She said that soon after establishing her company, she engaged the services of a graphic designer to create a logo for her. The designer gave her three designs to choose from. My associate didn’t like any of them and still had to pay the designer for her work. Now she’s skittish about engaging the services of any design related professional because she doesn’t want to pay for the person’s efforts and have nothing to show for it.
She then asked me how I would handle that kind of situation.
The way I approach any design project is that I sit down with my client face to face if possible and go through a very thorough client needs analysis. During that meeting I try as much as possible to really understand what their business is about, the history and back story, and what they are passionate about and why. I also try to get a clear picture of who their target market or audience is and how they want to appeal to them (ie: marketing strategy). I also make sure to ask my clients what are their preferences and what they absolutely do not want see in a design (a particular color, type of image, etc.). In other words, I try to get inside the client’s head.
I then write up a proposal with all this information included and submit it to the client with an estimate. They can make changes to my outline as they see fit (which may or may not affect the estimate). If all is satisfactory, and they sign off on the proposal, I proceed in creating the design for the given project.
With logos, I usually create two or more design options so that my client can choose. I also give my clients the opportunity to make one or two rounds of revisions at no extra cost, in case they like one of the design options in general, but want to adjust it to their liking (as long as the revisions don’t constitute what would amount to a re-design).
If the client feels that none of the options presented are satisfactory, then I feel I have failed. As a designer, I must fully understand and analyze the client’s needs and fulfill them in the design. If I discover that I didn’t do my due diligence in my client research, then I need to eat that cost. However, if the client begins to reveal new information and requirements that were not discussed in the initial analysis and that negatively affect the viability of the solutions presented, then we need to renegotiate.
Essentially, it’s the designer’s responsibility to fully understand the client and their needs. In addition to this, it is the client’s responsibility to fully disclose their needs and the criteria for the project. If both parties fulfill these obligations, the result should be at least satisfactory, if not better. And I always aim to exceed my clients’ expectations.
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