What to Do When a Client Rejects Your Work

So Your Design Just Got Rejected… (7 Actionable Steps to a Happier Client Relationship)

What to Do When a Client Rejects Your Work

You’ve just spent the last two days pouring your heart into a design. Then, the dreaded email comes through.

Dear designer, I hate it.
Love, your client

Sure, the rejection was a way softer blow, but that’s sure how it felt. After a few laps around the office…what do you do? Here are recommendations from your friends here at graphic, logo and web design studio Go Media. Take them step by step and you (and your client) will be happier in the end.

  1. Repeat your client’s feedback to them. Make sure you fully understand what your client has expressed. This is beneficial in two ways – it show the client you have listened to their concerns and has eliminated any misunderstandings.
  2. Carefully consider their feedback. Yes! You’re a Design God, we know. But set your ego aside for a moment and understand that your client is an expert in their industry as well. Consider the feedback for a moment. Could your client possibly…eek…be right?
  3. Assure the client. Let them know they are in charge. So, you’ve carefully reviewed the feedback and still feel you’re right? It’s time for a healthy discussion (rather than a heated debate) about who is right. How do you do that? Well, first lower their defenses and let them know that they’re the ultimate decision maker. Let them know that if they want their logo BIGGER AND BUSIER, you’ll do it – because they’re paying and making the rules. And you’re there to make them happy, however…
  4. Say your piece (calmly and intellectually.) Intellectually explain the merits of your design choices. IE. “Well Bob, we shouldn’t put yellow text on a white background because there isn’t sufficient contrast for anyone to read it.” Without design driven points, keep in mind that your moves may be subjective (IE. “Well Bob, we shouldn’t make your logo pink because… uhh… it’s ugly.”) – and that’s simply unfair.
  5. Use real-world examples to back your arguments. If the design principles you are using are also employed by famous brands like Nike, Coca-Cola and Apple, say so. Your client will often see things a little more clearly when they can comprehend things through the light of cool companies.
  6. Give them options – theirs and yours. Give your client what they have asked for, but when you feel strongly about your design choice, design yours as well. This has two benefits. It gives your client the feeling that they are in control, while giving you the ability to show them your vision.
  7. Know when to pick your battles. Understand your role. In the end, you are being paid to give the client what they have asked for. Do you due diligence and give your opinions respectfully, working for great design always. But know when to hold back and give the client what they want.

Good luck!

Take a glance at Go Media’s favorite work here!