Hello clients. My first article is for you: the seven deadly client sins. Guilty of one, two or more? Well read on to learn how to avoid exploiting your designer.
1. Devaluing thy Designer
First and foremost, if you're hiring a designer, look into their work beforehand. It's insulting to ask for samples of your designer's work after receiving an asking price for the task at hand. From our perspective, it sounds like your doubting the quality of our work and belittling its value. And that's not cool.
2. Ignoring Budget Queries
When a designer asks you, "What's your budget?" consider it a gift. This designer may be willing to adjust their price range to accommodate your budget or provide a cost break down of services they can offer you at your desired price. Remember, we research pricing schemes from other designers to establish an estimated range for project-based charging. Yes, $600 might seem like a lot for an updated layout of an already published book. But hey, compared to a general rate of a couple thousand, $600 sounds pretty reasonable. If you think you're being overcharged or think your designer is under qualified, do some research or investigation first (see sin #1). Or be honest about what you're looking to spend.
3. Disregarding the Process
No designer was created equal. Not their style, and sure as hell not their process. Clients, try to understand your designer's process. If their initial stage is sketching, don't ignore your designer's sketches. This is a crucial part in laying out the essential structure of your design. If you have trouble envisioning something, ask some questions. See if your designer can further develop the sketch with a quick color scheme or filler text to get a better sense of the layout. But a complete disregard for the process will waste your designer's time and cost you in the later stages due to additional draft charges (♪ we've got bills to pay, we got our mouths to feed, so there ain't nothing in design for free).
4. Harassing thy Designer
If you and your designer have not set up a schedule of check-in dates or even an estimated due date, do not hassle your designer for their progress. More often than not, we are juggling several clients and projects at once, not to mention a life. Without deadlines, you are fit into a designer's routine when there are free moments. If you want to become a priority, give your designer a timeline.
5. Losing Contact
Do not expect your designer to continue working if you fail to check in. If we were to finish your project, we would risk having to start completely over due to edits you failed to share with us prior to final design stages. As designers, we cannot have our time wasted (see sin #4).
6. Making Unreasonable Requests
If you don't want to be that client that no designer would work with, please, and I'm begging you, please, do not wait until the last minute to change your mind on significant aspects of a design. This uncertainty should be addressed during the sketching stage or even, if you must, the first draft (see sin #3). Voice your concerns early in the process or your designer will not be happy. Yes, yes, you're the client and you expect to get what you what. But think of it this way: when designers have to scrap essential elements to your design and restart, AND have a deadline to meet, you are most likely going to get a lesser quality, under developed design. Maybe it looks good, but that design could've been great.
7. Denying Credit
Question: if you labored hours upon hours channeling your creativity into producing a quality product, would you want your name to be stripped from it? If you said yes, *whispers* you're lying. Everyone wants to get credit when it's due. So don't deny your designer theirs. Us designers are putting forth our best effort in capturing your vision because your project is a representation of our brand. There may be cases where you as the client may want the rights to a design, but be willing to compromise. Give credit to your designer, brag about their services, give a recommendation or two, and please, for the love of God, let them put their design in their portfolio (even if it has to be under your copyright). Don't let all their hard work be for nothing.