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 because…
- Trust can be built through the chat in blog comments
- Attention to detail can be seen in project case studies
- Positive references will reinforce the buying decision
2. Excellent communication skills
There’s no excuse for typos. Even spell-checkers don’t pick up on every error, so it’s good practice to re-read important messages before pressing ‘send’.
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 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 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. 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 can 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 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
Client testimonials offer a great insight into previous customer satisfaction. Comments should be accompanied with a web address, but if not, a client shouldn’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 that hold nice identity work.
When browsing portfolios, it’s good to see a little 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
To repeat, ten 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 other pointers on what clients can expect?