Clients We Love To Work With
Our client relationships seem to permeate nearly every decision we make. It may seem counterintuitive to the uninitiated (get the work that pays the bills, right?), but when mentors and seasoned industry veterans back our logic, we end up feeling pretty good about it.
We try to make every client relationship into a partnership. We’ve had the most success with clients when they treat each other the same way. Here are a few of our favorite long-term partners we’ve collaborated with (and learned a ton from) over the years.
TRUST & COLLABORATION
We talk a lot about how our best work days seem to stem from work done with clients that are communicative, open to change, willing to try new things, and expect us to have the same attitudes. We polled our team members about what most excited them in working with clients. Unsurprisingly, the common denominators were trust, collaboration, and a spirit of partnership. Here’s how our team described our favorite clients:
- They’re excited about our designs, excited to collaborate, and timely.
- They’ve always seemed to value our time, and recognize that we value theirs.
- They’re generally very trusting of us when we have the wheel, but not without helpful input that makes them happier with the end-product.
- They were easy to work with, collaborative, and trusted us as the professionals to do the design work.
- They’d give us the parameters and trusted us to make it look good. It felt more like a partnership, less like a do-what-you’re-told kind of relationship.
- We’ve really appreciated how they treated us as a team member and valued our input as much as their own plans.
- We’ve found them to be a genuine partner.
We want to think about how clients treat us, but are we talking about how we work, too? We try (really try) to be conscientious about being a true design partner to our clients.
Here’s what our team had to say about our side of the equation:
- We try to reiterate what we’ve heard consistently, so the client can hear what they’ve said reflected back to them. This helps clients (1) know we’ve been listening, and (2) gives them a chance to hear where they may have mis-said, or to say “Now that you say it like that, I’d like to go a different direction”.
- We think of ourselves as an actual design partner in the client’s endeavor, and use terms like “we” and “our” and sort of adopt their mission and their thinking. This puts us in the right headspace and signals to them that we’re all in.
- We strive to figure out the actual problem a client is trying to solve. Sometimes they come to us with a symptom of the problem, thinking that’s what they’re trying to solve, but it’s our job to drill down deeper and get to the root of what they’re really trying to tackle.
- It’s a combination of listening and being skeptical of what the client is asking. It’s a balancing act of taking their feedback and direction and implementing it, without letting them go in the wrong direction, whether that be a minor design revision or a big concept project like creating a brand identity.
- We never want to say, “We can’t do that,” or “That will take too much time.” Instead, we always try to creatively explore what options we have with the given time and budget.