Alternately titled, “How to Be the BEST Client Your Designer has Ever Had!”
We at Restored 316 Designs get a lot of email from a lot of different people. Support questions, general questions, how to questions, compliments, and testimonials. There are days when we feel like the email is never ending. One question we do receive quite often is how to go about choosing a designer.
Having been on the “Custom design” end of creating websites for clients, I can assure you that there is an easy way to work with a designer and a difficult way. The difficult way is the one that leaves both client and designer frustrated. The client feels like they aren’t getting what they paid for, while the designer ends up feeling like they weren’t paid enough for all of the extra revisions and changes that they made to any aspect of the design. This is a frustrating and unhappy circumstance for both parties and, if not handled with extreme care, can result in hurt feelings, ruined reputations and general unhappiness all the way around.
Our hope here is that our customers never feel that way. Ever. We want to provide quality services and above-quality designs. But, making that happen is as much on YOU, the customer as it is us. In order to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone, we thought we’d put together a little “to do” list for when you get ready to hire a designer.
Take some time to research the designer you’re interested in.
And I don’t mean take their word for it. Any designer can create fake testimonials and even create fake websites that no one has ever hired them to create. In this digital world, it’s easy to generate an entire artificial existence. Take some time to do some real digging on the designer you want to work with. One of the best ways to start finding designers is to check reliable sources. Studiopress is a GREAT resource for finding top-notch designers. Visit some of the sites that you like the most and figure out who designed it (you can usually find this in the footer section at the very bottom of the site or in the sidebar…quality designers always mark their territory).
Figure out who you are.
As a designer, I can not stress this enough. Please, please, pretty please don’t go into the design process without having any idea what kind of design you want or who you are. It is imperative that you take the time to do some soul searching. Custom web and logo design can get pricey and no one wants to pay out of pocket for something that they end up not loving. Create a pin board completely dedicated to your new design. Pin fonts and photos and color schemes and websites that you like. When you pin something take advantage of the comment section and tell yourself (and your designer) what it IS about that pin that stood out to you.
Ask yourself a few questions and ponder over them for a few weeks before you contact a designer:
- What do you want your site/brand to say about you?
- Are you going for something modern? Classic? Feminine? Minimal?
- If you’re using your site to run a business, what does your competition look like?
- What colors and represent YOU or your product market (clearly you don’t want multiple shades of blue and race car patterns if you’re selling little girl dresses)?
- Is this style something that is going to be timeless or one that you’re going to have to re-market in the future when styles change?
Spend some real time looking around at the sites, logos and fonts that stand out to you. I can tell you from personal experience that there is no happier email than an initial contact from a potential client who says, “I need a website and a brand. Here is the link to my Style board on Pinterest.” Want to see a designer do a happy dance? Approach them initially with that kind of email!
Not every designer is suited to design YOUR site.
Most designers are pretty flexible and can adapt to produce quality styling for any genre of design. However…if you’re looking for something modern and sleek and minimalistic, you may not be suited for a designer who specializes in watercolor patterns and flowing pink flowers. It never hurts to ask the designer if they think that your project would be something they could take on, but don’t be offended if they pass or refer you to someone else. It’s a code of respect for a designer to admit that they don’t think that they can do their BEST work on your site and recommend you to someone that they not only trust but believe can rock your design!
Remember that designers are people too!
I can’t stress this enough. It’s easy to see your chosen designer as just a designer. That’s who they are. They have an online presence within your computer screen and within your browser. But they also have a life outside of the screen. Most of us have children and husbands and families and dinners to cook and activities that run rampantly throughout our pretty little planners. Likewise, we all have office hours….just like many of you have office hours. We don’t
always work at 9:00 pm or answer email at midnight. And more importantly, life happens to us, too. If your email goes unanswered for 36 hours, that doesn’t mean that we are ignoring you. Maybe we have a sick child or a family emergency or a personal crisis that we don’t feel the need to advertise to the world. Last year, my family and I made an impromptu trip back to Alabama when my husband’s grandmother became deathly ill. Email didn’t get answered right away and I didn’t have a moment to slow down in the chaos that was around me to send out a massive email stating that I had something going on. And nothing was worse than opening my inbox a few days later and seeing rude, heartless emails from people I had been in contact with and working with.
If your chosen designer has been on top of his or her game throughout the design process (meaning responding to emails within a 48 hour time frame…two business days or less) then cut them some slack if it takes an extra day. They aren’t ignoring you. They aren’t trying to “take your money and run.” They are most likely in the middle of something within their personal life that you may know nothing about.
Don’t ask us to steal.
Please keep in mind that designers have a code of Integrity. While most of the time it’s not spoken or even written out, we respect one another’s work and efforts and the time away from family that it costs to work on a design. Please, please don’t ask your designer-whoever it may be-to blatantly copy another design. Inspiration is great! We welcome all of the inspiration you want to place on a PinBoard. But, any quality designer will refuse to copy and paste code from another site directly or style anything to look identical to another site. It’s laziness and it’s disrespectful. You are an original, after all! You deserve to showcase YOUR personality and style…not someone else’s.
Last but not least…
You Get What you Pay For.
If you hire a sub-par designer, you’re going to get a sub-par design. It’s just as simple as that. That goes for any creative service out there…photography, paper design, print media. If you pay for low quality designs, you will get a low quality product.
Investing in a new brand or a new web design is supposed to be a fun and exciting process! Designers live for this and nothing makes us happier than stretching our creative wings and having the chance to work with a fantastic client! For us, having both is the best of the best!
Interested in having us design something for you or establish a brand for your new business? Be sure to check out our Services! We are now offering theme customization plus logo design! We’d love to help you create something fabulous!
Need help choosing a theme or ideas on where to get started? Download our guide here.
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