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After freelance designing for a little while now, I've realized that sometimes the process between the designer and client goes smoothly mostly when the client has a pretty good idea of what they want and aspects they want to incorporate. However when they come to me with a vague idea and just business name, I end up going around in circles trying to come up with something they like. Make one design, they want to see something different, make another, they want to change this or that?

How do you make this process better? And how do you deal with multiple revisions?

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1. Always have a contract

The terms you will be working by, including deadlines, the number of included revisions, scope of the project, final deliverables, costs etc. should all be set out in a contract. You should have this contract read, signed and returned, ideally with a deposit, before starting any work.

There is a very helpful post about what should be in a contract here:


2. Always work from a brief

Obviously being handed a well written and thought out brief from a client is great, but it more often than not just doesn't happen. Even if your client has no idea what they want, you still need a brief. I will often have a meeting (or two) with a client, talk through any ideas or requirements they have and write my own brief from our discussions. Writing your own brief (that you can either pass on to your client to complete or write yourself from your discussions with your client) is always a good idea and will save you a lot of hassle down the line.

Some more information on writing a good brief can be found here:

These initial discussions are also a good time to set expectations and talk through things that will be in your contract (because no matter how many times they're told to, nobody reads contracts).


3. Price accordingly

If your client insists on letting you work from an open brief—price the project accordingly. In most cases I set a fixed project price, but working from an open brief with minimal input will mean more work. Extra revisions, more consultation and sometimes even starting from scratch. If that is the case you need to set an hourly price. You can use a combination of pricing models (i.e set a fixed price for a set amount of revisions or hours then an hourly rate for anything extra)

Some relevant posts on pricing:

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As CAI suggests, 'price accordingly' and protect yourself from the endless revision cycle. I usually include one or two revisions in the initial quote, and state clearly that extra revisions are charged at an hourly rate. I find this usually forces clients to be more clear in the changes they require, and not drag out the process.

If you're talking about logo design, I find that clients can be easily swayed by their own subconscious colour preferences in the early design stages, so I often present my initial designs in black and white or grayscale. Once the logo itself is chosen, I present colour options. This way the client isn't dismissing a great design because they don't like the colour. This works for me, but everyone has their own ways of working.

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I know this is a little late for this post, but as a newish designer, the below step is working very well for me.

Before I even think about a design, I meet with the client for a long, thorough brainstorming session. On their premises if possible, minimum 2 hours.

It's amazing how well this works. During this meeting, we answer most of the questions for a creative brief, look at possible stock images, etc. By the time we're done, the questions are answered and we have a specific path we both feel will work well.

It's an incredible timesaver, and gives us time to build a cordial working relationship.

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