Designers and clients, they need each other but they don't always understand each other perfectly well.
I often hear both web and graphic designers complaining about clients who "just don't get it!", and who throw in their own ideas which will destroy the whole concept. Who insist on a look exactly as they had in mind, no matter if it is practicable, printable or even effective. On the other end how often do I hear clients ranting about their previous designers who act as prima donnas, have the 'head in the clouds', charge through the nose or "just don't get it".
Of course I am not a saint and sometimes can relate to some of these comments, but in the end we as designers have to do what's necessary to get to a good, if not perfect, result for the job and within the relationship with the client. Which is:
- listening to the client
- understanding where he comes from
- learning as much as possible about his business
- keep the client informed about your thought process
- keep the client updated on time, costs and technical consequences
- clarify consequences evolving from certain actions the client wants to take
- assure the client on each step he takes during the design process
Clients book a designer because they want good and professional results. Some clients might still sit on the fence, looking at all the easy solutions out there (as in: the nephew who could do that easily from home should he have time, the cheap template from India, the fun contests where one gets offered so many designs for next to nothing).
In this case it's our responsibility to outline and explain the advantages of our service and to guide the client towards the end product while listening to his ideas and concerns. Some of the best work I did was in cooperation with the client, which made us both proud in the end.
A client who trusts his designer will come back. And a client who comes back is valuable to any business. Not just because of the repeat business but also because they will happily refer you to someone else.