It is bound to happen to you. You will have a client (or several) that has no idea what they want and can’t make up their mind about what they want to have you create. It’s also possible that they have an idea of what they want but may struggle to communicating that idea. That’s where it becomes your job to try and articulate the unsaid. You are your clients guide and will be helping making the decisions from proof to final product. Here are a few things tips that have helped me when faced with these situations:
1. Know What Their Current Brand Looks Like. If they want it to stick with their identity standards, this will be your most useful reference. If they want something new, make sure it doesn’t look like what they currently have.
2. Make Suggestions. There is a reason you are a graphic designer. You are creative and have a special ability to solve design problems. Clients are also looking to you for ideas as the creative part of the brains.
2. Give Them Options. Clients love options. That way they feel they have more say and get to choose as opposed to feeling obligated to go the only design you came up with.
3. The Right Direction. Find out from your client if you are going in the right direction. If you can avoid taking three different proofs to a completely resolved final piece, do it. It saves you and the client time and money if you don’t spend time on something that isn’t working or that they are not fond of.
4. Is It Appropriate? Do the elements that you have incorporated into their design make sense for who they are and what they are trying to accomplish? You don’t use Comic Sans for a luxury dinner menu.
5. Ask For Examples. Sometimes it may be easier for a client to show you an example of what they are looking for. That doesn’t mean copy that exact design but to create a similar look. Doing this alone has saved me quite a bit of time on some projects.
6. Take Criticism With A Grain Of Salt. Sometimes it is easier for people to say what they don’t want instead of what they do. Ask them to try and provide more direction so that you can get the design to a place they are happy with. Politely push them with questions to get some answers out of them.
7. Listen To Their Ideas. Instead see if there is anything that you can build upon. Telling a client an idea is stupid could cost you the job. Play nice and guide them. Sometimes you have to show them why an idea they have may not work. If that is the case, provide them with a better alternative.
I hope that these tidbits of information that I have learned over the years help save you time and build a good conversation with those clients who need some guidance.
Sketch Forward my friends!