Design presentations used to be made in person, art mounted on boards and accompanied by a detailed rationale. Concepts had reason and were sold to the client so that they understand the nuance and logic of a concept, beyond just liking it or not. What designers work on in the studio – which can be many different ideas – is the basis for what’s eventually presented, but should not be seen outside. The designer and/or creative director must review all ideas and choose the one that suits the clients needs best, then develop that version for the presentation.
Then, as the professionals, we make the presentation with the recommendation and justification for what is best for that client. Confident that what is about to be presented will answer the clients requirements.
These days many designers create numerous rough designs and email them all to the client to make choices without attempting to inform them on which is the best and the reasons why. Skipping narrowing down the options and presenting the rationale often leads the client to feel the need to direct the designer, ask for many more combinations, tell them what is good or bad and make decisions that affect the outcome of the design.
What’s Wrong With the Client as Art Director?
Clients don’t usually know much about why a design works or why it should be executed in a particular way, or how to avoid letting personal taste intrude on decisions. It easily leads to numerous rounds and a design with what they admire as their personal stamp, but which may well make the design not right for the company and its audience. They just don’t get the great results they could if left up to the experts.
Imagine if a lawyer was defending you in court and sent six documents and said, “Here are six versions of how I can present your case, take some time to review them and let me know which you would prefer.” Then you to go back to him and say “take sections from three of the documents and and present another version or two.”
The answer would undoubtedly be “I can do what you are asking but I can no longer stand behind the outcome.” That is that what we would expect from a lawyer since we know little about law.
Trusting the Professionals
Being a good designer takes more than knowing how to operate a computer. It takes talent, knowledge and skill. Experienced designers know what makes for good, effective business-building design! That’s why the designer has to sell the merits of creating the right fit for the future of the company not the individual. By telling the client what it takes, and presenting what the designer believes is the best option, taking client comments into consideration without letting personal ideas over-ride good design that fits the need, builds confidence and rapport between the client and the designer.
This kind of great working relationship often starts with a presentation made in person, or at least by Skype, with emailing a fine option for finalizing the project.