As a freelancer you get lots of opportunities to work with a variety of customers. You might be dealing with web agencies who are experts in the industry but you might be also be dealing with companies whoʼs core business is in completely different industry. You need to find ways to present your work to both groups so they understand the advantages.
Listen and iterate
What ever group you dealing with there will always come a time when you need to submit your first version of the design you have worked on for a while. It is very unlikely that the customer will say, “Yes it is perfect”. Why? As a
designer we are trying to produce something we think our customers want and at the same time something that solves the problem the customer has. It is guesswork at least the first part of it. You obviously can’t know exactly what customer wants. Sometimes you get really close, sometimes not. What is most important is that you listen to the customer feedback and try to produce a second version that comes closer to customersʼ expectations. You can’t get
if your customer does not like what you have done. You can always explain why you have done it the way you did and educate the customer as you are the one who knows what part of the design could be implemented the right way and which could cause for example accessibility problems for end- users.
Customer who do not know what he/she wants
Sometimes your customer does not know exactly what he/she wants and is expecting that the idea will come from you. This might be the best or the worst case. You are designer so you can be the creative person and not need other
people to give you ideas which will allow you to do whatever you think is the best solution for the problem. The problem with these types of customers might be that you might end up in a situation where they do not like what you have done but they can’t really give you feedback on which direction you should go. Even if you get this type of customer you can’t lose your head and continue to iterate and coming up with new ideas till you fulfill the budget. You can’t obviously come up with new versions again and again with no end. There is a line where you need to say “this is what I have done so far, you may hire me to come up with more ideas or you may need to find someone else if you do not like what I have done so far”. That is all fine. We are all people and design is very subjective so even if your customer does not like what you have done it does not mean it is not good. It is just not good enough for your customer. It is a risk that is part of any creative job and both parties need to be aware of it and accept it.
Remember to always keep the door open
Whatever the situation is, try to always keep your doors open so the customer can come back to you. Do not close the door with definitive phrases and always try to come up with solutions even if it means compromising.
As designers we do not do the work to show off our skills or to put the work into our portfolio. We are trying to satisfy our customersʼ requirements in the best possible way. If you are happy enough you might find a customer whose
opinion and aesthetics comes very close to yours. Enjoy that time.