If You Really Want To Succeed in Design
It takes a certain kind of person to succeed in design. You have to be driven. You have to be dedicated, and you have to have the right mindset. Design has its ups and downs, but truly successful designers stick with it and build a name for themselves. Being a designer, whether its a graphic designer or a web designer, means you have to be a good problem solver. You have to approach a project from all angles. Let’s take a look in more detail at what it takes to succeed in design.
Your design solutions have to make connections. They make connections with people, and truly good design resonates with them. They get it, and they don’t have to struggle to get it. They get it because you made it simple, and made it connect with a group, a generation, or a culture on a personal level. All of these things are something you have to take into account when working on any project, big or small. Your clients’ audience is what is most important.
Clients have problems, and it’s your job to solve them. They have different problems, ranging from reaching the right people who are potential customers, to building brand loyalty, and so on. If you want to succeed in design, you have to be able to get to the root of your clients’ problems and provide a quality solution to them. This comes from having a systematic approach to how you work with your clients. You may:
- Build a project brief from your initial meeting.
- Provide a questionnaire that asks specific questions to cover all areas of a project.
- Ask the types of questions that help you to gain insight into their business.
- Be thorough which helps build a client’s trust in you that you are about providing the best solution possible.
- Involve the client as much as possible, so that projects don’t take a wrong turn.
- Create project milestones to ensure there are no loose ends.
Do what You Say You’re Going to Do (When You Say You’re going to do it)
This is where a lot of designers fall short. Don’t make empty promises to your clients. This hurts everyone. It hurts your client the most. It really hurts your business and your reputation. It also makes it really difficult for the next designer to deal with, because the client is left with anxiety and mistrust towards all designers. I’m not sure when designers started thinking deadlines were just a suggestion, but I’ve gotten a lot of business lately from designers who’ve dropped the ball on projects. Set deadlines and stick to them. Nothing says ” You’re not that important” like missing a project deadline for a client.
Pay Attention to Detail
The small things do count. Make sure to go the extra mile for clients. Just be sure to do so without giving away the house. Remember, you’re a business, just like any other, and your purpose is to make money, but adding value where it makes sense is a good way to keep clients coming back. That extra little bit of value in your service can make you stand out from the competition.
Presentation is Key
Have you ever seen a mediocre design or concept that was presented well? It’s likely that it was still accepted and praised, simply because of it’s presentation. Your presentation is your ultimate sales pitch. If you can find the right words, connect with a clients pain points, and get them on board, you can sell almost anything. To make this even more powerful, make great presentations for great work, and your career will go through the roof!
Learn To Let Things Go
It’s story time! I had a recent logo design client who came to me wanting a logo concept. They bought my ultimate package, and I developed several concepts. A few were mediocre at best, showing the client what he describe that he’d wanted. However, there was one in particular that was just spectacular in concept and execution. it combined his company name, with what his product was, which was no small feat. I tried for a solid hour to convince him (I kid you not), and a great presentation to go with the fantastic concept I came up with. Instead, he chose the initial concept that he’d described to me in the beginning. It was a tough pill to swallow, but in the end I just had to give him what he wanted.
You’ll have clients like that. No matter what you come up with and no matter how hard you try, they want what they want, and that’s all they want. Just learn to let it go. There’s only so much you can do. Some business owners can only see as far as their own tunnel vision.
Learn to Work Well With Others
If you try to go it alone, or wall yourself behind a computer all day, you’re not going to get very far. Some of the best projects I’ve done have been a collaboration between me, another graphic designer, and a marketing expert. Bouncing ideas off of other designers is a great way to get the most out of a project. Also, it’s good for most people to have someone else there to keep them in check. I know we’d like to think so, but not everything we do is golden. Also, working relationships and networking is great for landing more business.
What do you think?
Do you have any tips to help others succeed in design? I’d love for you to share your experiences. Please leave your thoughts below.