The biggest satisfaction for me as a designer is when I see the design strategy I created for a client flourish. It creates an unsaid "I told you so" moment for the client and reinforces for him or her that they made the right decision in hiring their designer. It solidifies a trust between designer and client. This leads to a different kind of working relationship; the kind that develops time and time again through every project and strategy and becomes something more. I have some of the best clients a designer could ever have. When I see their name in the caller ID, I look forward to speaking to them, but it doesn't happen overnight.
My goal in life as a professional creative is to design the very best work for my clients. What is a client's role? To be their designer's number one client. But how do you do that? The following is a list of 5 ways you can be the very best client to your designer and why it will help you.
Trust Your Designer
Don't start off a relationship by making your designer earn your trust, give it to them wholeheartedly. Not only will you see the value of that trust in your project, but you'll see it in your business overall, and that's the bottom line. Some of the decisions he or she will make may be different from your original request, but it's in your best interest to trust the designer to do their job just as you would your surgeon when you're about to go under the knife.
Your Resources Become Theirs
When the designer knows your ultimate goal and you involve them right at ground floor, they can help you figure out where to spend your money and tell you when to save it. When the trust factor is present, the designer will see your resources as theirs and will be invested in your outcome.
Your Referrals Ultimately Help You
When you go to the movies and enjoy the show, you want to tell everybody how great it was. When you do the same about your designer, you win. Why? Because when you refer your designer, you're saying you're proud of the work you've been doing and you want the designer to do the same for someone else. That keeps your designer busy and willing to go the extra mile for you when the time comes to work on another project. I often forward articles and business oportunities to my clients when I see that it could help them and always reward referrals with special discounts on future work. Furthermore, it's a great feeling when I refer my clients or when I introduce one client to another. Everybody wins.
Don't Make Them Ask You To Pay
The worst part of being a designer is being the accountant and when you pay late and receive a call from your designer, it's not a social call. Every designer has gone through the horror of being stiffed in a project. Whether the company goes under or the client skips town, it's a real drag to have to go through that. When you pay on time, not only are you respecting your designer's services, but you're keeping that feeling of dread away. Paying on time ensures getting your design comps on time and meeting your deadline.
Make Your Working Relationship a Friendship
That old saying "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" was never more true. When you're kind and respectful to your designer, they will return it. Phone calls will become lunches and lunches will become family BBQs. The best part of developing a friendship over time is as you invest in their success, they invest in yours. They'll take your call at 5:30pm or even take care of something for you while they're on vacation. The point is it wont always turn out this way, but it can be. It's a valuable relationship and one your business will thank you for.
Dennis (aka tanoshiboy)
Do you have a designer you work with that you'd never trade for anything in the world? Have you had a recent good experience?? Or from a creatives perspective, do you have an awesome client you value like no other? Please share any stories in the comments section and share.