How to Keep Your Design Revision Process Painless

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by Kristian Russell Blog Image[1]

You’ve spent hours crafting a brilliant new logo for a client and are anxiously awaiting their feedback. Finally, your email dings:

“Let’s set up a time to chat about this.” 

And your heart sinks. You know you’re in for one of those conversations: where a client picks apart every minute detail they don’t like about your work. And worse, it’s probably only the beginning of a long and excruciating revision process.

While you need to keep clients happy, you also can’t afford to make endless revisions. Follow these tips to streamline the design revision process so you can accommodate change requests without losing control of your projects.

Fully understand project goals

During the initial client meeting, thoroughly discuss the project goals, review the completed creative brief, and clarify expectations (details about the design process, roles and responsibilities, what will happen and when). Make sure your creative brief template has fields for all the specifics you need: file format, deadline, project objectives, etc. Working closely with clients during the planning phase helps you fully understand what they’re trying to achieve — and deliver on expectations the first time around.

Set clear expectations from the start 

Explain what exactly a revision round is and how many are included in the contract: i.e., once you deliver a design, the client has a specific number of days to provide all their feedback on that draft. Once they’ve submitted their comments, that revision round is closed and you’ll begin implementing the changes. Save yourself some headaches by waiting until that commenting window has closed before beginning revisions, since a client’s initial reaction often changes slightly after they spend some time reviewing the design in depth.

Establish the creative brief as the ultimate authority

When revision requests come through, refer back to the creative brief to ensure those changes bring the design closer in line with end goals. Keeping revision discussions centered on the creative brief also helps prevent changes based on personal opinions and preferences, and more on what will achieve the desired results. And when it comes time to present your work to clients, don’t just send an email that says, “What do you think?” with your work attached. Restate the project goals as identified in the creative brief, then confidently explain how your work achieves those objectives.

Prevent miscommunications with a collaborative proofing tool

With a review & approval tool, clients can provide clear, specific feedback on designs so you’re sure to deliver the changes they want the first time around, without any misunderstandings. You’ll be able to catch discrepancies immediately and adjust them precisely according to the client’s wishes.

The review and approval process ultimately boils down to your relationship with your client. Do you fully understand their needs and objectives? Do they trust your expertise? As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Putting in some extra effort in the initial stages is the key to making revisions quick and painless, while keeping your client base happy and thriving.

Kristian RussellKristian Russell is the Creative Director at Wrike, a work management and collaboration app that helps creative teams get more done. He has overseen brand strategy, visual communication, advertising, and cross-platform identity systems for clients like Microsoft, Sony, Oracle, Intuit, Nintendo and many others. He believes in the power of collaboration for effective design teams. Download the free ebook Building a World-Class Internal Creative Agency for tips on leading creative teams to success, or start a free Wrike trial.