Design Satisfaction Guarantee?

Recently, I had a conversation with a client involving a question that is actually quite common for designers to hear from their potential clients. Then today, the same question arose in a conversation with a web development partner of ours. The question led me a) to feel that the client was serious about his company’s investment and wanted to know all of his options, and b) to wonder how many designers are discussing these issues with their clients, and educating them on the design process.

So what was the question?

Simply put, “What if I do not like the design, is there a satisfaction guarantee?”

The specifics of this question were based around the number of layout options our contract includes, and what the cost would be to see additional layouts if the client did not like any of our concepts. Many of our clients have come to us with this question based on past experiences with their former design team.

So what is the answer?

Depending on the design firm, the contract the client is entering into, and the conditions surrounding the situation, the answer can vary.

The first item of concern is the contract which should outline exactly what you, the client, are paying for. The number of comprehensives you will be presented, how many revisions to those comprehensives will be allowed without incurring additional cost, and information about the final project (such as who owns the rights to the final art work, and payment terms) should be stated specifically in the contract. In general, a design firm will present a contract with a set amount of revisions which will vary depending on the firm. From there, additional comprehensives can be purchased for a specified price. This price will vary based on the complexity of the project and the specifications the client has requested.

If the designer has performed their job correctly, and the client has been open and honest about their needs and goals with the project, the design firm should be able to provide a satisfactory design within the contracted number of comprehensives.

If the client changes the scope of the project mid-design, there will most likely be additional costs involved in generating new layouts to address the change in scope. But what if the designer is simply not performing? Unfortunately, this is a common issue with the influx of amateur designers entering the field who simply do not have the training and experience needed to create effective design. Before you hire a designer:

  1. Review their portfolio and determine if they have the capability of interpreting your ideas into visual communication. Each piece should have a case study that outlines the goals of the project and what results were obtained.
  2. Speak with the design firm and ask them what their standard practices are. (How many comprehensives will they present? How will they determine the most effective communication solution for your company? How much research do they typically put into a project? What are their payment terms? Etc.) Keep in mind, a less experienced designer will typically create a “pretty picture” that is not based on any market research. While this certainly reduces the time and cost involved in the project, the final piece will provide minimal return on your investment – if any.

1 thought on “Design Satisfaction Guarantee?”

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