A client and Designer Relationship

Is it a love-hate relationship between the Designer and the Client or not? I came across this meme the other day, which made me burst into laughter as the humor portrayed exactly a few instances in the journey with clients. You might have experienced some friction while working on your projects.

Seth Godin puts the client-designer relationship as:

  1. The Client knows what they want:  This type of relationship between the Designer and Client is easy to implement. The Client clearly communicates their expectations and brings in all the necessary resources for the Designer.
  2. The Client knows what they rhyme with: The Client comes in with inspiration from other designs. They prefer effectiveness over originality. Here, the Designer tries to replicate the Client’s expected influences.
  3. The Client accepts not being an expert but is clear about the results: The Client acknowledges that the Designer is the expert and will do their job. The Client knows the state change in the results that are expected with the design—effects like trust, desire, confidence, etcetera.
  4. The Client depends on the designers to deliver designs in their mind: Here, the Client wants the Designer to understand what they want without any inputs.

In case 4, the Client takes an immense risk as the money, time, and effort are wasted upon no communication between them. According to Seth, don’t do this unless you have a lot of money and a lot of time (and a very patient designer). This demand for telepathy is for amateurs.

The common issues that arise between them are as follows:

Client’s Perspective:

  • The Designer is not open to feedback or iterations.
  • The Designer is charging too much money.
  • The Designer doesn’t get me.

Designer’s Perspective:

  • The Client wants to dictate the design.
  • The Client has unrealistic deadlines.
  • The Client feels UX/UI Design is easy to work with and should be charged less.

The above issues arise because of a lack of understanding of the design process and what a designer does, lousy matching, less trust, and communication.

Ways to tackle the issues:

Understand what a designer does:

The UX/UI designer goes through multiple steps to create the final work, and it is required to invest a certain amount of time and money. When the Client is aware of the process and work of the Designer, the deadline and cost expectations will be fair for both sides.

Empathize with the Client:

The Designer should try to understand the Client’s needs and goals. There might be specific fears of the Client, like budget time constraints. Once the Designer knows them, they can respond accordingly.

Match the Expectations:

In the above four cases, it can be seen that different type of relationship exists between the Client and the Designer. Not every Client is for every Designer and vice versa. You should be selective to choose the kind of relationship best suits you.

Arrange meetups:

Trust is essential to develop a successful final design, and this is possible if it is built since the start of the relationship. It can be intimidating to meet someone new, be it a Designer or a Client. The Designer can understand the Client’s perspective and build a Persona, and it helps to be present and understand the context.

Echange Feedback - Designer and Client

Exchange feedback:

There can be misunderstandings and assumptions being made in the previous conversations, which can be solved through feedback. Open communication is essential to make the process smoother and result-oriented.

The goal of the Designer should be to balance their expertise with the incorporation of the Client’s needs/opinions in the product design. The Client should come with clear guidelines and understanding of the design process to respect the craft and have the right demands. To have a cordial and collaborative relationship, they both should discharge their responsibilities.

At Procreator, we have built a strong relationship between our Clients and Designers to deliver compelling digital products. You can reach us at: https://procreator.design/.