3 top tips for clients to help projects to run smoothly

So you’ve decided to take the next step with your business collateral and commence a new project – maybe you need a new website, your logo requires some tweaking, or you want to impress your stakeholders with a professional annual report design. You’ve given your design team the go-ahead, paid a deposit and supplied a comprehensive brief. So, now you can sit back and watch the magic happen, right? Essentially yes, but not quite.

There are certain responsibilities that you, as the client, have to undertake in order for your designers to complete your project to the standard you require, on time and within budget.

Here are three essential tips, for clients, that help projects run smoothly:

1. Be clear on timeframes and expectations

Your design team can’t meet expectations they didn’t know existed!

Is your project to be printed once the design is completed? Do you have a board meeting that requires the presentation of initial branding design concepts? Does your website need to be updated prior to a tender document being submitted?

Make sure to provide information on specific project milestones, as well as the final deadline, so these events can be planned, scheduled and ticked off along the way.

Your ASAP may not be the same as your designers ASAP!

It may feel imposing to say ‘ASAP’, but it’s not particularly helpful and gives little guidance as to when you truly require your finished project. If ASAP to you means tomorrow for a VIP client, or conversely, if ASAP is in three weeks as you’ll be on annual leave until then, please say so!

2. Changes in the brief may extend the deadline

As psychologist Edward DeBono stated, “If you can’t change your mind, why have one?” We appreciate that your thoughts and requirements can change as the project progresses. This is completely understandable; it happens all the time! However, it’s important to realise that in some cases, a change of mind will influence the deadline.

If you are having a 16-page brochure produced, and you’ve already received 3 proofs with the print deadline approaching and only then decide to change the document size or format to reduce postage costs, you must be flexible and extend the print and distribution deadline.

Generally, your designers are open to reviewing situations and may be able to rejig their schedules to implement the changes. But, as always, be clear in your communication. Get in contact with your team to give them time to examine your options.

3. Adhere to project milestones on your part

Even clients have homework to do.

So you’ve been super clear about your deadlines and requirements for the project. Good work! You can now leave it with your designers to manage and meet those deadlines, right? Well, not exactly. You will typically be required to give responses on various stages of the project, while some milestones are completely dependent on your feedback or approval.

If you decide to mull over the message for a web page design for a month, note that this will certainly blow out any expected timeframes. If we ask you to provide a design approval, by a specific date, that is so that we can meet your print deadline.

Every milestone has an equal and opposite milestone… maybe a little Isaac Newton-y. But it’s true!

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