3 Do or Die Graphic Design Business Tips

by . April 24th, 2019

Last updated on October 6th, 2022

There are a lot of things that can turn an exciting new design project into a nightmare for a graphic design business. Many graphic design businesses have experienced these issues below, including myself. The best way to avoid client stress and problems is to educate yourself about what can go wrong and take steps to protect yourself.


Graphic Design Business Tips

Below are three common problems that can go wrong, and while they may sound simple and the solutions are simple, thousands of designers fall victim to these pitfalls.

1. Clients Who Won’t Pay

We all want to get paid, and there are several ways to protect ourselves against not getting paid. The first big mistake is not requiring a down payment. Many designers do the work on spec or let the clients pay at the end, which is a big mistake. There are a few ways to bill clients, but I prefer to bill half upfront and half when done or get the total amount upfront for smaller jobs. Having a business account that accepts payments globally is also a great asset.

You should also use invoicing software or fill out an invoice template and a contract and have them all signed by the client so you have the project and payment details in writing. Doing this will give you more power if you actually have to use the law to get your money, but hopefully, it will not come to that.

2. Endless Revisions

The unlimited number of changes is an easy one to forget. You may be a great designer, but it is an inside joke in the design community that the client always picks the worst design, so they may not pick the design you worked hardest on, which means lots of possible revisions.

Many clients can be very picky and detail-oriented, which is fine because they want to be happy. However, if you do not limit revisions, your project could become a nightmare where you don’t make any money because you had to put in so many extra hours.

For example, you could offer three initial concepts for a logo design and then three revision rounds once they have picked one of the initial concepts to move forward with. You should also specify the price for additional revision rounds if they want more.

3. Poor Planning and Timing

If you don’t plan out a project to the last detail and set a time frame, you will also run into major issues. For example, if you are doing a website, you need to know EXACTLY how many pages you need to create, what each page will have, and so on. You can discuss this with the client and ensure they give you everything you need before you start and get it in writing.

Creating a wireframe can be helpful. A wireframe is a quick outline of what a design or website will look like and what will go where. This way, you don’t miss anything and won’t run into spending more time adding missing items later, which could cost you money.

Many clients also have very tight deadlines, so you need to gauge how long a project will take you and get this in writing as well. For example, you could say the estimated time to complete the project will be three weeks, but it could take more weeks, depending on extra revisions. Adding a few days or more to your estimated project deadline is better to give yourself a buffer.

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