What clients need to know about time

Time has to be one of the most important aspects of any project and most design professionals will make all sorts of considerations to ensure deadlines are met, quite often even with the very best planning, time can slip away and dare I say, it’s the clients fault. Ofcourse we love our clients and we do our best to accommodate their every need and tolerate all sorts of things, but I do think there are a few things to consider when you are the client to ensure you don’t delay the process.

  • Understand that if you set the deadline on a project, you must either stick to the project schedule or accept that the deadline will have to move out and might incur additional costs.
  • When you agree on a timeline, know that this is scheduled time, so don’t assume that when you exceed the given timeframe, it can immediately be scheduled into the studio.
  • Some of what seems like the simplest functionality can be some of the most time-consuming tasks, don’t assume anything, when asking for additional design or functionality, know what it entails and how it will impact the projects deadline.
  • Agree to a date and time when you review work and respond. Keep it consolidated and communicate clearly to avoid further delays.
  • If a designer quotes you for a certain amount of hours, do not expect to receive your project so many hours later, most designers do multiple tasks, including running their business, so they might only spend so many hours a day on the project, so agree on a delivery date.
  • Work in phases, create milestones and always ensure you are not delaying the process.
  • Payments are not immediate, they take a couple of days, so when paying deposits, understand that your work will only commence when the money is in the bank. the same applies to final payment, if the arrangement is to be paid upon approval of the site, that is prior to the launch, the go live date will be delayed until payment is received.
  • The most common delay I experience is the MIA client who lets other things get in the way, abandoning the project and then expecting your designer to jump when finally realising the deadline is looming.
  • Another common problem is that clients decide to move deadlines without discussing this with the designer first. Just because your deadline moves out, doesn’t mean the designer can accommodate this change.
  • Have a single point of reference between your business and the designer, who consolidates feedback. Nothing delays the process more than getting multiple feedback at different times from different people.
  • The basics on any project should be some sort of timing plan, which should include time for reviews, allow the designer time to make the relevant reverts and allow for testing. Even non technical projects require testing of formats, hardware and delivery by email, sms or on disc.
  • Be transparent about how many people need to approve work and make sure you manage them and give fair timelines for feedback, designers understand this, but do not have clear foresight of how your business operates when they are building a project plan and scheduling in reviews.
  • Looking for stock photography can be really time-consuming, so you could help by asking your designer where you can go look for images to give as reference.
  • Build in buffers as often as possible, delays happen and nobody wants to miss the all important deadline, no matter who is to blame.
  • Designers don’t do open heart surgery, studios are not an ER, things can wait, you should not assume designers will work through the night or over the weekend to accommodate your needs.
  • Before committing to a project, make sure you have everything your designers require, nothing throws a spanner in the works than getting half way through the project and then handing over assets that could affect the scope of work.
  • Most brands have CI guidelines, it’s a good idea to get the latest version and understand that your designer will work with this as reference, if this changes, it impacts the project timeline.
  • New clients should schedule workshops to educate the designer about what you do, so they are well-informed because they understand your brand.
  • Unless you are a startup, there is usually lots of information from previous projects, worth sharing with your designer, so that they are better informed and do not make the same mistakes previously made.
  • IP is not free! Pay for your designers consulting time for better results.
  • If a designer has taken the time to see you, done research and sent through a proposal, respect their time by at the very least responding to them, even if it’s to turn them down.
  • Meetings, emails and phone calls are hugely disruptive, try keep them to a minimum as they waste a lot of time.
  • You are paying for a design professionals time, don’t waste time by trying to be a designer.
  • You get what you pay for, no matter which way you spin it, you are ultimately paying for a designers time. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.