So you’ve landed that great client you’ve been talking to for weeks, and you want to make sure to keep them happy. Aside from giving them a stellar product, how do you do that? One way is by being ridiculously professional in how you present your work.
The way proofs are presented to clients had never really occurred to me until I did some in-house work for a design agency awhile back. This particular agency was very particular about presentation, wording of descriptions, explaining in detail how the proposed design fits into the overall product, and much more, and it had a positive impact on their clients
How you present your works in progress can say a great deal about your professionalism and the care that you put into your work. While you may have already landed the client, great presentations can make them even more happy about choosing you.
A letter-sized PDF presentation is usually a good idea for presentation of most projects. Chances are the client is going to print out whatever you send to look at more closely or share with coworkers. Make sure all your explanations are included in the presentation, and you don’t rely on body of the email you send it with to convey important info, as this may get lost in the excitement of checking out your proofs.
The presentation should reflect the media
Maybe you’re designing a street banner or vehicle wrap. If this is the case, or if the final product won’t be printed on flat paper, try to include mock-ups of what the object will look like with your design applied. Time to make use of those awesome Photoshop skills!
If you’re designing a website, include an example of what your mockup would look like in a browser. Either Photoshop it into a blank browser window, or if you have space on a server, set up a mock page with your mockup as it would appear when the site is complete. Not everyone can make the visual transition from what a design looks like on a printed page to how it will look in a browser. Plus, sometimes colors will look different on paper than on screen, so make sure you’re representing your design effectively.
What to include
Title of project, client’s name & contact info. This is always good to include, even if it’s just for organization on your part. You could even try to fancy up the cover page with the client’s logo (as long as you know how to use it correctly).
Your website and contact information. I recommend putting your info and branding on every email and document you send to the client. You never know what might be printed out and passed around once in the client’s hands so make sure everyone knows it’s from you.
Intro paragraph/description of project. State your goals and intentions for the work you are presenting. If this is just re-stating the client’s goals, that’s fine, and can even help to ensure you’re both on the same page.
The work itself should be presented in a clean manner and numbered for reference. Or if the examples are all on separate pages, page numbers. Explain your ideas and how each one works to make the design a success.
Next steps. I’ll usually include a brief paragraph at the end explaining what happens next, and if there are any specific comments and decisions I need from the client. This helps the client understand what to expect, and may get you better feedback.
Be Consistent. Do it the same every time. Make a template and use it throughout the project and in other projects as well. Not only will it save you time, it will help the client know what to expect.
Calling all freelance designers!
What methods do you have for sending proofs to clients? Have you had any positive or negative reaction to the way you’ve presented work?