Thursday, April 16, 2009

Customer changes to your design

As a successful freelancer, handling changes to your designs (and handling your clients) is of the most importance.

Sure your design is "your baby". You love your design, it's beautiful, it's perfect, you wouldn't change a thing for a million dollars... well, ok, who wouldn't make a change for a million dollars?

I don't send out a design to my client unless I did love it... and now they want to changed it!

Now most of the time, my clients love my designs and we just change some text but sometimes I'm asked to make specific changes to my design. Something like "make this bigger, that smaller, change the color...."

I'm happy to make changes because I want my client happy... but this is how I do it:

1- Before I make the changes I explain WHY I've done what I've done.

Sometimes I explain... "IF everything is important in the design, then nothing is important. That's why I made the focal point of the ad that item. Now consumers are attracted to look, then their eye automatically travels to the area to the right..... "

Since I'm a professional designer with a lot of experience, many times my clients will go along with my thinking and NOT make the change.

2- Before I make the changes, I try to understand what they are trying to ACCOMPLISH with the change. Remember, they are not the designer, you are... so what they are suggesting many not be what they want!

This happened last week. I did a major logo for a division of New York State. I presented 4 logos (promised 3). They loved #2 that featured a gold center that picked up the gold in the Great Seal of NYS.

They wanted to see logo #2 with 2 different color combinations. One with a dark blue center and another with a bright yellow center.

I understood why they wanted the dark blue center... the Great Seal of NYS has a dark blue center so they felt it would perhaps coordinate better with the dark blue.

After discussing why they wanted to see a yellow center (when we had a nice gold already) I was told that they wanted to see the logo "brighter".

AH HA!!! That was the key. Now if I gave them the yellow as they asked, it would have clashed with the Great Seal of NYS and they would not have been happy. SO instead of giving them the yellow, I gave them a clean bright WHITE. When presenting the logo, I explained my reasoning.

That was the logo that was approved.

Bottom line... Listen to your client. Try to understand what they are trying to accomplish. If you feel that what they are asking is wrong, communicate your design choices. If your clients do want the changes, that's fine, you can make make their suggestions work.

Remember: find out what they want to accomplish because what they are asking you to do may not be the solution. The difference between a designer and a successful freelance designer is being able to communicate and deliver.

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