Clients have told me that choosing a designer can be daunting. That’s understandable, given the time and money they’re going to invest, and the importance of the results. If you’re a client searching for a design partner, here are a few attributes to expect.
1. An informative website
Expect to learn something from the designer before paying anything. The designer’s online presence should do the job even before you’ve made contact.
Trust can be built through the chat in blog comments. Attention to detail can be seen in project case studies. And positive testimonials will reinforce the buying decision.
2. Excellent communication skills
Your reputation is in the hands of the designer, but just as you make a hiring choice, design studios also judge potential clients on their communication skills, and can readily say no to a large budget.
3. Attention to detail
Changing the smallest detail can greatly alter the impact of a brand identity. Look at these logo refinements for an appreciation of the finer details.
4. Great customer service
How fast do you expect a response to your questions? Unless prior notice has been given, email replies should be received within 24 hours during a project’s standard working week. The telephone should be picked up throughout normal working hours, too (or a call-back made within a few hours).
What about after the design handover? A good designer remains on hand to help with any printing questions or file issues or questions about the application of the design.
How much is known about the designer? Does she have a successful track record? Is he the new kid on the block?
“Young designers don’t lack experience, they just lack opportunity.”
— BOB AUFULDISH
Blogs play a key role in overcoming sales objections. The regular publishing of design posts shows a passion for the subject, and communication skills are evident in the way we talk.
Here are five easy steps to building trust online, with a few extra resources.
6. Good time management
Deadlines are a vital part of the design process. You could be waiting on the designer to finalise the identity before an ad campaign is rolled-out, or before office signage is installed, so the last thing you need is to have the agreed time frame pushed back.
7. Positive references
Testimonials offer a good insight into previous customer satisfaction. Comments should be accompanied with a web address, but if not, don’t be afraid to ask for contact details from the designer.
No matter how detailed the initial design brief, there must always be room for flexibility. Things can change during each stage of the project, needing a different outlook from what was first anticipated.
9. A strong portfolio
Previous projects speak volumes about what to expect. Rather than focus on my own portfolio, here are a few others with solid identity work.
When browsing portfolios, look for diversity, both in client industry and project outcome.
10. Common courtesy
Nice shouldn’t cost extra.
“…there’s a huge gap between what people are willing to pay for nice (a lot) and what it would cost businesses to deliver it (almost nothing).”
— SETH GODIN
Is there anything else you’d expect?
If you’re a designer, do you have other pointers on what clients can expect?