Two Tips for Design Success

March 19, 2010

We have a delivery process in place here at Digett that does a great job of keeping our projects on time and on budget. We do a pretty good job of staying on the right track, but every project has its bumps in the road, twists, turns, and unexpected detours.

As a designer, I fit into the process somewhere between discovery and production. A good design is bred from a good discovery effort, and both are key to a successful production. The best thing I can do for my team and the client is not be a bump in the road—easier said than done. Here are a couple of tips to ensure that you, the designer, keep the project running smoothly, on time, and on budget.

Know Your Client

There will undoubtedly be those clients that provide you with little or no design direction. Often times, clients who don't know what they like have strong opinions about what they don't like. So just ask. Knowing what a client doesn't like can help you hone in on what they will.

On the other hand, there are clients that know exactly what they want and are confident in their ideas. Watch out for these clients, because any design decision you make outside of what you've been asked to produce can be costly. Don't push the envelope too far.

Know Your Budget

I know from experience that it's easy to get lost in a design. I always want the next design to be my best and every one to be special. It's difficult sometimes to pull back on projects that don't have the budget, but you have to know your limitations.

Additionally, keep an eye on your budget as you design so you can get a better feel for how to pace yourself. Spending 80% of your time on an amazing home page can have adverse effects to the site design as a whole. It's reasonable to assume that not all site visitors come through the home page, rather interior landing pages by way of Google. You'll want these pages to be as representative of the brand as the home page.

Success at the design stage goes a long way toward a successful project. Knowing your client and your budget can greatly increase your chances of a successful design.