Last updated on April 19th, 2021
Clients are usually a tough set of people whom graphic designers find harder to convince about a design’s worth for their business. Most such clients are unsure of a design shown to them as they get easily confused. Sometimes, they are unable to clearly tell what exactly they need from a design. But after having some insight into the psyche of their clients, the designers can convince them about the usefulness of design work. How? Designhill conducted a session to address the issue where the brand identity expert Sophia Georgopoulou advised graphic designers on how to deal with clients’ psyche. Have a look!
Graphic designers are creative people who know how to do a design as per a client’s initial brief. But after completing a design, designers struggle to convince the clients that the design will work for their businesses. That is because most clients have little or no understanding of designs.
So, while presenting design work to the clients, winning their trust is perhaps the most difficult task for designers. But, they can convince the clients if they can read such clients’ minds well.
To address the issue, Designhill, the leading creative marketplace, conducted an AMA session with the well-known brand identity designer Sophia Georgopoulou. The session was on 4th November 2020 on the topic: Decoding Clients Psyche To Deliver Winning Designs.
- How to get the correct brief from the client and understand it?
- The importance of research in Brand Identity Process
- Understanding Feedback (the difference between bad & negative feedback)
- The Significance of Shape & Color Psychology
- How to convince a ‘tough’ client to get your design ideas?
Sophia shared her experience with the design community on how to get the precise brief from the client and how to understand it. She gave insight on the importance of research in the brand identity process and why feedback is crucial. Other issues she delivered on included the significance of shape and color psychology and how to convince a tough client over your creative design ideas.
Sophia Georgopoulou is a globally known brand identity designer and specializes in logo design, packaging, visual communication, and corporate identity. She has been awarded services in this field. Hailing from Athens GR. She is specialized in the fields of branding, she has a rich 10 years of experience working with local and global clients.
In this post, we have shared the session’s video and transcript in the form of Q/As where you will be learning everything about how to deal with client’s psyche and win their trust.
Transcript: Follow These Insights To Deal With Clients’ Psyche To Win Their Trust For Your Design Works
Designhill: What are some of the most important questions that one should ask the client before starting any design work?
Sophia Georgopoulou: Usually, to make a good design work, you need to ask your client to give you the brief. I usually work upon a brief. If I do not get that, I try to find a way to get the questions and their answers from my client.
The right questions that you need to ask include:
- What is the company’s or the client’s mission?
- What are their goals?
- How do they position themselves on the market?
- What is the philosophy of the company?
- What are their promises and their target audience?
- Where is the audience that they want to address themselves to?
- Who are their competitors?
- Where do they sell their product?
- What is their unique selling point?
- Why should I choose this brand, comparing it to another brand?
Also, I ask them to send me a mood board. Where do they want their visual identity to be? What are examples that they like or they do not like in terms of a logo? What are general visuals that will help me to understand their vision? And, and another thing that I do is I try to ask them to give me words that describe them. What will be five words that they describe them in the next five years? Who is their ideal client, and what is that client’s persona? I need to ask these questions to make sure that I design something good for them. They can have success through my design.
Designhill: How do you handle a situation where clients do not know what they want?
Guide your clients
Sophia Georgopoulou: The clients usually do not know what they want, but your job is to guide them. Do not get offended, if they do not like your work. You need to find out what is their goal by asking them the correct questions. It is better that you help them understand what they want. You should ask them to give you the reasons why they do not like that design. Help them to explain to you the right reasons.
If still, they do not know what they want, then I do not know if you should work for them. Because at the end of the day, you get paid for something and to give a solution. If they cannot find a solution in any way then maybe you should stop the collaboration.
Ask clients for mood words
They should explain what they like or why they do not like it. Ask them to give you irrelevant subjects, like mood words, images to help you, or maybe you should do. Maybe this is something you should do to help them to understand what they want. If they do not know what they want, maybe they are not ready to do this project with you. Or, they are not ready to change something that they think they need. They need to gain your trust.
If they gain your trust, they will like something. After nine years of experience as a freelancer, if I do some rounds of presentations, and I cannot communicate with a client, I stop. Maybe it is the chemistry, maybe we do not get along.
Designhill: What are your suggestions to those people who want to venture out into the graphic design industry?
It is your profession
Sophia Georgopoulou: I think they need to study graphic design as this is not a hobby. It is a profession, and you want to get paid for this. You want to have a living through this occupation. They need to see first that they love it. You need to be a creative person to follow this equation.
Also, you have to do some basic studies in a good university. Or, take online courses from good universities and good tutors, not anybody. Also, read a lot. I do not know, I mean, it’s not something that anyone can do. You need to be correct, have certain education to be able to be helpful to your clients.
Designhill: What is a subtle way of saying no?
Sophia Georgopoulou: I will tell you my personal opinion, this is not a general thing. You can say no except if it’s your mom or your sister, or if you want to do charity work. I do not do things for free, get paid for my work, and you should do the same. Because this is the only way that people will respect your work.
For example, if you go to the dentist, do you ask them to do your teeth for free? No, you pay them. It’s the same thing in graphic designing. It is your work. But people think that the designer likes to do the work as a hobby so they expect yes all the time. Since it is a profession, you should say no when you want to.
Designhill: How do you price your work?
Do not sell your work cheap
Sophia Georgopoulou: You set your price yourself. To do so, set your price according to the market, and also what you think your work is worth. I will not tell you how much I get paid. But, I tell you that I am quite expensive. But It depends on the project. For me, it is a different thing to design a logo for a friend of mine, who does handmade jewelry. She sells them through her Instagram account. It is not a big company. Also, it is different to charge for a logo design for a big company. You need to see what is the target market, and also be competitive.
I charge, for example, as per project. It depends on the project. Now, that we can work from all over the world, people can get connected through the internet. I have clients that are not based in Greece only. Now I have them from the US and Europe.
Make sure that you ask for a deposit before you deliver any proposals. To me, this is very important. You gain respect in that way as you show them that you are professional. Ask for a deposit and get paid the day that you deliver the project. This way, you keep yourself safe from not getting paid.
Designhill: What are your strategies to find clients and how do you go about that?
Have a good portfolio
Sophia Georgopoulou: First, you need to have a website or a very good portfolio. Show your best works and the words that describe you as a person, not just your skills. It all depends on how you want to position yourself in the market. For example, do you show them that you are a creative person and you can adapt to many different fields? Or, do you want to show them that your skills in Photoshop are great?
Tell them about the things you like to do and you are good at. Share that and your work on some social platforms such as Behance portfolio. Or, create a website. You can create a paid Facebook page or a page on Instagram. That’s a very powerful tool at the moment. Do not be afraid of sharing your work. And know that people who like your work will find you.
Designhill: How many pieces of work should be in your portfolio, is there a limit?
Sophia Georgopoulou: It depends on how many things you have created so far that you feel proud of to show. Show them in your portfolio. It does not mean that it has to be one. It should not be one work because people cannot understand what you can do. So, include as many designs as you feel comfortable with, not just one or two.
Designhill: What is your strategy to find clients on social media?
Sophia Georgopoulou: I do not have a specific strategy and I am not a social media expert. When I have something to say or to show, I just show it. And then I try to put useful hashtags, and under general hashtags to describe the project as much as I can.
Every time I complete a project, I make a good photo shoot or nice mock-ups to present it in a good way. Then, I put that on my website, and on Behance. Then, I share these photos also on my Facebook page and Instagram. But, I do not have a specific strategy.
Designhill: What does the research process look like before working on a new design concept?
Sophia Georgopoulou: I start looking at the competition at companies or bureaus. For example, if I design something for jewelry, I see what other logos exist for jewelry. How they express their identities if I like them or not. What things I should use and not use. I try to get inspiration from what already exists in the competition. Also, I open my design books. I go through Pinterest and I generally look all over the internet to get inspiration. This is the way I start every project.
Designhill: What is the significance of shapes and color psychology and designs?
Achieve the desired response
Sophia Georgopoulou: As graphic designers, we want to achieve the right response and emotions to the potential of the target audience. We want to use the correct shapes and colors. This is the way that we create powerful messages. What we want is the right response from the client. We want the design to be successful. For example, let us start with shapes, which are circular, rectangular, and oval shapes. They connote positive responses, they are more friendly and express community feelings.
Take for example the rings of the Olympic Games or the Ford logo. They are circular to connote stability and friendliness. Also, the color, for example, that your silver color is to present themselves as more premium, elegant, and class. Each color has positive and negative connotations. Similarly, red is very common in the fast-food industry. It shows something positive, but also can be negative such as in stop signs on the streets.
Rectangular or triangular shapes show professionalism, science, and religion. Triangle shapes especially show strength and power. For example, vertical lines are more aggressive and masculine lines as compared to horizontal lines. Curvy lines can have a more feminine expression of rhythm.
Use colors carefully
When using colors, be extra careful. For instance, the yellow color is a bright color in most cultures. There, it suggests cheerful, playful, and fun feelings. But in China, yellow has vulgar connotations. So, consider where the target audience is and who is your client before choosing the right color.
Similarly, white shows cleanliness and purity, and it can be used as a bridal in weddings. But in Japan, it is the color of mourning. Therefore, make sure that you pay attention to the right colors and the right shapes according to the brief.
Consider color psychology
You should also take into account how color can affect our psychology. Let us say in medicine blue is the color that you get sleeping pills or tranquillity pills. Red can be used in self-boosting and energizing pills. Now, imagine that the logo of McDonald’s was in blue. Then, the consumers would feel maybe the food is not fresh or it may be dangerous. So, we do not use colors because we like them. We use colors because they should express what they should express.
Designhill: How do you deal with your creative block when you know new ideas are coming in and throwing in?
Sophia Georgopoulou: I take a break and I walk out my dog. Usually, I walk for 24 hours. If I am on a creative block, I just stop there. Because even if an idea will come, it will be a forced idea. I give myself space and time to see the project again with a fresh eye. So, take a break.
Designhill: How do you react when a client insists on something that you find bad for a brand?
Keep client’s goal in mind
Sophia Georgopoulou: First of all, you must have the client’s business goal in mind. You design for him if he wants you to do something specific. I mean, I do that, but I try to convince him that this is not correct. I try, explaining to him in every project and every concept, why this is correct or incorrect.
If the client is stubborn, there are two ways either you do it, or you insist that this is something wrong. You can refuse to do that project that way. For example, I denied doing something that I did not want to do. And or I do it but I do not sign it. I try to convince my client that what he says is wrong. It would not get success from what he has in mind.
I try to convince them and ask them why they wanted it like that. What are the reasons behind that? I try to help them.
Designhill: How many designs do you present to the client?
Sophia Georgopoulou: Usually, I present three different proposals or different concepts. I do not think presenting just one proposal is right. This is because the client may not like that one design proposal. But if you present at least three proposals, you have something to talk about. Also, they have to explain why they do not like any of the three proposals. You can also find a way of where the client is, based on the proposals that you send.
Designhill: How do you go about presenting your designs and what is the information you should include in your proposals when it comes to the presentation?
Sophia Georgopoulou: Well, it depends on the project and its needs. For instance, it’s a packaging project that I need to design, let us say a bottle of wine. I present my label on a bottle so that the client can imagine how it is going to look. In every proposal, I have an initial text before the image to explain my idea, to sell my work. I either do a presentation to my client or if I have to send a PDF, I have a covering that describes the project and idea.
Designhill: What is the best piece of advice that you have received as a designer that you would like to share with the community?
Tell what you know the best
Sophia Georgopoulou: The best advice I received as a designer is that I speak about what I know the best. I should share and put my style on my work. Do not be afraid to share the work with the world. And, but everything that we do, this was from the previous boss, Everything that we do has to have a reason behind it.
We are not artists, we are graphic designers. What we design is for the benefit of the client to sell. Or, it is to have success in his profession, and we do not design for us. You should have your style and consider what you do as something serious. Also, have the end benefit of your client in mind. But try to put your style on this, but for the benefit of someone else.
These are the key suggestions that Sophia Georgopoulou offered to the graphic designers who find it difficult to win clients’ trust when presenting a design to them. But you should consider what works well for you in making your clients understand the usefulness of your work.
If as a graphic designer you are looking for a wide range of design works, then Designhill is your best bet. At this creative marketplace, you will find plenty of design assignments in the form of design contests.
You can work for many clients in this way by joining their contests to create logos and designs. So, get started now to work and win prizes.
Graphic designers need to have some insight at least into the minds of clients. Many clients need extra convincing by the designers over a design’s worth for their brand. Brand identity designer Sophia advises designers to keep client’s business goals in mind. Make your client understand the value of your design for business and extract some mood words, images that they have in mind. Win their trust also by having your design portfolio with great works.