One of the most annoying situations for a designer is when a client asks for revision after revision. A small change is okay, but when followed by a series of changes, it can drain your energy, block your creativity or rouse mean thoughts towards your client.
1. Involve your client from the start
This is the most important. Get the client into the loop early on. Make sure you understand what he/she needs and wants in the design. Discuss ideas first and agree on the basics. If you do a good job at this even before showing a single design, you’ll greatly reduce the revisions later on.
2. State your policy on revisions
You may say something like this in your initial emails or in the contract: minor changes are expected and acceptable and major (or lots of minor) changes will mean additional charges. Letting the client know upfront what to expect will discourage that impulse to play designer (“can you make that bigger? “…put that a little higher”, “how about rainbow colors?”…)
3. Do your best work even if it’s the first draft
I’m not referring to those cases where showing sketches or wireframes are appropriate. This is after you’ve agreed on the best concepts and are now preparing the initial drafts. It may only be drafts but always think of them as the final artwork, that is, give it your best already. Sometimes I get the feeling that something isn’t quite right and yet I ignore it. Usually, it’s what the client calls out to be fixed. Don’t ignore that feeling. It’s your design “conscience” speaking.
Always have a reason behind every design element (why those colors, what’s the line for, why is it positioned that way, etc.). If your reasoning is sound, you can stand by your work when the client wants something changed and you disagree. The likelihood of your client agreeing with you increases and you might not have to change a thing.
4. Advise the client to thoroughly study the draft and list all changes needed
The tedium of: change this one thing – save – attach to email – send email – await response – change this other thing – save and so on… can irritate even the most patient designer. Ask the client to note all comments and changes and even think on it for a day or two before sending you one email or document containing all changes.
What are your thoughts on revisions and how do you handle them? I’d love to hear it.