Inviting the Client into the Design Process

Design works best when the creative team and the client work hand in hand. 

The real truth from a real designer.

Saturday. The most glorious day of the week. The day you look forward to most after a week of hard work. But as you look around the house, you see a pile of laundry threatening to topple over like a game of Jenga, and your Yorkie has been lost to the overgrown lawn. Unwillingly, you grab the broom and spend the entire day sweeping, dusting, washing, mowing...This was one of those Saturdays.

I was tired, overheated, and irritable. After baking in the sun for a couple of hours with the mower, I collapsed onto the front steps like an old-fashioned push puppet toy. As I wiped the salty sting of sweat from my eyes, a group of neighborhood kids rode by on their bicycles.

But they didn't ride by on the sidewalks or the road. Instead, they made tracks right through my perfectly cut and manicured lawn. I had just spent all day trimming and hedging, and these kids were just going to ride their bikes through MY yard?

I breathed deep and tried to let it go, thinking they were bound to move along soon. I looked up expectantly as I resumed my work with the weed eater. After making a few circles around our driveway, they finally took the hint and sped off down the street.

A week or so later, while I was trimming the flowers in the front yard, I noticed two young girls riding their bikes across the street. I waved and smiled, but they quickly pedaled past. To my utter horror, I heard one of them say, "That's the mean old lady, let's go!"Mean. Old. Lady.

I am generally known for being kind-hearted and patient; not to mention, I have not yet known the privilege of growing "old". But these kids had caught me on a bad day, and changing their first impression of me took a lot of time.

Design can sometimes behave this way. At times, designers hold on to a project like their life depends on it, afraid that if they let it go then someone will come along and ruin their hard work. We resist sharing our process; it can leave us feeling a bit exposed. But when it comes to design, playing things close to the vest is not a helpful practice.

Form a partnership

The role of a client is infinitely more than praising our creative ingenuity and checking the approval box. At Ten Peaks Media, we know it is essential to invite clients into our design process and not leave them waiting on the other side of an inbox. Excluding clients from the design process would leave them lacking a sense of ownership over their project in the end. Maintaining a true partnership throughout the process is crucial to success.

Trust the industry experts

The business, after all, belongs to the client. They know their business inside out, so why wouldn't we want them on our team? Clients will immediately spot obvious problems related to their trade of which we may be unaware. When we show an enthusiasm to thoroughly understand a client's business, they are more than happy to share their expertise.

Informed designed decisions

By including clients throughout the process, the thinking behind each design decision is better understood by both parties. Otherwise, we'd be left trying to win over the client with a final product in which they were completely uninvolved. They would have no idea why we picked that exact shade of green, or why that typeface is the perfect fit for their brand. This would easily lead to the worst possible outcome - going back to the very beginning.

Collaborating along the way gives the client pride in the end result, creates a product suitable to their industry, and makes getting final approval a much smoother process.

At Ten Peaks, you will not find us yelling at you to "get off our lawn!" We welcome you into the process, and look forward to creative problem-solving, together. Let's Start Something Great....Together!

By: Lauren Stewart, Creative Director - Ten Peaks Media


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10 Peaks Media
1580 South Main Street
Boerne, TX 78006