which will form your design brief. A good set of questions will stop everyone from wasting time. Be a listener, hear what your client has to say and allow them to fully voice your opinion. In this initial stage, a little humor goes a long way, be light hearted and enjoy your interactions with the client!
At this stage, the graphic designer takes a moment, and then decides whether or not to take the project. There may be several reasons for rejecting a project, for example, the client or the designer believes that they do not see eye to eye on a stylistic level, a disagreement regarding price or even the complexity of the design.
This is a very crucial step and deciding whether you will be able to meet the customer expectations is very important, but is often an overlooked. Making the right decision at this stage can save you from frustration or difficulty at later stages.
This is the part where the designer must do his/her job if he/she has decided to take on the project. It is important to include the client in the design phase and update them frequently on the progress of their design. Always ask for suggestions and keep an open line of communication- email, phone, etc.
At this point, the designer has made a series of concepts, which will be sent to the client. The ball is now in the client’s court. If the previous steps have been followed there should be no conflicts at this stage. Both parties should be on the same page and the design work should be what the client expected (if not, better!)
On the other hand, if the client has not been present through the designing phases, feedback becomes the point where difficulty and frustration arise. Sometimes the customer just isn’t satisfied, and the re-design can go back and forth many times. To avoid this, systematically find what changes the customer wants to make to the logo design.
Try to get a specific answer, rather than vague comments, such as “too flashy” or “too much “. This is the key to designing a final design with as little wasted time as possible.
5. Final Approval
The final approval is a step which involves both parties. For the designer, the important part of this step is to be consistent with the promises and services that he/she has given their customers. Although the task is technically over, it is also important to promote a good work relationship with the client, they will then be encouraged return.
Communication is the best ally for graphic designers and custom logo designers, whether they are based online or meet with clients face to face. Make time to communicate more effectively, which will, in turn, create more satisfied clients.
Callum is the owner of the Australian logo design company, Creato who have created hundreds of logos for satisfied clients all over the world. They also specialise in ecommerce web design & Snapchat Geofilter design.