It can be a designer’s dilemma when clients won’t stop asking for repeated revisions. When we design for our clients we want them to be happy with the result, but sometimes they can go too far and can make our lives a living hell.
When we start out as designers, we rarely take into the account the amount of hours spent on creating a project. It’s fun and enjoyable at first, and what could possibly go wrong if you’re getting paid for your work? But clients asking for revision after revision can be a real strain on designers. They can destroy our motivation and drain our creative ideas from the project.
Of course we have to face the fact that we can’t please everybody, that not all clients are easy to work with and some can be downright annoying. Many people lack an eye for creativity, therefore making their judgement on what looks good lacking.
In today’s article we’ll be taking a look at some tips on How to Prevent Clients making Countless Revisions.
1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
When starting any design project it’s best to take your time and go at an easy pace. If your client is asking for a fast turn around this can make your designing more stressed with less time to focus on the project.
By rushing the project the client will more likely feel that you don’t care about their needs and may ask for many revisions. However if you start off the project with professional planning and take your time, you’ll more than likely get the respect of your client.
Communicating is key to any design project. If you start off the project with a lack of communication and understanding of your client’s needs, you’re more likely to create something they don’t want. Before you start any project be sure to ask the client in detail about what they want and what they’re expecting from you, in order to get clear mutual understanding right from the start.
Not all designers are the same. Most have their unique artistic skills and create ideas that are out of the box. Some clients may assume that all designers create in the same method. Before starting a project with a client you should explain to them your process and the steps you take to get there.
Revisions are definitely part of a design process no matter what, and they are made in order to move closer to the end result. Each revision should be completed purposefully by keeping in mind what the client wants. Explain to the client how the project will unravel and that revisions are part of that process.
However you need to also explain beforehand that revisions should not continue to be asked for after a certain number of times on a whim.
4. Motivation and Inspiration
Before you start any project you need to always be motivated and inspired. A lack of these key elements can leave you designing lacklustre work. In order to get better original ideas try searching on the internet, reading a book, walking outside, or doodling some sketches with a paper and pencil. You don’t have to start a project straight away – let your brain rest and begin the next day.
5. Say a Number
By planning out a number of revisions beforehand, this will help the client to define their ideas better if they know there’s a limit. If you’re a professional you’ll have precise and clear information on your website regarding revisions. It’s no use saying you offer ‘many revisions’ – you need to be specific with your numbers and lay out a cost written on a legal contract.
6. Give the Client Time to Think
When we submit our initial ideas to clients, we may get an instant response from them about what they like and don’t like. Their thoughts about your designs may change over time so wait a day or two.
Give the client some space to evaluate the work so they can think of what changes they’re looking for, and see if they warm up to your ideas. This step will lead to a clear understanding about what the client has given thought to in relation to what they genuinely want.
7. Minor Changes vs Major Changes
Before starting the project make sure your client understands the difference between minor and major changes. A minor change would be considered as a revision, while a major change would be an extra cost.
If you were to design a logo and the client wanted the font changed or a graphic moved, that’s a fairly simple task. If they’re asking for a complete redo with a new concept that be be a major change leading to extra costs. Also, indication of whether you charge a flat rate or hourly rate should be stated on the contract.
8. Keep them Informed of the Design Process
Many clients won’t understand the design process and will not be aware of the overall steps that need to be taken. It’s your role to communicate with the client about the design process so there are no misunderstandings along the way.
For example, if you’re emailing your first round of revisions name the email one out of four to remind the client of how many revision sessions they have left.
9. Make them Understand your Side
Many of our headaches come from the clients themselves – for example, giving us low resolution images to use, or insisting on using Comic Sans MS for their site, or asking for ugly color combinations like orange and black. Do not be afraid to voice your opinion as a designer and try to make them understand your viewpoint. Tell them that low res images won’t look good when printed out, that Comic Sans MS will make a web site look second grade, and that orange and black are best left to use for the Halloween season.
A creative brief is a great tool to keep track of the project’s progress. It doesn’t need to be that long (as the name ‘creative brief’ suggests). A short, one page creative brief will do. Write a good creative brief and explain the design thoroughly, in order to prevent any more further provisions and changes.
10. Design is Subjective
When we pick our favourite design from the ideas sometimes we can get tunnel vision. If the client doesn’t choose the best one out of the bunch there’s no point in arguing about it because it comes down to personal taste. As designers we need to accept the fact that not everyone will choose the right design, and move on.
11. Show them Diversity
When it comes to creating ideas for clients diversity is key. When you design only a limited range of ideas the client will more than likely want more revisions and changes in order to get what they’re after. Don’t stay with a similar style, try to branch out and design multiple concepts that look nothing like each other.
Showing the client a wide selection will help you both to together reach the best result, and lead to a happy outcome.
12. We all Make Mistakes
If proper planning and communication haven’t been addressed, you may end up designing something that the client never wanted in the first place. If this occurs, go back to the first step and focus on understanding what the client wants. At the end of the day we all make mistakes, so be sure to ask the right questions and visualise their expectations at the inception of the project.
13. Say No to Negative Clients
Lastly if you’ve got a negative client, this can also be damaging to the design process. Clients also need to take part and explain what they’re after in detail. If you come across a negative client who is asking for repeated unrealistic revisions, you may need to pull the plug!
Negative clients can be time consuming and cause you to lose confidence in your abilities along the way, in which case it may be best to finish the project early for both your sakes.
The design process can be a tricky one, and does take time to understand and execute. Building a lasting dedicated relationship with your client is the main goal here which will hopefully bring you new clients along the way.
Remember these basic steps in order to avoid too many revisions:
- Set expectations about the project
- Inform the client of each project phase
- Stay fresh and explore new design ideas
- Be flexible and stay positive
The best end result is completing projects with minimal revisions. This way you’ll know your client and yourself were on the same page. Communication and enjoyment are key requisites. Have you had any forgettable clients when it comes to too many revisions? Comment below with your suggestions.