Proactively managing the design revision process and teaching clients to provide good design feedback reduces revisions and protects profit margins.
Design revisions are what originally drove me to search for a content management solution and what led me to WordPress. For a graphic designer, web designer, or web developer, revisions are the worst part of the design process.
No matter how good the strategy is… No matter how hard you work on a concept… the client will always have opinions. They may not agree with your design decisions or like your work, and they may question your choices and want to make changes — and as your paying client, they have that right. The trick is making sure the client understands why each design decision was made and teaching them how to provide useful feedback.
Your client isn’t a designer. They didn’t go to design school and earn a degree in graphic design. They haven’t been working as a designer for years. They don’t build websites or work with designers everyday. And, they most definitely are not trained to give useful critiques of design work. This is why designers receive unclear, unhelpful feedback like:
- Can you make the logo bigger?
- I don’t like this color of blue.
- Can you make everything bigger?
- Can you make it pop?
- I want there to be more movement.
Revisions are a normal part of every design process. When you proactively manage the revision process, helping the client learn how to provide good design feedback, you can reduce the number of revision requests and protect your profit margin. The easiest way to do this is to provide prompts that direct their attention and lead them through the design review.
Sample Revision Preparation Email
Before I present the initial design concepts to a client and explain the strategy behind each design decision, I send them an email to prep them for revisions. This email gives them permission to be honest about what they don’t like or want to change, tells them what feedback we want, and provides tips on how to explain what they want effectively.
Here’s a sample email template that prepares a client for the revision phase of a design project:
SUBJECT: Design drafts: How to give helpful feedback
As our team works on your new site design, I want to share how important the design revision process is. Our goal is to ensure we create a site that is a perfect representation of your brilliance and professionalism, and a memorable, impressive resource of value and expertise for your audience.
As much as we want you to love your site, we want your ideal clients to connect with it and like it even more.
Web design is a combination of science and art. It is subjective. The design concepts we present are our best interpretation of the information, ideas, wishes, desires, facts, and feelings we have discussed, and the culmination of our years of experience and expertise.
To make sure the result is a site you love that fully embodies your brand, message, and mission, we need you to be completely honest with your feedback and be nice about it.
- Tell us if you love it. We really love that
- Tell us if you hate it. We’ll be bummed, but it’s okay, you won’t hurt our feelings
- Share what you like and don’t like. The more specific you can be, the better because generalizations can be hard to interpret and we can’t read your mind, although that would be awesome
- Let me know how different design elements make you feel
- Share any ideas or suggestions you may have and ask for what you want
- Show us examples of what you’re talking about if you can
Creating your site is a partnership and with honest, open, clear communication, we can ensure that we’re all on the same page, moving in the right direction, and working toward the same goal. If at any time you have questions, feel stuck, or would like help, please reach out! Call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX or email [EMAIL ADDRESS].
Best wishes —
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