Tips for Maintaining Strong Client Relationships
Through contributions by members of RGD, the Association has established a growing archive of case studies covering a wide range of projects, clients and areas of expertise within the field of graphic design. Each project highlights a unique set of challenges and expectations which designers have been called upon to address and surpass to deliver effective design solutions. From these case studies, RGD has identified the following advice for building and maintaining strong client relationships.
- "Regular updates and good communication with the client at every stage prevents mistakes and builds confidence. Don't underestimate the value of a few quick emails during the design process - it is important to keep the client in the loop." Christian Castel RGD, Tango Media Group, ('From The Inside-Out' On-Air Motion Graphics)
- "Beyond the form and content of the end result, design is also an opportunity to educate the client. Often, clients are very close to their work and their organizations. Educating them about what it is that we do as designers and treating them as partners in our design process allows them to see how their goals are being translated into something relevant and accessible for the audience they are trying to reach." Iffat Jokhio RGD, Pivot Design Group, (Canadian Partnership Against Cancer Infographic)
- "Give your client examples of what the work will look like in real application. Spend a bit of extra time adding in photographs to placeholders, or putting the artwork into a 3D mockup. This can greatly help your client envision the end product, so they can make informed decisions throughout the process." Jennifer Van De Vooren RGD,Van De Vooren Branding & Design Experts, (Canadian Dental Association Magazine)
- "Managing your client’s expectations during the planning phase of the project is key to building trust in your ability to deliver. Laying out any contingencies that might affect your timeline or budget at the beginning of the project allows the client to understand your knowledge of the process and adds assurance that you understand and are prepared to deal with issues that may arise. Before we started the project, our client was fully versed on how issues such as changes to construction schedules or waiting on city permits would affect timelines." Kevin Hoch RGD, Premise, (Bay Adelaide East Environmental Graphics)
- "Involve the client. By working directly with their team members throughout, you have the opportunity to draw on their insight, maintain a quick feedback/update cycle and guarantee maximum efficiency through all stages of the project." Daniel Tojeira RGD, Spin Design Solutions ('Light The Night' Walk Microsite)
- “Be honest about what can realistically be achieved within your timeframe. Set realistic client expectations and don’t be afraid to push back when client demands threaten to delay the project and make your timeline unattainable.” Jennifer West RGD, Blue Ant Media, (Smithsonian Channel Website)
- "Listen to your client carefully. Great relationships, whether personal or professional, start with asking the right questions and truly listening to what other people have to say. Good listening will determine the direction of the project and might help identify opportunities to initiate a unique solution." Eileen Ugarkovic RGD, TMX Equicom (Solium Annual Report)
- "Never be afraid to throw your wackiest idea at the client. Sometimes that will be the one that sticks (as long as you have a good rationale to back it up)." Michael Zavacky RGD, McMillan, (Smart Enterprise Exchange Infographic)
Interested in submitting a case study to appear on the RGD website? Download 'Guidelines for Contributing Content' and email .