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Successfully Designing Under Client Direction

Successfully Designing Under Client Direction

Elisha-Rio Apilado

“I would like a drop shadow on the text with a side of a distracting image behind the body copy and oh yeah, center it all please.” Sound familiar?

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if every single creative project you’ve had the opportunity to design allowed for you, the designer, to make the calls on every design-related aspect of the project? Your client would say, “Yeah, go ahead! Do whatever you want! ”">Have the creative freedom! Let your imagination roll! I’ll just be over here not bothering you at all." Well, it doesn’t work that way. Majority of the time, the client is going to be bugging you. Nagging you. (Okay, I might be exaggerating). But most of the time, your clients haven’t had the opportunity to learn all the cool new trends and rules — pivotal for successful designing. It’s just something you’ve got to deal with and by deal with, I mean deal with professionally.

When approached by a client who needs help with designing marketing materials and advertisements, there’s a simple reasoning behind their S.O.S.; they want something more professional looking. Because the more professional looking it is, the more successful it will be when seen by the target audience, or any audience for that matter.

And what have we learned in design school that makes a successful, professional piece? Carefully choosing appropriate typography, graphic elements, color palettes, use of negative space and the layout/composition of the piece. What has the client learned from design school? Not much considering they’re probably business, sales and marketing majors. So that’s why communication between a designer and client is so important. You both have to share your experiences and expertise in the industry you’ve been trained in.

Keep in mind that clients might not know those cool design terms you do

Be sure to explain and justify your design decisions. Don’t try to explain as if you’re talking to a little child who doesn’t know anything because that would, of course, be insulting.

It’s a little different when justifying your design choices to a client than to your professor and classmates. In class, you’re justifying and defending your choices to show your creativity. You’re visually communicating that only imagined in your head. For a client, you’re making these decisions solely based on HOW it would help the client reach to their potential audience. You’re keeping in mind the client and their company. You’re pretty much temporarily a part of their company and continuing their established brand. Learning their services/products and researching who they’re marketing to, will further help you successfully design. Remember, being fully immersed in your client’s brand shows that you’re interested in their work and are totally committed to your job.

Next: Dealing with Clients Can Have Its Ups and Downs →

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