I’ve worked with a lot of clients. Most of my clients are bloggers but I also work with small business owners to build websites, as well as do some consulting for home design projects. Regardless of what kind of project I’m working on I’ve found there are some key qualities and tips I often want to give my clients. Most of the time these come with some hindsight or reflection of mistakes I make or projects that don’t go exactly as either me or the client would have liked.
I am not perfect. I make a lot of mistakes on the reg. It’s my favorite thing in the world to have a client squeal with joy from what I can give them. But, I’ve also had a few train wrecks for projects. Nothing puts a pit in my stomach worse than an unhappy client. I think any designer (of any kind) can tell you that’s the last thing they want when they work with someone.
Don’t just wing it. Come in to the partnership of working with a designer with a game plan. Know what you like and what you don’t like. Ask questions. Go see what others have done.
One of the best things I have my clients do is create a Pinterest board. This seems almost cliche. But, it’s the best way for me to get a visual for what they like. This is just a small piece of homework.
When it comes to working with a blog designer, if you are just starting your blog, go out and do some research on blog designs and the anatomy of a blog before jumping in feet first. One of the questions on my little questionnaire I give to clients asks about navigation and sidebar. I cannot tell you how many times I get asked what those are. If you are going to be a blogger, you gotta know what those are and more importantly how you want yours to function.
Tip #1 – do your homework. It will benefit you in the long run and the process will go so much smoother.
As you begin planning your design project, keep it organized. If this means using a notebook of ideas, labeling your emails or coming up with your categories for our navigation, just make sure you keep it organized.
Here are a couple free resources I handed out at the Go Blog Social workshop back in February. These are simple blog design check lists to help you organize your thoughts.
Organize your blog design with this free checklist from @ashleyelladsgn | http://t.co/DPkZvZAVzl pic.twitter.com/D2rxIfL9gs
— The Blog Salon (@theblogsalon) April 20, 2015
(If you enjoy the free resource, would you tweet about it for me?)
3. Be decisive.
Although you are hiring a designer to design your project – it’s going to eventually be yours whether that be a living room, blog, website or any type of space. You might hire the designer for their creative brilliance BUT you still have to make decisions.
The good news is… if you do tip #1 really well, this tip becomes a whole lot easier.
There is nothing wrong with deciding to make edits or revisions. There is nothing wrong with deciding you don’t like exactly what the designer presents you. But, there is nothing more frustrating than a project that just hangs out there because of indecisiveness. Ick. Don’t do that.
I could probably write a whole blog post in and of itself with just this one tip. The most important thing to remember about communication is that it is a two way street – for sure. I’ve done some reflecting on old projects and be the first to admit – “Man, I should have communicated that better.” or “I should’ve asked them that questions earlier.”. Communication takes work.
Keep in mind when you are working with a designer that DESIGN = TIME. Time is money. Some projects and budgets only allocate for so many revisions before it’s going to start costing you to keep making edits. It takes time to answer email and questions. It takes time to come up with proofs. It all takes time.
Sometimes I think about some of my projects and if I took their invoice and divided it up into an hourly rate instead of a flat fee – they are getting one heck of a deal! With that being said, my number one goal as a designer is to make sure you are getting what you want.
Anything else you’d add to this quick list? There are probably a 10-15 other items I could add to this list but I’m more curious to know if you’ve ever worked with a designer and what tips you would give those hiring one. Ready, go.