As a designer, making your clients happy is paramount. But a client relationship is still a relationship, and things might get sticky. These are some thoughts on how to avoid potential stickiness.
Image courtesy of Dimitri Markis
So you’ve been toiling over this project night and day, and finally sent the first finished version off to your client. And the response is that yes–they like it a lot… BUT. How about handwriting instead of a strict typeface? My dog likes it better in blue. How much is reasonable, and how do you respond?
First of all–remember that not all clients are created equal. Is this a pro-bono project for a friend, or something that will pay your rent for the year? Have you set a specified amount of revisions in the contract(because you absolutely should*)?
Here follows a very generalized flow that I usually stick to, but of course, every project is different and exemptions abound.
When you first receive the request, are the changes easy to try out? Is there time and budget room for it? If so, go ahead. If there’s no time and/or money for it, say so.
Now lay all ego aside for a minute and see the two versions next to each other. Which one works best? Really?
If the changes were better, then report back that you tried their suggestion and it worked out really good. Commend them on their good eye. If the opposite were true, simply tell them that you tried it out, but it didn’t work because X and Y.
This might seem an obvious course of action, but you’d be surprised by how many either curl up into a ball, lash out at the client or obediently goes along with every whim, rendering the final product as a grey, micro-managed pulp.
The key point is always to give good reasons for your decisions. You are the professional, but the fresh eyes of the third party are very valuable when you’ve “watched yourself blind”. Give mad respect, get mad respect back.
*I forgot to add a revision clause to a fixed-price project once. Forty-five revisions later, I certainly would never make that mistake again.
Have you had some crazy client requests, or have you slipped up once or twice? I wanna hear about it!