It’s easy to want to work tirelessly to provide a client with an overindulgence of options for their design project. It’s even easier to assume that showing many design options will get you to the project finish line faster. Typically, however, the reverse is true. Too many choices can affect your project’s progress and weaken your client relationships.
Your Private Design Process
Lay all your ideas out there, even if they are quick and sloppy. Let your mind run free: brainstorm on a napkin, a piece of scrap paper, make lists, whatever works for you. The less you allow yourself to get caught up in using non-intuitive software or other tools to get your thought process flowing, the better. Find out what your simplest, go-to method is for quickly exploring your ideas. And don’t be afraid to employ a helpful friend to talk through your ideas if you are stuck.
Sharing Your Designs
Don’t clutter up your presentation by giving too many choices, you will only leave them feeling confused. Too many options can give the impression that you are unsure of your ability to illustrate their business goals. Keep options minimal and thoughtful. This means limiting redundant iterations, show only those that most clearly align with your conceptual foundation. Here are some points to consider when you are collaborating with a client on a design project.
- Think Like the Client
You have to start by assuming that your client has no earthly idea what they want, and is most likely why they hired you. A client who relies on you is actually the best case scenario. Worst case is that your client does have an idea about what they want, and has a less-than-ideal perspective. Your golden opportunity is to help them reach the right design choices through your careful, focused discussion and presentation.
Tip: Present your designs in a finalized format, even if they are a work in progress. Use plenty of space around each one for maximum impact. Think of your presentation as an art gallery, a place for the viewer to look at and understand an artist’s creative expression, one at a time. There is a reason why art galleries have clean white walls and lots of space between each work, don’t make your designs compete with each other.
- The Big Reveal
Your client might not be used to viewing creative collateral. If so, they might find processing and understanding visual information to be a challenge. Keep your audience in mind, choose a simple approach for presenting your ideas to your client, and do a practice run-through before you present. A dry run will help you see if perhaps there’s too much information so you can pare it down to focus on only your top-level concepts. Your presentation can be a valuable asset in explaining your conceptual intentions to your client, and a good opportunity to clearly explain your ideas.
- Keep It Simple
A focused and simple presentation is often the best way to ensure your client buys into your idea. After all, throwing a bucket of darts at a dartboard doesn’t always earn you a bulls-eye. Presenting honest and precise options displays your confidence and design smarts, which builds client trust, which leads to lasting client relationships.Most people that hire a creative agency want to be guided through the creative process. A good guide will keep it as simple as possible, the client will appreciate feeling like they understand your ideas, and it will help them align with your concept when it comes to getting other members of their team on board.
- Don’t Overthink It: Trust They Know Their Brand . . . and Listen
Even if your client doesn’t have a clue about design, you have to trust that they do have a clear idea about their brand and where they want to be going forward. Don’t ignore their feedback, instead, use it to refine your designs while keeping it within your original vision.