No designer wants to spend hours and hours doing unnecessary revisions and redesigns. You especially don’t want your client to throw out an idea at first glance. We know making the “best” design for your client’s specific needs on the first try is almost impossible but that doesn’t mean your first designs can’t have the potential to become the best design. With these few simple steps, you can make sure your designs have potential from the beginning and, hopefully, provide better designs for your client.
- Know Your Brand: Designers often ignore this step. It’s easy to think, when starting out as a designer, that the brand you’re working for doesn’t matter on the first try. They will just give you tons of revisions either way, right? Wrong. Knowing the business and the brand you’re creating for gives you a better understanding of what they need. Once you know what they need, you can give them what they want. Knowing a brand means knowing who they want to attract. By doing the research, you can help solve the client’s problems.
- Know the Industry: There are a few reasons you want to know what is happening in a client’s industry. To begin with, design is incredibly trendy and what is “in” right now varies by industry. You want to make sure your client sticks out in a positive and logical way. Don’t try to blend in but don’t let your design be the equivalent of a Hawaiian shirt at a formal event. Secondly, while knowing what is popular with your client’s industry is important, it is also essential to know what is attractive to their customers. Your design should focus as much on their needs as it does the client’s. Researching the industry lets you know what people in that industry want and reveals what needs to be improved.
- Be Creative: When faced with creating something new, we all look for inspiration. Designers usually go online and look at other designs anywhere from blogs to showcases. After finding something that inspires us, many accidentally end up copying the original source. Using inspiration does not mean changing small features of another design to make an almost identical but subtly different design. It means being creative with what inspired you. You can borrow some things but you want your inspiration to push you to try something new. Good creativity and good design lead to innovation.
- Details, Details, Details: Rushing to get a design finished can lead to silly mistakes that are absolutely avoidable. While focusing on the layout is important, the details are just as essential. You don’t want to have a beautiful design with a misspelled banner or a typo in a sidebar. Some clients will brush off little mistakes like these, as they are easy to fix, but many will be less forgiving. If these mistakes are easy to fix after you’ve shown the design, they should have been fixed before you showed it.
- Explain Your Design: We, as designers, love to understand what we create and why we did it. The problem is, we’re often bad at communicating this to others. Sending an explanation of your design when you submit it allows you to answer most of the client’s questions before they can ask them. It shows intent and purpose behind the design. While a confusing design with no explanation will almost certainly be refused before you can defend it, allowing the client to understand it from the outset will help them see potential in the design, and offer their own opinions,
Every design will need revisions but there is no reason to fear them. However, if you make the best design you can for your client’s needs on the first submission, you will likely find they are more willing to work with what you created. Communicating with clients and trying to give them what they want, rather than what you like, will make your clients happy and could open up more room for creative freedom later.