"Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity."
- Nat Turner
As a professional graphic designer, communicating with clients is an integral and important part of the role. But it’s not always easy!
A client is an expert in their field, but not necessarily in the field of graphic designing; which the designer is. So, it is only normal to have a difference of opinion more often than not. But it is because the client does not have the required skills that they hire a professional graphic designer.
And, therefore, not only is it important for the designer to have clear and thorough communication with the client throughout the project tenure, but also to ensure they make the clients understand why a suggestion has been made.
This can, surely, make it a slippery ground for, both, client and the designer to work together. And, that’s why we have come up with some useful tips for designers to have productive communication with their clients.
The client knows and assigns the objective that needs to be achieved. But, it is the designer who has to define the process of achieving the goal.
So, as a designer, you need to ensure that you are clear with your deliverables from the very beginning.
Let the client know;
- How much time it would take you to submit the final design?
- How often would you be sharing the updates and edits?
- How would you like to be paid?
- What would be the length of the project?
Defining your scope of work in the very beginning is of utmost importance to avoid any miscommunication later on.
A nice way for a designer to phrase it is by telling a client that they are happy to talk about pricing and scheduling future work, but that the work at hand needs to be completed before any additional work is embarked upon.
We understand that it can get really frustrating at times to handle the clients as they can get adamant and demanding with their requirements. However, one of the commonest tips for designers to improve communication with clients is to be cooperative, nice, and having an ear.
Asking nicely for information, remembering to say please and thank, etc. may seem like obvious things to do and something of a cliché, but it still holds true. Good manners cost nothing!
It’s also useful to listen carefully to the client at all times and take notes. This allows you to gain a deeper understanding of who they are and what they want.
However, this is certainly not to say that you work simply as a robot.
If you believe in your work, you must stand by it. Use legit points to make your client understand why you think your design would work for them.
Avoid all kinds of jargon in your communication!
That’s one of the most important tips for designers in order to improve communication with clients.
As discussed earlier in this article, it is highly likely that your client may not be an expert in graphic design. Well, might not even be intermediate.
The point being, don’t take it for granted and start using common design vocabulary that might simply bounce off the client’s head.
Rather than using design-specific language, such as “kerning” or “bleed”, try to describe what you’re talking about so that the client can follow along easily. Well-written messages can say a lot more about a designer than using fancy words.
Your client will, anyway, be judging you on the basis of your design work; and not your vocabulary.
Understanding the business of your client can go a long way in helping with your design ideas. And, in order to do that, you need to ask the right kind of questions to your client.
Yes, it may seem like a demanding task to fetch the baseline information, gather assets, conducting consumer and competitive research, interviewing key management or stakeholders, etc. But doing all this can really make a strong impression on your client, reflecting your commitment and dedication towards the job.
Knowing what your client does can help you understand the kind of design theme you should be using. The color palates, the font style, and the overall typography can be defined.
This tip can be considered as an extension of the previous point.
As a designer, one should always ask their client and keep clarity on the type of mode of communication they’d prefer throughout the project.
Along with this, it is also essential to understand what type of medium for communication would be less complex and more useful.
Professionally, it is advised to keep a written record of each communication trail. Keeping that in mind, emails seem to be the right kind of communication medium. However, at times, a written message can be taken out of context when it is read in a different manner.
A safe practice, in that case, can be to read what you’ve written, out loud, before sending it.
The best way, however, can always be a face to face communication, as that leaves no space for misunderstanding.
As humans, we all carry emotions and tend to go with the flow more often than not. However, keeping control of what we say, and how, on the professional front is what creates the difference. We hope that these tips for designers to improve communication with the client would help all you budding graphic designers out there to make a strong network with your clients.