If you are a designer or a creative artist who wants to get out there and design like a pro for clients, you will have to develop some killer client handling skills to begin with.
Whether you are dealing with a small business or a huge empire, your design and creative process is telling a brand’s story. A story you want to build upon. And your client has to be onboard for every part of this design process.
Too many agencies think of design as a one-time investment and fail to satisfy the client on many instances. Which is a great loss in terms of business productivity, resources, money, time and energy.
Design is an on-going activity, and much like web and mobile development, quality assurance is also a part of design.
Your job is not just to create but to keep that process alive, keep it evolving and collaborate for its every need. This is where the need for effective design collaboration becomes all the more important.
Working with a client for design is about team work, being open to ideas and being quick on your toes.
Remember, being creative is one thing and being a great design consultant is another.
Here are a few tips to get you started on those skills.
If you are not flexible, you are rigid
For any communication idea to strike well, you need to be prepared to make it go through a process. The process starts when you land a client. Don’t get too excited yet. The client has got some ideas of his/her own.
If you are creating a masterpiece for yourself, by all means, stick to your guns.
But if you are getting paid to do a fantastic design job, be open to feedback, direction and the needs of the clients. As a designer, this is the most difficult bridge that you will need to build and cross over by yourself.
While you love your work, it is not necessary that others will too. Don’t take it personally. Think of it as a way to diversify in new areas.
Be flexible with your ideas and be always open to criticism and feedback.
If you are not listening, you are useless
Design is a collaborative process between designers and clients.
And while collaboration is a two-way traffic in most cases, most of the time it is the client who is defining the objectives, the needs and the direction of the design.
You will not always have the room to experiment and give direction. What you need to do from the very start is to listen to what the client needs and keep him or her involved through consistent communication.
It is important to keep the client involved in every stage of the process, from the inception right to the execution stages.
There might be multiple revisions required at many points. Be open to a number of revisions however you must know when the client is confused so as to offer direction where and when necessary.
This is only possible if you are listening actively. Listen, ask questions and be proactive in offering solutions.
Collaborate. Use new tools. Make use of social media
You must be able to utilize the many design communication tools that are available in the market.
Considering that more people are now getting connected via the internet, online collaboration with tools like Asana, Trello, Slack and Podio, has become possible.
When it comes to design collaboration, one of the easiest tools is SavahApp because it allows you to create prototypes from within the app itself. What’s more, no coding is required.
So collaborate, keep yourself updated and educate your clients on new ways of working. Some clients may respond to a new way of work, while others might insist on their own way.
Again, be flexible. To be able to design like a pro for clients, you need to be open-minded about different work environments, company cultures and communication needs.
Manage your time like there is no tomorrow
Do not waste your time creating wireframes in Photoshop, and then re-editing them once you get feedback from the client after ages.
Time is of essence and today time has also become money.
Your deadlines, your commitments and your time management skills are your assets. So be wise about how you make use of them.
Hope these tips will get you started on the track to be a great design consultant. Meanwhile enjoy this really witty infographic from Plato web design which translated the client speak for most cases.
Happy designing. Do leave feedback on what you think of these ideas and share your own in the comments. Have a great week!
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