Is the client always right? No one is ever 100% right 100% of the time is the popular expression. As a graphic designer, you’ll work with all sorts of clients; from those who respect your work and your process, to those on the other end of the spectrum. For the clients who are extremely difficult to work with, who go against all your professional guidance on a specific task (let’s say a logo design), don’t get frustrated or overwhelmed.
Now back to the topical question at hand – Is the client always right? The answer is both “yes” and “no”. Let me explain further – even when your client or clients have given you the required feedback on that logo design that’s moving it in a direction that you don’t agree with, they’re still right. After all, they’re paying you to provide them with your professional services.
On the flip-side, the fact that they sometimes lack the design sense to understand how all the design elements (colours, typeface, images, etc.) help to achieve the overall balance makes them “wrong”. I know what you’re thinking, “Why do clients hire graphic designers if they’re not prepared to listen to any of our advice?” Don’t take it personally; it’s just business.
Here are five (5) ways to ensure that your next client and design project goes well.
Understand your client’s needs
In order to have a successful design project, you must ensure that you demonstrate to your client that you understand their rough ideas, goals, audience, and vision. You must also show that you have the skill sets to bring that vision to life. Collaboration between the designer and the client must be promoted from the beginning.
Build mutual respect and trust
It will be important that after you’ve done your initial client interview that you start to develop the foundation for a smooth work relationship. You’ll accomplish this by being the consummate professional who outlines your design process, establishes and agrees upon deadlines. Consistent communication through telephone conversations, meetings, or emails (combination of all the aforementioned) will eliminate the occurrence of the “angry mob” mentality.
Do the job you were hired to do
Always remind yourself that this is your client’s project, not yours. They hired you, not the other way around. If disagreements arise when it comes down to your ideas and concepts, don’t take it personally if they don’t share your enthusiasm. It comes with the territory. Your early ideas are always going to be either a hit or miss. Just focus on fine-tuning them based on your client’s feedback.
The client wants what the client wants
You won’t always be given free rein on a design project, which sometimes isn’t a bad thing, especially with difficult clients. In the instances where they’ve completely ignored your advice, ideas, and visions that you believe will deliver them the results they want, well that’s on them. Just be mindful of the fact that their taste might not be the same as yours. Additionally, respect the fact that they have a good grasp on their audience and market and will know which designs work when they see it.
Find your doppelgänger client
The most important thing is to figure out the clients that you enjoy collaborating with and trying to find more people who fit that profile. It’ll make your job a little easier. This is why you should always have a client interview. Ask pertinent questions about their design likes and dislikes and getting to understand the potential design project. However, don’t spend majority of your time focused on those details. Get to know your potential client better as a person.
Always take solace in the fact that you did your job as the designer, in striving to give them the best product and best advice possible. Good luck.