What do clients expect from graphic designers?

By María Juliana Gabás de Buenos Aires city, Argentina

Translated by Lucila Agustina Norry

This article arises from listening to various clients and colleagues commenting on their dissatisfaction with their design agencies or graphic designers.

The causes are multiple and I am sure that this material will generate conflict between clients and professionals who are engaged in graphic and web pages design.

The origin of the complaints I’ve listened to and I highlight is the fact that various clients’ needs are not clearly stated between the parties.

I share some of them and I invite you to reflect together on them:

  • “My designer doesn’t generate ideas”,
  • “I have to do what I want them to do and then I have to send it to them”.
  • “They take longer than the agreed term”
  • “I am not convinced by their proposals”
  • “I do not feel that they interpret what I need”.
  • “I feel that I’m just another client in the agency and I do not feel they give importance to my order”.
  • “They are more interested in money than in providing a good service”.
  • “They ask for an advance payment at the beginning of work and end up collecting the full amount before completing it”.
  • “They use very few design tools and do not satisfy all my needs”.
  • “They do not give me the attention I need” etc… etc.
  • “I need to have a web page with a piece expressing a health environment and I only get colors which do not match with such an environment”.


Under these circumstances, I suggest clients should take the following actions:

Learning about the background and previous clients of the graphic professional.

Asking for recommendations.

  • Making weekly meetings, proposing a work program, objectives and topics to be discussed.
  • Checking the professional qualifications, their skills and added value.
  • Training the designer or choosing a professional related to the environment they use to design the different pieces (health, social responsibility, events, natural environment, among others).
  • Learning the language of designers so the interpretation of the client’s need can be clearly understood.
  • Stating at the beginning of work the amount and method of payment.
  • I recommend to designers the following actions:
  • Be clear when setting the limitations of your services.
  • State in your proposals the tools you use and what it is included in the budget.
  • If you are not sure about taking the client’s work, don’t do it!!
  • Admit when you do not fully understand what the clients want and what they really need.
  • Provide added value. This means you should suggest actions which surprise your client.
  • Devote time to meetings and seek for the best time and space to “Get to know each other”
  • Take training courses in marketing, publicity and service quality and management issues if you will be engaged in the business world.
  • Define your target and try to focus on it.
  • Try to keep the same behavior. Before, during and after the work.
  • Keep a fluent communication with your client.


Language as a tool of mediation

It is essential that the client understands what “a piece” is, what “tag line” means and other key words which enable the client to understand the designer and, inversely, the designer has to learn concepts related to the client’s target.

For example, the designer works in creating pieces on environmental social responsibility of a food company. It is important that the designer knows the company policy, the origin of its logo colors, the concept of environmental social responsibility, among others.

All the above mentioned can vary according to the type of client (advertising agency, entrepeneur, Small-sized companies, multinational, NGO, others) and professional graphic service (design agency, graphic designer, graphic designer with web and marketing knowledge, etc).

I invite you to share your experience on the topic with me and reflect together on the proposed items.





Translator’s profile:

Lucila Agustina Norry es Traductora Pública en idioma inglés egresada de la Universidad de Buenos Aires. Se dedica a la capacitación en idioma inglés de negocios y con objetivos específicos, principalmente inglés técnico, económico y legal, tanto en instituciones públicas (BCRA, CNV, Aerolíneas Argentinas) como en empresas privadas de primera línea. Brinda servicios de traducción en los pares de idiomas inglés <>español de documentos Comerciales (Contratos, actas, minutas, informes, estados contables), documentos legales (demandas, sentencias, escritos judiciales), documentos Públicos (Certificados, Diplomas, C.V.), documentos técnicos (manuales, informes técnicos) y sitios web.


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