How to be a GREAT Client

It starts with trust. To do great work, a web designer must be informed. We must know everything; a client’s business, from sales and margins to strategies and plans. It’s important to treat us as a strategic partner—an extension of your marketing department—and not just a vendor.

Have faith that we know what we’re doing. You hired us because you were impressed with our good work for other clients. If you want the same you have to give us room to do our thing.

We need your time. If your company was facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit that could forever alter its ability to operate profitably, you’d make time for the lawyers. A website isn’t a lawsuit, but the stakes are the same in terms of potential impact. Don’t just hire a designer and expect it to perform magic. Be willing to do the heavy lifting from your end to ensure it’s informed, prepared, and set up for success.

Be open and honest with us, communicating your needs and goals clearly. Make time for us, answer all of our questions, and allow us to immerse ourselves in your business.

Value risk. For digital marketing to be attention-getting, it has to be different. And anything different is risky. In every other avenue of your business you know reward is associated with some level of measured risk. If you want advertising that looks like your competitors’, you don’t even need a new website. But if you want to lead the category, you’re going to have to do something that, at least from the outside, appears risky.

Good designers aren’t reckless. They have a sense of what risks are appropriate and how to mitigate them. But they can only do it for clients who value the benefits of a little calculated risk-taking. Of course, the risks you and your designer take won’t pay off every time. If your designer knows as long as they’re acting in your best interests it’s OK to make a mistake, they will treat the responsibility you give it with great care.

Keep your eye on the big picture, not the small print. Some ideas will be better than others, and others may downright flop. But if your focus remains on the overall trajectory of your brand you’ll learn that for every “one step back” there will be two or three steps forward. If your designer knows you’re committed to it and you’re in this together, they’ll do anything to make those risks pay off.

Reserve judgment. Remember what you thought the first time you saw a Ford Taurus? I thought it was the ugliest thing I’d ever seen. Its time has now come and gone, yet for several years it was America’s best-selling car. Sometimes ideas and designs that will one day be widely accepted are at first glance a shock. Reserving judgment may be the hardest part of the creative development process.

If you see something you like, say so.

But if you see something you don’t like, pause for a moment and think about it. Take a step or two back, ask questions, and really consider how what you’re seeing may be a breakthrough. If every idea was adopted immediately, there would be no such thing as early adopters. Sleep on the idea and try to look at it from a different angle. Keep in mind that creative, intelligent people who have your best interests at heart believe it’s going to work. Let them help you see it through their eyes. You can always say no tomorrow.

Be kind. The business of creating ideas is hard. Not every concept makes it, but every one leaves the nest with the hopes and dreams of its creator. When those ideas crash (for whatever reason), so do the egos of your partners at the firm. When you have to say no (and there will be times when you will), say it with kindness.

And don’t assume good work is its own reward, either. Thanking the team for their efforts can do wonders for morale and creativity. People want to give their best to those who appreciate it the most.

Champion the work. After weeks and months of hard work and collaboration, tough calls and usually some tension, a campaign or idea is finally ready to launch. Then someone in your organization who doesn’t understand the context or objectives catches a glimpse of it and says, “I don’t get it.” Or after the launch of a ground-breaking campaign, a consumer with an axe to grind calls and complains about the work.

The first time this happens, it can be nerve-wracking. But those of us who work in marketing have been through it often. Most of the time it’s a function of well-intentioned people making unreasonable rushes to judgment, and the biggest mistake you could make is reacting out of fear.

Hold your ground. Better yet, seize the moment and take the idea(s) to your internal audiences, providing them the background and rationale and raising their confidence that you (and your designer) know what you’re doing. Then stand by the work, responding to, but not reacting to, consumer complaints. If you’ve done your job right on the front end, the complaints will pass (see “reserve judgment”, above).

Reward them. If great ideas were easy to come up with, everybody would come up with great ideas. Good web design takes time and effort. And time and effort take money. Designers have a (sometimes deserved) reputation for nickel-and-diming their clients, but the reverse can be true as well.

Pay your designer fairly and educate yourself about how much things cost. Remind yourself you get what you pay for. When your designer makes a mistake, they should pay for it—but it shouldn’t pay for mistakes, delays, or changes in direction that are out of their control.


When you’re excited, we’re excited! If you are sure who you are, who you serve, or what problem your business or organization is solving, we may be a good fit.

We work hard to ensure your story is told in a compelling way by asking thought-provoking questions and require your participation throughout the entire process.

Have a need for web design services?

Let’s start talking.

Web Design Services