Steal the 5-step framework I use as a Graphic Designer to reduce revision cycles.

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Here’s how I increased my client roster by 10x while fulfilling projects in less than 2 revision cycles.

As a designer, you’re probably no stranger to revisions. Revisions are necessary for your growth as a designer and successful client satisfaction.

But more often than not, these revision cycles end up being a repetitive back and forth with your client and even after countless cups of coffee, drawing dozens of sketches, and adhering to every requirement, the client is still unsatisfied with the outcome. That’s usually because it’s hard to capture a client’s vision accurately. Believe me, I have been there!

The good news is that there are ways to avoid this situation altogether.

In this article, I’m breaking down my step-by-step process of presenting the design strategically, leading to better results and fewer revisions.

Also, read till the end, where I’m sharing tips on elevating your design presentations altogether.

The first thing I like to do before I present my designs is to refer back to the brief. There needs to be some background about the project to bring everybody into focus. Throughout the day, people are engaged in various activities, and you want them to be in a receptive stage where they’re ready to listen.

Stating the initial objective is an ideal way to start your presentation. Even if the client is aware of the goals, stating them places your work in a problem-solving framework.

Setting the context helps clients review your work with the frame of reference they shared when they gave you the brief.

So quickly recap the context briefly and bring all stakeholders to focus.

Giving insights into your process makes it clear that your workflow is defined by a system and not derived just from your competency in complex editing software.

Here are some things that you can share:

  1. The research about the competitors you audited.
  2. Moodboards and wireframes you’ve put together.
  3. Sketches and low-fidelity designs.
  4. Insights into any other reference materials you used.
Design process of Bella’s Coffee Lab

We tend to believe that our creative references are self-explanatory. So you need to build your client’s interest in your solution by revealing what goes behind the scenes. Also, you can use that content to create a case study that you can share to engage future clients.

It may have taken me a few steps to get you to this slide, but don’t let those steps take too long. Set up the context but don’t labor that point.

I like to present the design through applications. For example, let’s say it is a logo design project, lead it through the relevant applications instead of showing the logo flat on the white screen. If the client wants to use it on the website or the packaging, create a mockup so they can visualize how the logo will fit into the final product.

Logo applications for Bella’s Coffee Lab

The more applications you show them, the more familiar you make them with they’ll get the design. This familiarity would help them visualize what it will look like in the real world.

So you add all the relevant use cases of the design work.

After you have presented your work, leave time for questions. At this stage, you should listen with an open mind to what they have to say and pen down the concerns they’re pointing towards so that you’ve something to refer back to.

Avoid using technical jargon when answering the questions; explain things in simple terms that anyone can understand. You want to ensure clients feel comfortable giving their input, even if they’re unfamiliar with all the terminology.

Now, if there are any objections regarding the work, the best way to respond to them is by connecting everything back to the project’s goal. Take it back to the initial objective of the problem we’re trying to solve; who are the people we’re trying to reach, and what’s the opportunity we’re trying to go after? As you return to that, it’ll show that your design solution addressed specific issues they had when you started the project.

This is effective because rather than just getting into the subjectivity of “I like this” or “I don’t like that,” you’re presenting the client with a reasonable argument.

Lastly, when you’re about to wrap up the meeting, brief the client about the next steps. There need to be written next steps with deadlines, so they know precisely what they need to do next, what you need from them, and they’re clear on what you’re going to do next.

It’s a step that helps you bring everything together.

If there are any revisions, try to anticipate the time it will take to do those revisions and set up the next meeting accordingly.

Ask clarifying questions to understand what needs to be changed. It can be helpful to create a list of all the revision requests and your responses so that everyone is on the same page. If additional changes are requested, you can refer to this list and see if they have been addressed. Finally, look for any potential areas your client might want revisions before showing the design. This could mean doing extra research into their target audience or industry trends, etc. This shows that you’re committed to meeting their needs and ensuring they’re happy with the final product.

I want to conclude by highlighting the two key ingredients you can include in your presentation strategy that’ll significantly reduce revisions. First, as mentioned in the beginning, being proactive when understanding your client’s requirements is important. Keeping an open line of communication with your client will allow for feedback throughout the design process, ensuring everyone is on the same page and reducing the chances of revisions being needed.

The second is confidence. Make sure you know your stuff so you can proudly show your work. Remember that revisions are a normal part of the design process, so don’t take them personally. If a client asks for changes, try to see it as an opportunity to improve the design rather than a criticism of your work. So next time someone asks for a revision request on your designs, you no longer have to feel sheepish about it.

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