Updated: Dec 2, 2019
Whether you’re a graphic designer or a business owner, both parties need to work together in order to execute a successful brand. To complete the work there must be an open line of communication. There are a lot of blogs out there talking about bad clients. I am not going to speak about the evils of a client. Honestly, I do not think that there is a bad client. If you think that a client is bad, somewhere along the way you just lost interest in what is needed to complete the job. Remember we are working for the client. They have an idea of how they would like their logo to look. Let's focus on how we can strengthen the line of communication in order to create a strong relationship.
CLEAR PROJECT GUIDELINES
This is where the process begins. If the ground rules are not clearly established there are going to be issues throughout the entire project. I can only speak about my process when it comes to the initial meeting. There are several key topics that I need to know before I can begin to quote a project. The most important is the budget.
If a client comes forward and only has a budget of a couple of hundred dollars I can not help you. I am not an expensive designer but I know what my time is worth and the value that my designs will bring your company. If you are looking for a $200 logo I can not produce that logo for you. Here is a little advice to the potential client. If you find a designer that will produce a logo for $200 please be weary about that price. Cheap logo work does not mean you will receive a quality logo. More than likely, the idea has been lifted from another designer or a stock image site.
Setting the project guidelines the client should outline what they expect, and the designer should listen and comprehend. Once all questions have been answered the next step is for the designer to create the brief and quote.
CONTINUE COMMUNICATING WITH EACH OTHER
Do you see a theme so far? Let's face it once the contract has been signed you have entered into a relationship. The only way the designer/client relationship will flourish is by communicating. It is the duty of the client to communicate if the needs and expectations have changed. The designer must communicate where they are in the process. They need to tell the client if they are taking some time off from the project due to any issue. I am communicating with my clients letting them know where we are in the process and the standard operating procedures for updates. I make sure that I follow procedures.
Oh this is a dreaded word. Deadlines, it sends shivers down the spine of designers. It is a fact of life for every designer. Adhering to deadlines is a very important way to build a strong relationship between client and designer. One of the largest pitfalls is when a project is in the beginning stages the designer does not communicate with the client. The client really wants to know how the project is progressing. Your designer does not need to send you screen captures of the work in progress. There needs to be a sense of trust. You both signed a contract so it is crucial that you both communicate with each other.
Good feedback is helpful. What is not helpful is attacking each other. People can get emotional and this stage should be done in a setting outside of emails and text messages. A review session should be scheduled in order to communicate with each other in a clear and concise manner. The client may have had their logo for years, so it is difficult to let go. The designer has now created a solution that they are proud of and they can take it personal.
Some designers will only show you one option some will show you several. I develop a three options and when it is time to present them I do so in one of two manners. I prefer to do this in person, but it might not be possible. If I can not be in front of the client I will schedule a web meeting. Either way I showcase a presentation and go through my process. Every designer has different procedures and my procedure comes from a strong creative brief. If my client and I did our job and communicated with each other there isn't need to show the client the solutions that don't meet my expectations.
Regardless, provide meaningful feedback. Do not respond with your gut feelings. Look it over and wait for the scheduled review. If you are the client you should be prepared to share what you like about the concept, what you do not like about the concept, and what type of changes you would like to see. Remember this is only a concept and it is not set in stone. As a designer you need to explain your thought process on why you developed the solution. Depending on your contract and initial meeting you will have a few different review sessions.
Once the review process is complete there are a few things your designer needs to do in order to deliver the final logo. Once that is done and you have the logo in your hands you can celebrate! The designer will celebrate with you because they will have made a quality logo and have a nice profit for their effort. This process can be repeated if the client and designer had an open line of communication and there are some other projects needed.