In any business, there will always be some sort of communication issue. All too often, this is because of the technical jargon that is used by professionals. Whether they use the technical terms because that is all they know, or because they need to boost their egos, it is not all that helpful when speaking with the clients. However, sometimes it is that the client just cannot grasp the steps that the professional has to complete. Either way, communication between a client and a graphic designer can be very cumbersome; that is, unless you are prepared in advance.
How To Speak To Your Client
Remember, it is your client that pays the bills, so take time to meet them on their level. Sometimes this can be difficult, especially if you have not taken the time to learn how to talk with a client that is not as tech-savvy as you might like.
It is important to keep your communications simple. If a client feels that you are speaking on a level below them, they will “passively” let you know (they will use more technical jargon). If you notice that a client has a blank stare, ask them if they would like you go back over anything you might has discussed.
Remember the following when speaking with your clients:
- Stick To Simple Terms
- Speak Slowly
- Provide Explanations
- Treat Them With Respect
How To Speak To The Designer
It can feel very overwhelming when speaking to a professional, especially if you do not have an adequate understanding of graphic design. With the way technology changes, you really should not be too overly concerned with understanding graphic design anyways … that is the job of your graphic designer.
The biggest problem that most graphic designers run into is clients that do not divulge enough information. This can cause the graphic designer to present a “rough draft” of what they feel the client wanted. So, first and foremost, be as detailed as you can with the designer.
Secondly, if you do not understand them when they talk to you, ask for clarification. It is highly important to be open with them; otherwise, the designer will think you know what they are talking about and this could end up with undesirable results.
Remember the following when speaking with your designer:
- Ask Questions
- Be Honest And Open With Them
- Be Detailed In What You Want
- Treat Them With Respect
Ultimately, the relationship between the client and the graphic designer should be very open. Clients should take the time to ensure the designer understands exactly is required. It is a good idea to put everything in writing; this helps reduce the he said/she said bickering that occurs all too often. Also, designers should understand that the client is not required to understand their job. The designer should ensure that they stick with simple, common terms instead of highly technical mumbo-jumbo (seriously guys, check your ego’s at the door). Communication is a two way street … not a one way highway!
Every time I start wallowing in self-doubt about my design business, something happens to snap me out of it. A few weeks ago, it was an editor from Adobe’s Layers magazine asking me to be one of the designers for a web redesign article in an upcoming magazine (more about that after it’s on the newsstands). Yesterday when I got home from a weekend on the Olympic peninsula, I found an email in my inbox from Zazzle.Years ago, I uploaded some of my illustrations, hoping to sell some as posters.I got an email last week saying one poster had been sold. I hadn’t looked at the account in so long, I had to get a password reminder to even see what had sold. I chuckled with my husband when I saw it was a derivative of a friend of ours. I had used a photo I took of him to create a satire poster back when I was still in design school (and before I was very good using Illustrator). I only earned a few dollars on the sale, but I got a kick that someone else liked it enough to buy it. I didn’t think more about it until I got the email from Zazzle asking me to sign a release….for DreamWorks. DreamWorks had been the one to order the poster and they needed a limited release so they can use it in a movie they are currently working on – a remake of the movie Fright Night. Say what? They want to use my poster? Yep….they sure do…and while I didn’t really get paid much for it’s use, I’ll probably be listed in the closing credits (under graphic designers) , which is very cool.I’m trying not to let these little tidbits of “fame” go to my head…but it sure has boosted my self-esteem and I’m psyched to get working on client projects today.