Hustle, but not your clients.
I'm going to dive right into this one. I've seen more than one person lately speaking on their experience with Graphic Designers, and it hasn't been a good one. Some repeated themes include:
- Poor communication or none at all.
- Poor quality of work vs time spent on work
- Turnaround times that are too long, or longer than expected (along with poor communication)
Now, while there are certain expectations that must be managed on the part of the client, as designers we're the professionals and we really need to act like it. Yes, we're creatives and there's a lot of baggage that comes with that, but if we're putting ourselves out there as a service, that's exactly what we need to provide. It's 2017, and with as many places that lower or remove the barrier to entry for design, we have to more than ever work to gain trust, and demonstrate our worth and value.
If you're like me and have trouble staying organized (and thus have to work harder at it) there are lots of programs out there to help. I personally use Asana because the free option is robust enough for me to nail down every detail of a project, add notes, set due dates, and see everything at a glance so that I can manage my pic picture. As a graphic designer who loves my career (and left engineering to do it), I don't want to see it painted with an ugly brush because of people who don't have the passion for it.
So how to fix it?
Clients - make sure that you're doing your homework when looking for a designer. Look up their websites. Look at their credentials and past work. Look for client testmonials. Interview them as if they're going to be working for your business. A lot of times red flags can pop up in conversations that can save you time and money in the long run. Most importantly, make sure that they clearly demonstrate how well they can achieve your vision and that you two vibe well together. The right designer for you is out there, you just have to make sure you're doing your homework, and not settling. That may mean waiting and saving up until you can afford that designer, but it will save you pain down the line. Also manage your expectations. We're not robots, and if you need same or next day service, be prepared to pay for it.
Designers - know your limits. Don't take on more than you can reasonably handle. You're not just a designer. You're also an accountant, project manager, salesperson, and account manager. You need to set yourself up to manage those roles responsibly. If you're just in this to make a quick buck and don't really care, that's on you - but please don't make it hard for those of us out here that I love our jobs, and truly want to help people. You're not just breaking their trust in you, you're breaking their trust in all of us.
What are some experiences you've had with a graphic designer? Designers, what are some things clients could do to help the process?