We invited members of the RGD LinkedIn Group to share the issues they encounter with client relationships and strategies to work through them to achieve positive results.
1. Clients as designers
"The thorn in a designer's paw is often lodged following a presentation, when the client feels obligated to take on a design role. It's important to be proactive about communicating how the process works. Make sure your client understands that you're not soliciting creative input from them, but rather seeking approval. If you've done your research, the work you've produced will be supported by customer insight and the client won't need to come up with their own solutions - they can't argue with what their customers want," - Tony Jurgilas RGD, Partner, 50 Carleton
2. Thinking inside the box
"One of the issues I have had in many cases is trying to convince clients to think outside of the box. They usually like to have similar designs as their competitors, or re-use the same format and style they have always used - in some cases this works, but not always. I've prepared a list of reasons why breaking market rules can be the best course of action to reflect a company / organization's unique goals and create exceptional visual representations, which I share with clients to encourage open-mindedness," - Lida Shanehchiyan, Graphic Designer at BMO
3. Lack of commitment
"Helping your client commit to a vision and identify the key issue they want to resolve will help things run smoothly. Aligning your vision for a project with the client's goals and sticking to a clear plan will help build mutual trust and achieve successful results," - Mauricio Meija, Graphic Designer at Suncor Energy
4. Understanding of the design process
"Most clients are unfamiliar with how graphic designers work, so we need to put them at ease by making that clear. We find that providing a concise summary of our design process helps in several ways. Firstly, it outlines what we do in a language that clients can identify with. Secondly, it gives a project tangible stages for the client to understand and anticipate. And finally, if you do a good job of defining your design process, it will provide valuable insights into your company's work philosophy and approach to design." - Bob Hambly RGD, Creative Director, Hambly & Woolley
5. Running out of time
"Time is a designer's biggest asset. In order to save both you and your clients time, ensure that the project's brief clearly explains the vision and objectives that the project must achieve and strive for. Failing to plan is planning to fail, and you will fail when there are no ground rules set in the first place," - Frank Chartrand RGD, Founder, Bureau
6. 'Guaranteed' ROI
"A challenge designers are facing more and more is clients asking for proof that the solutions we recommend will guarantee a financial return on their investment (ROI). The type of work that designers do is transformative and can help to generate returns, but is often difficult to measure. Because what we do often leads to long-term and indirect returns, it is different than placing an ad and immediately seeing increased sales. An effective way we have found to confront this challenge is to develop a mutually agreed-upon set of criteria prior to starting any creative work, which can be used to make decisions and select a direction. Recently Forbes Magazine published an article on this topic: Why ROI is often wrong for measuring marketing impact" - John Furneaux RGD, Principal, Projektor
Join the discussion on RGD's LinkedIn page.
RGDs interested in submitting an 'Insights' article can download the 'Guidelines for Contributing Content' PDF and email .