I’m mainly an art director – you know – a thinking, ideas, and conceptual thinker. It’s where I’m happy and best. But being the action-hero superstar multi-talented graphic designer that I also am, or not (delete as appropriate), I often do bits of logo design and idents for friends etc. However the following points are also as suitable for agencies as they are for self employed ‘graphic designers’ (doesn’t that sound old fashioned).
Thanks to David Airey and his Pandora’s box of a site for highlighting this. It’s nothing ground breaking, but I bet this will ring a bell for you.
I don’t know what I want
Chances are, unless I’m a designer, I don’t know what I want. All I know is I want something functional that looks good, is comparable with my competitors, and features constant colour schemes for branding. I’ll look at other designs that have already been created and ask for something similar. Hence, it is important that you can take the information I give and help me visualize what it is you think I want.
I need control
I mightn’t know anything about the design process, but as a customer — and especially as an entrepreneur and small business owner — I need control over every aspect of my business. Hence, to keep me happy, you need to give up control over the process. Show me samples and updates throughout to make sure you are creating exactly what I want. If I ask for a change you don’t agree with, do it the way I want and the way you think it should be done (provided it isn’t too much extra work) and let me decide what I think is best.
I’m unsure about pricing
Many businesses are willing to pay for quality but the fact is that no matter how much your time is worth, there are designers willing to put out decent quality for 1/10 of your costs. Hence, you need to ensure that your competitive advantage is significant and apparent. It might not be fair, but that’s what the web has done to the free market. Outsourcing affects everyone.
I appreciate honesty and quality
I cannot tell you how many designers have told me they’d complete a project to my specifications only to delay the delivery date and the finally deliver something completely different from what I requested. So whenever I hire a designer who is candidly honest, delivers what I want, and goes above and beyond, I go out of my way to help them in any way I can. I appreciate someone who goes out of their way to make sure I’m happy, and if you do so, most of the time it will lead to repeat and referral business.
I want you to stick around
Once you have delivered a final project, don’t simply disappear. Just because I have what I want, this doesn’t mean I know how to use it. Help me apply the designs you created. No matter how brilliant the outcome, I will look poorly upon your service if you disappear and I have to pay someone else to apply or edit the design. It also just makes good business sense to stick around after completing a job. I’m constantly looking to complete additional design projects.
Overall, I don’t want to keep hiring new designers. As long as you can provide what I want at a reasonable price, I’ll keep coming back.