Building a Healthy Relationship Between Freelancer and Client

2 Nov

by Elizabeth Stein, Creative Intern

The following are some of the “stepping-stones” which I established with my supervisor to assure a successful relationship between both parties of the BNA project, (myself as the designer, and Kevin Edwards as the “client.”)

1) Creating a solid foundation: Not to over-emphasize, but communication is of critical importance during the early stages of the client/designer process. At this time, it is crucial to observe, examine, and inquire about a clientʼs business, and the kind of products, services, and markets they offer. Developing an understanding of a companyʼs culture and belief system will help create a uniquely distinctive project that they will be satisfied with. Additionally, it is important to understand the perspective of the consumer, in regard to what they look for, need, and desire. Itʼs also important to understand the clientʼs specific goals for the website, what they wish to improve (if itʼs a re-branding assignment) as well as their expectations for long-term success.

2) Determining a Method and Sticking To It: It is an extremely good idea to establish a standard process for client intake, as the backbone for a range of client projects. In addition, itʼs also helpful to have a method or system for client communication beyond that point. Merely responding to emails or phone calls without document records or organization, will weaken your credibility and degree of trust as a professional. In this case, Kevin and I created a “ drop-box” that we could both access and submit files, images, and documents to. As the weeks progressed, the size of the drop- box grew enormously while I added design files of logo variations, references, and photos. I would create my work in Photoshop and save each logo individually, export it, and then print out a series of thumbnail designs to evaluate with Kevin in person.

3) Less Talking and More Listening to Client Needs: Put simply, itʼs all about the client—their business, their needs, their customers, and their goals. For this reason it is mandatory to emphasize the need to listen and let them provide the information which will provide the designer with the best outcome possible. Of course there will be many times where the client should be doing the listening, but especially during the initial stages it is most important to place value in listening to what is on the clientʼs mind, and what they have to say.

4) Never Be Afraid to Ask Questions: Misunderstandings will always lead to wasted time, so only a humble and unprofessional designer would hesitate to ask the client questions regarding their business project. Although a client may be busy with their own agenda, it is important for designers to not feel discouraged from talking to them when they feel uncertain. The more information, the better, and the more satisfied the client will be with the final product. Those clients who donʼt have a good understanding of what is involved in creating a successful website will often think that a skilled designer can just pick up a new project and create something special without really taking the customerʼs specific situation into consideration.

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