The 55 secret Rules in Design and Advertising: Business Relationships Part 3

The 55 secret Rules in Design and Advertising – Part 5: Business Relationships 3

  • do not rush through the presentation. Remember that this is the first time your client sees your work. Give him time to process what you came up with.
  • Spend more time on the significant design than on insignificant ones. Give your client the chance to familiarize with the design you want him to pick, but
  • do not dismiss the insignificant designs too quickly. Let him have time to study them, too. If you need an emergency break (maybe he favors one of them), you could point out similarities with competitors and lead his thoughts to the significant design (we took it to the next level in this design, it was a starting point for this one, this is a rather generic design)
  • The first time you should ask for your clients opinion is after showing him the best design. This is the one you want him to choose. do not let his mind wander by asking him to tell you what he thinks about the insignificant designs. Ask him about the significant one instead.
  • After he has seen them all, take the second best design and place it next to the best design. You then explain the benefit is of the latter, pointing out what makes it significant. Limit the evaluation and given choices by only comparing it to the second best design.

All going well, and with a little bit of practice, you should be able to steer your client into the direction of choice.

For more about selling your work to clients, we have a very interesting post coming up next week you should check out. For now, let’s move on with our next rule of Business Relationships:

4. do not be too shy to promote yourself

As a business person, you offer a certain service for a fee. If you are good at what you do, and you feel comfortable enough to show it (off), why not take the next step?

Advertise yourself! do not be afraid to practice self-promotion. If you’ve followed this post until now, you should know how to present your work to your client. it is not that big of a jump to present yourself to potential new clients.

As a designer, what counts is your work. You have to produce quality work in order to be recognized. And as a freelancer, it is in your hands to promote yourself.

There are a couple of classic ways to do so:

  • Create a portfolio
  • Create a website or blog
  • Get listed in local business directories and public institutions
  • Participate in contests and public tenders
  • Get connected with other designers and form a network
  • Apply for freelance work at advertising and design agencies in your area

The 55 secret Rules in Design and Advertising: Business Relationships

This is the fifth installment in the 55 secret Rules in Design and Advertising. So far, I have covered the following parts:

  • Part 1: Basic Rules
  • Part 2: Rules of Composition
  • Part 3: Rules of Workflow and Getting it Done
  • Part 4: Rules of Personal Matter

Set 5: The Rules of Business Relationships

In the 5th and final part of the 55 secret rules in design and advertising, we will deal with the part where you have to generate an income from your work. it is a fact that a designers job comprises more than just design. You know this, especially if you are a freelancer. As for thrilling experiences, if handling clients wasn’t a part of your job, you’d have to start getting into free-fall parachuting instead.

Accordingly, our first rule of business relationships is the following.

1. Your client always knows everything better

I want a flower. Show me a flower and I’ll want a tree. Give me the tree and I’ll ask for a river. Bring the river and I’ll demand a bucket to water the forest I wanted in the first place.

– Your Client

I’d like to bring up your neighbors sassy troublemaker. The one who is 3.5 feet tall, usually smashes your front windows and spray-paints your wife’s tulips. Even though you might agree with him that the tulips look a lot better with silver and toxic green stripes, and even if this might turn out to be a key experience for the kid, who might become a great graffiti artist one day – you very much object to it because these are your tulips. Sorry – even worse! They are your wife’s tulips.

If we project this scenario onto your situation as a designer, we could say that to your client, you are that kid. You spray-painted his wife’s tulips. In addition, you even dare to speak up and defend your art instead of doing exactly what he asked you to do. The point is, because you are the designer, and your client is – well, your client, you have to skillfully balance his wishes – and his needs. You have to prove that your approach is the professional one and, if so, that his idea of an approach is a bunch of crap (regarding that, also read Your Clients Bad Taste). Convince your client by acting professionally and embodying who you are – the designer, not a graffiti kid.

All of this, of course, under the condition that your client is new to design and that you are good at what you do. If your client has experienced working with design professionals before, your job might be easier.

The 55 secret Rules in Design and Advertising: Composition Part 3

3. The Rules of Odds and Space

These two rules are best explained in reference to each other. They state that an artwork is more interesting and appealing to the eye when

  1. a) displaying an odd number of objects – in contrast to picturing an even number of objects, and when
  2. b) there is room for the eye to breathe and add its own context.

The rule of odds is quite interesting; it’s not too well known but it does apply. It may be because when you have an odd number of objects, there is always one in the middle (of the objects, not necessarily of the image), adding a sort of frame, or comfort, to the artwork. We can find this out by taking a look at these ads for Harvey Nichols:

You can also see the rule of odds in the following ad; it doesn’t only apply to the whole image, but also to sections of the artwork:

The second part of this rule, the rule of space, states that when you have, say, a picture of a man who is looking to the upper right, you should place him (as the focal point) to the lower left and leave space where his eyes are pointing at. This, as a result, leaves room for the viewer to put their own imagination to work. This rule, if used properly, is of great importance in photography, where you have a greater need of creating an inspiring environment. In advertising, on the other hand, you don’t always want to leave too much room for imagination – you rather want to control what the viewer is imagining.

These ads for Eurostar make quite a good use of space:

Now, that we came this far, I think it’s time for a coffee break. Bookmark this page and grab a coffee.

Back? Let’s go on with the next rule of composition