One of the biggest and most frequent concerns that new clients tend to have with freelance designers is what it’s like to actually work with them.
Who are they? What’s their experience? Are they legitimate?
They’re all valid questions and I ask them myself of my clients, but I wanted to try to sooth these pain-points that any potential client of mine might have about me by outlining the process by which I generally tend to work.
Here’s how I go about the majority of my freelance design projects:
Most of my clients first contact me through one of my many online portals, be it Behance, Dribbble, social media or good old email. I keep myself contactable at all times, so it’s easy to reach me via these media.
We’ll discuss initial project requirements, agree mutual expectations and go from there.
Once we’ve established that we’re both on the same page, we can get into the proper briefing phase.
It’s usually the case that my clients have a well-rounded idea of what they’re after before they get in touch, so the briefing phase is normally straightforward, especially if we’re comfortable enough for me to challenge my clients on their assumptions of the outcomes of the project.
In some cases, I get more involved in the defining of the brief by way of asking my clients to fill in the relevant design forms, for example, App Design, Web Design or Branding, which I’ve created for ease of reference for all parties.
As well as helping my clients understand exactly what goes into our projects, these forms also allow me to provide more accurate quotes for the work I’ll undertake, so there are no overestimations of the amount of time I’ll need to commit to them.
Every quote I provide is based on specific project requirements that we agree upon from the beginning. We’ll discuss timescales, processes and deliverables so we’re both clear about what to expect, particularly when it comes to my client’s financial investment in my time.
Once we’ve agreed on the process and final output, I typically provide my quotes via email and am always open to discuss uncertainties in a manner suitable and preferable to my clients.
When we’ve agreed on the costs and deliverables, I’ll issue a contract to be signed. It’s rare that details are questioned at this stage, such is the depth of our discussions at the quoting phase.
This is when I’ll usually request a deposit for the work to be undertaken before I begin.
This is the period of exploration for most of the projects I take on, whatever the industry. It includes initial research, sketches of possible designs and mood boards to gauge client opinions.
I’ll send these concepts via email or InVision and endeavour to book a face-to-face meeting to discuss next steps.
I don’t restrict feedback opportunities to these meetings; I have regular phone calls with all my clients and keep my metaphorical design door open at all times. This is the only way I can ensure that I’m delivering exactly what my clients want, every time.
These early feedback discussions are crucial to defining the direction of the rest of the project, no matter the nature of the work.
Once we’ve been through a detailed feedback phase to reach full agreement on direction, I’ll develop the concepts with an aim to present them in person before the next stage of feedback.
I’m thorough in every aspect of my work, which is why I make sure that I give my clients every opportunity to be thorough in their feedback.
You can never have too many feedback phases in a project that is subjective by its very nature. Everybody has different tastes, so I need to ensure that I’m taking every opportunity to cater to them as I go along.
Such is the diligence of my approach to design that it is usually the case that there are few amends to make at this stage, so I can be confident that what I package up has incorporated all feedback I’ve received and will meet the expectations my client set out in the first phase of our relationship.
I’ll request final approval – sometimes from superiors who might have the last say – and proceed to supply all the relevant artwork via a download link for my client. Specific file types are, of course, always available on request.
Once we’re all happy with the outcome of the project, I’ll send over an invoice with my standard terms and everything that was agreed before the work was commissioned.
Feedback and, indeed, testimonials are always welcomed and reciprocated on every project I take on – my philosophy is that there is mutual benefit in mutual agreement of the quality of all work produced.