011: Defining the Right Type of Client

Friday, September 13, 2013 – 41 minutes

Download: MP3 (39.6 MB)

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Show Notes

Aaron and I record our first in-person show, and talk about how to define the right type of client. (Hint: it’s going to be a lot more introspective than you think). Passion, Projects, Process, Professionalism, and bold statements like “There’s no such thing as ‘Clients from hell’” just scratch the surface of what was discussed in this super concentrated episode on selectivity.

  • 04:05 You guard the sacredness of your passion by ensuring that clients are well-vetted.
  • 05:43 What is a “good” client?
  • 06:44 It is your responsibility to convey your process. You have to know this for yourself before you can explain it to the client.
  • 09:02 Your process is ever-evolving. It doesn’t change during any one project, but it will evolve from project-to-project as you improve.
  • 10:29 Your process should be written down.
  • 11:36 Your process should be publicly viewable, and then further customized for, and provided to, the client in an email.
  • 11:53 Case studies project your design thinking and the value you provide to the client. It’s an excellent way to convey process by showing how you work in different situations, with different constraints, in different contexts, with different goals.
  • 13:25 When do you try to fix problems, and when do you fire the client?
  • 14:13 There’s no such thing as “Clients from hell,” because only designers from hell take on those types of clients.
  • 14:53 You will only ever continue to get the kinds of clients you currently choose to work with.
  • 15:43 Remember, those supposed “Clients from hell” can only be clients if you take them on. It’s your responsibility.
  • 16:04 4 questions to ask yourself to determine if a client is going to be the right fit.
  • 16:43 You have to sit down and document your process. There’s no such thing as “common sense.” You either set proper expectations, or you didn’t. That is on you, not the client.
  • 17:48 What you allow in moderation, your clients will do in excess.
  • 19:05 You need to be thorough in your explanation of the design process. You should never be sending a design to a client and simply saying “Ok, here you go!” You should be explaining every design decision you made and showing how it is objective and serving the project goals. No design decision you are making should be subjective to your own preferences—or the client’s.
  • 24:40 Preventing design by committee.
  • 26:24 Your contract should be a reiteration of your process.
  • 26:38 Don’t just simply send a contract over to a client. You should be sending a contract that backs up the process that you’ve already explained. It’s a two-fold approach.
  • 31:23 Everything you present to the client should be thoroughly explained. This is how you prevent subjective opinions of unexplained design solutions.
  • 33:01 You don’t send something to a client and say “What do you think?” That is the mark of a novice, not a professional.
  • 34:24 You should be finding something you can improve in your process with the next client your work with on every project you do. Professionalism is an iterative process.
  • 35:31 How do you determine whose fault it is when a project goes bad?

Links

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By Sean McCabe

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