Attention CEO’s! Here’s How to be a Good Client

April 1, 2011

how to be a great client

Do you really want great work from your designer?

It’s not completely up to your designer to do a good job on building your brand. Creating effective design takes collaboration, thoughtfulness, and planning. It’s not an accident.

Learning how to be a good client can help you get the best work from your designer, maybe even great work.

Extraordinary work is done for extraordinary clients.”

…Milton Glaser

How can YOU be an extraordinary client?

  1. Set your vision and goals—first. Think about it, talk to clients, customers, and friends, before you give direction to a designer. Your designer can be a great partner in focusing your ideas. How do you reach a destination without a road map?
  2. Make up your mind about the key things you want to accomplish. Changing direction in midstream wrecks havoc on your project.
  3. Identify your target market. Understand your competition.
  4. Keep your decision-making group small, and only include people who are marketing and brand champions.
  5. Get other opinions, but do it early. A strong leader knows how to elicit ideas from a wide group without losing sight of their vision and goals.
  6. Communicate clearly.
  7. Make decisions that align with your vision and goals. Don’t use purple just because it’s your favorite color. Put your brand first.
  8. Fully discuss the pros and cons of your product, and all concerns up front. Designers are problem-solvers at heart.
  9. Trust and respect your designer. It just won’t work any other way.
  10. Be willing to take a risk. The best work is always something that hasn’t been done before. That’s what makes you stand out.

Red Flags for the Designer

  • The owner is too busy to meet with you.
  • You hear…“I’ll know it when I see it.”
  • We’re taking a vote.
  • I’m going to show it to my husband/wife/interior designer/nephew/focus group to see which one they like.
  • My daughter’s favorite color is pink; I’d like to use it in the design.
  • I like this font I saw on a candy bar better.

So, be a better client, and you’ll get better work. Do your homework, collaborate, and lead with your vision. Unless, of course, you want to be ordinary.