If you’re anything like me, the absolute very last thing on your mind after finalizing a proof is your pitch.
At this point you’re reeking of awesomeness and positively giddy with the prospect of reveling in the praise and glory your client is going to heap upon you from the moment they see your brain-child.
Okay, so maybe you’re not that excited (or maybe you are!).
But likely it’s late (early?), you’re tired, or you just want to move on to the next project that is a day or two behind. If there were only a way to do a brain-to-brain transfer of all the reasoning, tweaking, and thought that went into your proof, surely your client wouldn’t ask you to put a revolving kitten that meows Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in the upper right-hand corner.
Once you understand how to pitch your proof, however, you’ll give your proof a solid foundation from which to shine. Below are a few tips on pitching your proof in a way that will make any client happy: (PS. If you have any to add, leave a comment on this post and let me know.)
Use Their Words
When drafting your proof, always mirror the wording and concepts of the contract (which ought to mirror those of the client). If they signed a contract stating “consistent with our brand guidelines” then use those exact words to describe your proof. For example, “I used <insert element>, which is consistent with your brand guidelines…” If they ask for a design “that instills confidence in our customer base” then specifically reference fonts, colors or elements that are typically trusted and therefore instill confidence.
By using phrases or wording previously agreed upon, you demonstrate to your client that your proof fits the description of their needs.
Connect your Proof to your Client
Show how your design is an extension of your client and/or their business. Discuss how the green represents their Irish background or how the diamond shape suggests gems and therefore the gaining of wealth.
Give your client a personalized connection to the design; this gives them a reason to like it.
Justify your Proof with Design Principles
Explain why your proof exhibits good design principles. Talk about the hierarchy of the page and how (in the contract *hint hint*) the logo needed to be the focus and therefore to gain the most visibility you centered it and…(you get the idea).
Just be careful not to use jargon your client is unfamiliar with or they’ll start to think you’re bluffing. The idea isn’t to sound super-smart, just to be super-clear.
Polish your Pitch
Finally, polish your pitch. If you’re meeting in person or via conference call, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. You should exude confidence in every ounce of your being.
Be proud of your proof and at the very least, be able to recount the talking points of each one with ease.
If you’re sending an email, proofread your pitch.
Go to the bathroom or get a drink of water.
Now proofread again.
One of the worst (WORST!) errors you can make is sending a pitch with typos regarding any proof that contains text.
After you’ve finished your pitch…
Prepare for questions
Why did you choose this font?
What about right-justifying this text?
Do you think boxes with rounded corners would look better?
Rather than counting the hours of editing after repeating “sure, I can try that” about 20 times, work out a response that might help steer your client away from 300 minor versions (besides the price tag).
“Well, I tried right-justification but with the curvature of this element, left-justification looked much better.” “I wanted to see what yellow would’ve looked like, too, but it just drew the attention off of the text.”
By helping them understand that you’ve already done all the work of trying to find the best option, they will appreciate the time and effort you saved them in reviewing other options.
How do you minimize client revisions?
Okay GDB readers, it’s your turn. How do you pitch your design proofs? What works for you? What doesn’t? What elements did I miss? Leave a comment on this post!
Photo by JD Hancock