The Team over at Hiive have asked me to have a look back at my career so far and pass on the best tips, tricks and advice that I've picked up along the way. Hiive is a creative networking site for the creative industries where you can showcase your portfolio, collaborate, learn new skills and find new work.
It’s the second day back at the studio/office and since the holidays I've been bombarded with client revisions. Basically a lot of changes need to be made to some of my logo designs for my clients. For some, the client revisions can be the worst part of the job because they have to undergo the scrutiny of others about their hard work. In my first year of this job, I felt the same way - I used to try and justify my work to myself rather than actually being attentive to what the client wanted or expected.
I’ve been in the Logo Design trade for the past three years. That doesn’t sound a lot but ever since my Youtube channel started to grow - so did my client base. I think the amount of work that I’ve done in my career has forced me into being attentive to the client’s revision.
Experiences With Client Revisions
As I’ve said I’ve not had a lot of time experience but I have had a lot of experience within revisions. Mainly because when I first started my career I made a lot of mistakes with my designs and communications with the client. This wasn’t because I was bad at designing, but because I was inexperienced with how act and react to a revision of my work. I used to believe that I would get the work done (in my case: logo design) and the client would love what I had made them and they would pay me and we’ll all be happy. I was totally wrong.
Revisions Aren’t Bad - But Good
Something I’ve been seeing over the past few years is that client revisions actually work! We have to be honest with ourselves, some designers don’t think that revisions are good because it means you have to spend more time on the same project, takes longer to get paid and what you have to change in your design isn’t going to look as good as it did before. I used to have this feeling towards revisions myself, but now I fully understand that revisions are a great thing for a designer or freelancer. It gives you the chance to better your work and yourself.
Being in the creative industry is one massive problem-solving business. We’re here to solve this problem: How to communicate clearly through the use of images, shapes, typography etc. Our Purpose is to solve a problem, and when the client thinks that you have to change some parts of the design, then they’re helping you solve that problem!
A lot of designers (including myself) fall into the trap of taking revisions personally. Sometimes when I’ve worked on something that I’ve really enjoyed the client will normally want something within the design changed. It’s rarely a major change but I still sometimes get hurt that they didn’t like what I worked on. The only reason I can can understand for this feeling is because I’ve put my personality into the design, so part of that design has a piece of me; therefore I sometimes feel like the client doesn’t like something to do with me. This leads to being defensive. From this I’ve learn that it’s okay they don’t like certain parts of my design - as simple as that. I bet a lot of designers think this:
“The client doesn’t know what looks good. It’s my job. I’m the professional so I’m right.”
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because your job is something you’re good at, that it instantly makes you right. This falls down to objective and subjective thinking. Graphic design (especially logo design) is very subjective.
“subjective: based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions”
Your results can be subjective, there isn’t any formula. You’re ultimate purpose for being commissioned is to make the client happy and to make something look good to the client.
How Do I Stop Resenting Revisions?
This isn’t the easiest questions to answer, and believe me I’ve had this question asked by myself more than others have asked me. Keep in mind that what works for me doesn’t always work for everyone else.
The way I personally stopped hating revisions was to change my perception of them. A lot of designers talk about revisions in a resentful way.
“It reminds me of unnecessary homework I used to get in school.”
My perception of revisions is having an opportunity to make something look better. I see it as a challenge to do amendments that will challenge my ability and emotions towards a design. I also see it as a way to show the client that I really do care about their view on the design; whether they’re happy with what I’ve done for them.
In conclusion to this (maybe hard to follow) blog post:
If you hate revisions of your work, train yourself to think in a positive manner about it. Don’t fall into the pitfall of resentment because this will make your working life and your design boring.
Look and see all the good things about getting a revision:
Remember to check out Hiive if you're looking to kickstart a creative career or make new connections.