How to Be the Perfect Client, So Your Designer Goes the Xtra Mile for You


  • When you engage a designer, you enter into a partnership.
  • Your designer will go the extra mile for you if you are the perfect client, just as you should be willing to go the extra mile for her if she is the perfect designer.


  • Trust is earned: on both sides. Trust, like love, is something that cannot be replaced with any amount of paperwork, or legal safeguards.
  • The first thing that you need to establish trust is the ability to openly communicate.
  • For that, you need respect, so choose a designer who you can respect, and who respects you.


  • Questions regarding a designer’s proficiency should be answered before engaging them.
  • Get references from friends and associates for designers whose work you like.
  • Search on LinkedIn for designers, and comb through their references; you can see what their former clients think of working with them.
  • Do not try to get designers to work for free — on spec or otherwise. It isn’t fair, and won’t guarantee you great work anyway. Besides, it’s bad karma — you like to get paid, don’t you?


  • You need to find out if you can communicate with them.
  • See if they can show you why they do things.
  • Ask them about their work to see if they can educate you on good design.
  • A good designer should be willing to design for YOU, not for awards or for themselves.


  • If you’ve hired a designer, then you must trust their design judgment. Don’t second-guess them, but don’t be afraid to ask why they have done something a certain way.
  • You should expect to pay up-front at least one-third of the estimated costs. Many experienced designers divide their projects in three phases, and charge in thirds, with each third due before commencing work on that phase.
  • Changes from you are always extra. Be willing to pay for your mistakes and expect the designer to correct anything that they did wrong.

If you have followed guidelines such as these to hire and work with your designer, you will have a partnership that will go the distance, because your designer will want to work with you again, and you will find it a delight to work with them.

A good designer can do so much more for you than giving you a great design, they can help you brand your product, communicate your message, and, best of all, establish your credentials in your field.

Copyright 2010 Aliyah Marr

Creative commons copyright — you may quote this article as long as you include a link back to this blog and credit the author.


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