Let’s discuss the mutual respect that there should be, between a client and a professional designer, or anyone working, no matter the industry.
Setting up and traveling to meetings with clients, who don’t show up, or don’t call to cancel is unacceptable. How about when we write estimates for potential clients, and they never respond again. How about thinking we’ll show a sample design for free to gain a client or do endless revisions, to the point where we can’t wait for the assignment to be done?
What is it about our profession in recent years, that we do not seem to get the respect we deserve?
I hate to say this because I love my computers, (macs of course, I do have a pc but I only use it to check website development, cross-platform) but I think since computers came to our aid in helping us create digitally, it made every worker in an office think they’re a graphic or website designer. In turn, it has watered down our profession.
Recently, I had a meeting scheduled with a client that I just started working with. This is not the first time this has happened but I arrive at the scheduled time, and he’s not there. He’s not on the way, or going to be late, but is on the phone with someone at the business. He didn’t even call me to cancel, or say he’d be late, but forgot, again? Well, my time is just as valuable as his, I traveled to get there, and this made me angry. It makes the assignment an unpleasant experience and now I just wish the job was finished. Now, I’m going to admit, this doesn’t happen very often, and occasionally I have clients who cancel down to the wire. These are not clients I enjoy working with, and will most likely not work with them again in the future, unless they come or just send documents to me.
Writing estimates for potential clients. I do have older estimates that I can open up and alter to fit the particular client I’m writing for, but depending on the potential client, and the assignment, an estimate can take between 1/2 hr – a few hours. Many times, I put it aside and come back to it later or the next day, to make sure it says everything it needs to. I know it seems like a lot to ask, but would it be so hard for someone to just respond? The first issue is, you don’t even know if they received it, unless you mark the email with a return notification. Sometimes, when you’re sending an attachment your email could go into their spam folder, and they might not have seen it. While reviewing designers, is it so difficult to just send a thank you for applying, we’ll let you know, or we’ve selected another? At least then you know they’ve gotten it, and you were considered.
Can you show me what you have in mind? For Free? Sorry, but this really annoys me. The whole point of having a portfolio, a body of your best work to show, is so that potential clients can look through your work and have a clear understanding of the quality of what you would deliver. If they cannot tell after seeing all of your design samples and are willing to hire you, then you probably don’t want them for a client. A designer begins with a concept, and that concept is in their mind, before they touch the computer, so if you want to know what my concept is, you’ll have to hire me to find out.
I will admit that I was tempted on whim to enter a logo design contest on 99designs, but it was because I was new to this site and invited, so when I looked through the samples submitted up to that point, I felt they weren’t the right approach, and a concept came to me immediately, so it wasn’t that difficult to put together what I had in mind, and submit the two color variations. I won that contest and they became a paying client, and hired me for a second assignment. But, I am against this type of website that puts designers working for free, competing against each other for little gain. Imagine if 99 designers enter a complicated assignment like website design, and with all the work involved, only one person can win and get paid. That’s a lot of designers working very hard for free. I think a site like this was created solely for lazy clients, who’d rather not look through those 99 portfolios and just choose the right designer for their assignment.
I had a logo concept in my mind come to me for the green books campaign which I was started by Eco-Libris and is for a great cause. I knew that over 100 bloggers were participating, (being one of the bloggers) reviewing 100+ green books, and it would be good publicity for me if those bloggers used the logo in their review, and many did. So I put it together, sent it along to Eco-Libris and they liked it and used it immediately. It was definitely worth the effort, for a good cause and the publicity it would draw to my work and in addition, my cause with Mary Jo Rhodes, Frogs Are Green.
Endless Revisions. When I write estimates they always stipulate how many revisions will be included but that never seems real to clients, who send their copy changes over and over. I’ll never understand why clients cannot review their copy carefully before sending it along. Whether we’re working on a print marketing project or a website page, the copy has to be loaded and styled. Don’t they realize we must redo it, if they send a new document? Recently I’ve also seen clients tell you the size has changed after you’re finished. This a complete redesign, but they don’t realize what’s involved. Imagine I have designed a book cover which is horizontal format, and after approved, the client now wants the cover in a vertical format, I must redesign the cover altogether.
All I’m saying is that we deserve the respect that we give to our clients, and I look forward to hearing your stories and/or comments.