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Understanding Clients Will Win You Business

Some tips for new designers on the block who wants to make it in the world of business or simply freelancing...

I feel that this applies to both actual clients and potential clients. Even if they do not go with your quote, they will remember you by how you handled the quote for next time. The impression you leave them really helps for next time.

Clients will think highly of you if you apply these methods :

The design brief

May seem obvious but fully understanding the client's brief will instill confidence in your abilities to deliver. Many designers get it wrong or show lack of concentration when it comes to understanding and fully appreciating the client's brief.

No design brief

The clients asks you for a price but doesn't have a detailed design brief. "I want a blue logo that fits with my product/business. It must look masculine and stand out...." How would you as the designer react to that? Would you see it as a hurdle to the project ahead?

A good designer will draw the specification out from the client. Not everyone will have a detailed brief for you to analyse. Talk to them, discuss with them, ask them questions. One hour with the client will get you the brief that you need.

Show passion in their business and interests

Male designers showing interest in cosmetics?
Female designers showing interest in football?
(apologise in advance for the sterotype!!)
The great thing about being a designer is that you are not limited to any type of industry. You can design for anyone. The sky is the limit!! Appreciate that. Whoever you are working for, take time to look into their business and show passion for the journey ahead.

Be transparent in your pricing

So you have quoted for the initial work. Upon completion, you whack the client with a bill that is three times what you quoted. This will obviously not go down well with your client. Your excuse as a designer "...but you added to the requirements initially laid out...". Sorry but that is no excuse! You quote for design and that is the price. Honouring your price will be respected by the client. Be transparent in your pricing. Break the price down and justify why it came to that amount. Should they add requirements along the way then tell them at each stage. Get them to approve the additional cost. Tell them what it involves which may lead to why it costs extra. This is a relationship development program between you and the client so take advantage!

Be flexible and negotiate

You have your terms and the client has their terms. How flexible can you compromise on this so that both parties are happy in the arrangement? Whatever the case maybe, it is often appreciated by the client if you can be flexible. It shows that their voice is heard and understood by you.

Innovative solutions

Can you justify how you came to the results? What you interpret as innovative may not be the case for the client. By all means show off your creative flair by trying out new ideas. Back up your reasoning. If you are afraid of showing “off the wall” ideas then show some “safe ideas” as part of your presentation. Testing new boundaries will ensure that your skills are dynamic.

Showing your client that “the designer is perfect”

Is not the way to go! No matter how good you are as a designer, you certainly are not perfect. Who knows best about the client? Surely it's them themselves. Telling them what you are not good at also shows honesty and this goes a long way. Besides, you are not displaying big headedness which is a nice attitude to adopt.

Case studies

Can you explain to the client that your previous experience has helped others? This will inevitably display confidence in what you can do to add value.


Have you taken care in quoting your leadtime as well as pricing? The work maybe highly expensive or done for free. If the client is never going to receive your promise then it does not help in anyway. Make sure that you build a realistic leadtime and deliver ontime!

All the best in your career.

Hope this helps.
Copyright 2008 - Calibre Designs Ltd