5 Design Revision Truths Designers Might Not Like

Oh, revisions. Every designer encounters them, and I believe no one really enjoys them. Almost every designer’s blog I’ve read shares the same sentiment. You invest hours or even days perfecting a design, only to have it upended.

Sometimes, someone at the client’s end, maybe a relative or a colleague who doesn’t know much about design, shares their opinion. Suddenly, your client takes it seriously and there you are, back to square one.

Designer in denial

It’s frustrating, especially when you feel these changes don’t actually improve the design, but rather cater to the quirky tastes of these non-designer committee members.

However, it’s important to realize that sometimes our perspective as designers isn’t always right. Today, let’s discuss five important points about design revisions that designers might not always want to accept.

1. Not Every Revision is Pointless

Firstly, let’s distinguish between different kinds of revisions. Yes, some are blatantly unnecessary, and it’s obvious when a client is being unreasonably demanding. If you find yourself repeatedly in such situations with the same client, my advice is to consider stepping away.

Enduring the frustration of trying to satisfy someone whose expectations are completely misaligned with your services isn’t worth it.

design revision
Who’s Holding On to The Mistakes?

Sometimes, the suggestions you receive can actually make the design better. Perhaps the font really was hard to read for the client’s audience, or the placement of those navigation buttons wasn’t the best for getting users to take action.

There’s a saying: if you can’t find the problem, it might be you.

Before you dismiss their input, consider if the client or someone else might be making a valid point.

2. Are You Really Understanding The Feedback?

Receiving many requests for changes could indicate a problem in communication. Maybe you’ve misunderstood the brief, or your client isn’t clear about what they want, or it could be a mix of both.

It’s easy to think the client doesn’t know about design, but sometimes, the issue could be a small mistake on your part. Correcting this could help align everyone’s understanding of the design.

For instance, if your client is unclear about design details, it might be because your questions were too broad. Revisit your client questionnaire (you should have one) and refine your questions to get clearer answers. Even if it seems overly detailed – if it clarifies things for both you and your client, it’s crucial for a healthy designer-client relationship.

3. Understanding Your Clients’ Needs

To reduce the number of revisions, you need to really understand what your clients want. Doing this can reduce revision requests significantly, often by 80% or more. This is easier when you focus on a specific type of client, so consider narrowing down your target market.

By specializing in serving a particular client type, like I do, you become an expert in their needs and their audience. This allows you to create designs that are more effective and profitable for them.

You should aim to do the same. Use your portfolio as a way to attract the right clients. Be very selective about the work you show online, as it influences the type of clients you attract.

Attracting the Right Projects

Imagine a scenario where a potential client sees a project in your portfolio that you didn’t enjoy and hires you based on that. The problem may not become apparent until it’s too late.

This client will expect similar work, and you’ll find yourself stuck doing projects you don’t like, wondering why you keep attracting these types of clients.

A solution is to invest time in personal projects that you’re passionate about. If you give these projects the same level of dedication as your paid work, they will start to attract clients who appreciate and want that kind of work.

4. Improving Your Sales Skills

Design is not just creativity; it’s also about selling. It’s crucial to effectively communicate and sell your ideas to clients. If you struggle with this, it’s important to develop these skills.

Selling is a part of everyday life, and everyone does it in some form. But refining specific skills like body language, tone of voice, and clear communication can be vital. There are many resources available to improve these skills, but the most critical skill for a designer might just be writing.

presenting your design

Being able to clearly articulate your project goals in writing is key. Before meeting with clients, try explaining your plan to a friend or family member. If a non-designer can understand it, your client likely will too.

5. Considering The Client Might Be Right

It’s a misconception that all clients are clueless about design. Sometimes, they have valid points. As designers, it can be frustrating when clients seem to know more about design than we do. But, being on the receiving end, arrogance or condescension from designers can be equally irritating.

Having experienced both roles, I can say that a designer’s smugness is as off-putting as a client’s ignorance, if not more. As a designer, you’re expected to know better.

The challenge is to recognize when a client’s ideas are valuable and when to assert your expertise respectfully. This is your responsibility. Without honing your design judgment, clients may dominate the process, resulting in a subpar final product.