Choosing a designer can be a daunting decision for a client. After all, the visual identity of his/her business depends on the choice. Here are a few important attributes to expect from a graphic designer.
1. An informative website
A client should expect to learn something from the designer before paying a penny, and the designer’s online presence should do the job.
Informative websites help on a number of counts.
- Trust is built through communication in blog comments
- Attention to detail can be seen through design project case studies
- Positive references will accompany portfolio entries
- Communication skills are evident through proper grammar
2. Excellent communication skills
There’s no excuse for typos in emails. Even those useful spell-checkers don’t pick up on every error, so it’s good practice to re-read important messages before pressing the ‘send’ button.
The client’s reputation is in the hands of the designer, but just as the client makes 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 smallest detail can greatly alter the impact of a brand identity. Look at these 10 successful logo refinements for an appreciation of the finer details.
4. Great customer service
How fast can clients expect a response to their questions? Unless prior notice has been given, email replies should be received within 24 hours during a project’s standard working week. Telephone communication should be available throughout normal working hours.
What about after the design handover? A designer should remain on hand to help with any printing questions or file-type issues.
How much is known about the chosen designer? Does s/he have a successful track record? Is s/he the new kid on the block?
“Young designers don’t lack experience, they just lack opportunity.”
— BOB AUFULDISH
Blogs play an important role in overcoming sales objections. The regular publishing of design articles shows a passion for the subject, and communication skills become evident through responses in comment threads.
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. A client 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 needed is to have the agreed time frame pushed back.
7. Positive references
References — or client testimonials — offer a great insight into previous customer satisfaction. Comments will be accompanied with a web address, but if not, a client shouldn’t be afraid to request 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 process, requiring a different outlook from that first anticipated. Both the client and the graphic designer should accommodate some movement.
9. A strong portfolio
Previous projects speak volumes about what to expect. Rather than focus on my own graphic design portfolio, here are some others containing nice identity design work.
When browsing portfolios, it’s good to see design 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). Smells like an opportunity.”
— SETH GODIN
To reiterate, 10 things to expect from a designer:
- An informative website
- Excellent communication skills
- Attention to detail
- Great customer service
- Good time management
- Positive references
- A strong portfolio
- Common courtesy
If you’re a design client is there anything else you’d expect?
If you’re a designer, do you have additional pointers on what clients can expect from us?