We’ve all been there, some sort of sticky situation with clients. Some a little more extreme than others, but still, not something we like to deal with. In the perfect world, every client and order goes as smooth as possible, but sometimes that’s not always the case.
So I wanted to chat about a relatively simple situation, but one that can really throw us through a loop if we’re not prepared. I’m going to call this one, “what to do when your client has no clue what they want” and I will walk you through how to guide them in your design direction and how to take control without being bossy.
We’ve all had them – well, I’m not sure what I would like – but maybe some bright florals would be cool, oh and a glitter envelope liner, but also maybe some dark and moody papers, and it’s super simple black tie.
They are all.over.the.place.
I really do blame this on Pinterest, they’ve pinned and pinned and they can’t make up their mind.
This is a prime opportunity for you to step in and put on your “designer/professional opinion” hat on. While I know they are your client and in the end, you need to make sure you’re giving the client something they like and want, you have to remember, there is a reason they are coming to you as a designer.
The client wants to be reassured. That’s really what it boils down to. And they want you to listen to them and talk through it with them. Since you as a designer know that all of those extremely different directions they mentioned will end in a total disaster that probably shouldn’t see the light of day, it is your job to streamline the design a bit.
So here are some consultation tips for a client that is all over the place and aren’t sure what they want or what to try and cram as much as possible into their design:
Listen to them fully
Never talk down to them about the design ideas they have (and watch your facial expressions!)
Pick ONE of the concepts they mentioned and gush over it
Then build onto the one concepts with ideas that you know will work
Show them examples, pull out the swatches, samples, seals and inks (they are 100% visual!)
If you need to redirect some of their designs, some phrases you can use that come across tactfully are “in my professional opinion” let them know that this and that may not work well together or “I want to make sure that all of the pieces blend cohesively so they complement one another instead of competing”
I can almost guarantee that if you use some of these tips and tricks with clients who are all over the place, you can help guide them through the design process and still end up with a portfolio-worthy piece.
But let’s be real — we have all had non-portfolio worthy pieces we’ve had clients request – but that’s ok. It’s a learning process, especially when dealing with an actual person. Sometimes working with clients like this will help grow your confidence as both a designer and business owner!
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