Behind The Scenes: How to keep design revisions in check?


GRAPHIC DESIGN ENDLESS REVISIONS

Your client just called you to give their feedback on a design. You cross your fingers and pray it's not what you are dreading! But it is, ANOTHER REVISION! (are you secretly wishing to runaway on a ship and never be found?).


As freelance designers, it is part of our job to understand the importance of client feedback and incorporate it seamlessly into our design till the time the client has a smile that takes up your entire room in approval.


Some clients tend to request an endless number of changes that were not agreed upon and when you draw their attention to the extra charges clause in the bill they refuse to pay for it!


'Just one more tweak' is a sham, it's never 'one' it's more like never-ending! Time passes and before you blink, your project is WAY over the deadline and you have put in a number of exhausting working HOURS which are unaccounted for.


This results in MORE WORK, MORE STRESS, and BEING UNDERPAID. The solution to this is by creating appropriate boundaries. Setting boundaries doesn't make you mean or unkind, in fact, it leads to happier clients. How to set boundaries? It's simple,

  1. Identifying your boundaries - you need to identify how many changes are worth doing in the price you have quoted

  2. Communicating your boundaries - informing your client about the boundaries you identified, like the number of revisions you can do for them

  3. Reinforcing your boundaries - Clients can test your boundaries sometimes. It is best to reinforce them in order to avoid business burnout

Now that we know that boundaries need to be clearly stated, let's dive into some more ways of keeping graphic design revisions in check.


6 WAYS TO KEEP DESIGN REVISIONS IN CHECK AND MANAGE CLIENTS BETTER


DESIGN IS SUBJECTIVE

DESIGN IS OH-SOOO SUBJECTIVE


A lethal amalgamation of thoughtful research, planning, and great strategy goes into creating amazing designs. But the fact remains, design is and always will be SUBJECTIVE.


You might pull out the moon and add it in your design but the client will still have their opinions, they will question your choices and they have a fair right as they are a paying client.


Client inputs and feedback is based on their experiences, history, and preferences. As the designer, it is our job to gently turn the client towards the goals of the project making them focus on the objectives they mean to achieve with the design. We need to remind the client to keep a target-audience mindset and then select a design that will resonate better with their potential customers.


PRESENT AND NEVER REPENT


The client has come to you because obviously they trust your process. But if you make them a part of the process by explaining the 'whys' and 'hows' of your design they will love you for it! A well-prepared presentation goes a long way in reducing design revisions. You should make sure to mock up your design on a variety of sizes ranging from the smallest to the largest. This helps the client in understanding your perspective and making it visually clear how the design would look on different platforms.


When you create a presentation for the client be sure to add these things:

  • Your design strategy

  • Your thought process and reasons behind your choices

  • How the design will achieve the client's short term and long term goals


DESIGN FEEDBACK

THE NEXT ROUND IS ON YOU!


The client isn't a designer. After the client gives you feedback the next round is on you! You need to explain the process of your revision cycle to your client.


You need to educate the client that the process of the revision cycle would be:

  • The client provides all the feedback to the designer

  • The designer reviews feedback and gives their comments

  • The designer makes changes to the design

  • Finally, the designer submits a revised draft of the design to the client.

Now you need to mention the difference between a major change (change in design layout) and a minor change (change in color of one element). This way the client knows what to expect exactly at the end of the revision cycle.


GOING THE EXTRA MILE


It is possible that during the tenure of your project the client might make one or two more requests for revisions beyond the stated scope of work. If the client has been great accommodating one or two minor changes can be done as a gesture of goodwill. After all, you want a client that gives you work on a long term basis, so going the extra mile may make this task easier. The best way is to accommodate an extra request and manage it in a way that there are no added expectations for free revisions from the client's side. "Start going the extra mile and opportunity will follow you.", rightly said by Napolean Hill.


THE GREAT DESIGN CHALLENGE

UP FOR A CHALLENGE ANYONE?


The client might request some changes and you might do it for them. You may think this approach will make the client happy. But the problem here is you are putting the client in control.


Unfortunately, this may result in a product that might not perform well and an upset client who doesn't know where things went wrong. When the client comes to ask you, you might just tell them 'I did everything as you asked.' This is where you have failed. The person in control should be YOU when it comes to design, that's why you were hired!


What your client asks for, might not always align with their goals and objectives. In such a scenario, you need to take up the challenge of convincing how the design can achieve the targets they are aiming for and result in the project being successful. A critical conversation about the design strategy you have chosen needs to take place in order to avoid future resentment, frustration, and anger from the client.



HALT THE WAGON IF NEEDED


Once in a while, you might come across a client who seems to have come from hell! Anything you do will not be enough for them and they are impossible to satisfy. Try twice to show them your best ideas and analyze their reactions. If they are still not satisfied, take my advice and halt the project. Don't worry about the consequences, as you might save yourself a lot of frustration by halting the project and not continuing with it.


FINAL THOUGHTS


As a summarization of all my points, I suggest you follow the 3 magical F's approach. Be firm, fair, and friendly. Show your firmness when communicating your boundaries. Be fair when it comes to reviewing the client's feedback. And lastly, be friendly when dealing with the client's queries and changes. In this way, managing a client will be a cakewalk if this approach is followed.


*Images and visual assets are sourced from Unsplash and Pexels.


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ABOUT NANDITA SAMPAT CREATIONS

Nandita Sampat Creations is all about building the next big brand story. I am Nandita, and I love shaping and crafting brand design experiences. From logo design to flyers, posters, cards, packaging, stationery, and all things DESIGN trust me to create something unique and extraordinary which can make your brand image memorable and timeless. To check out some of my work, log on to www.nanditasampat.com.


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