Avoiding the Biggest Mistakes of Designer-Client Relationships

How Motion Graphics Can Transform Your Brand

Having worked tirelessly to build the idea behind a new campaign or marketing item and to settle on a design agency or freelancer, the worst thing that could happen is making the partnership go south.

Why does the organization ensure you are collaborating with an external partner to ensure a positive outcome?


When dealing with an outside vendor, you need to bear in mind the nature of what your client wants and what is reachable. There are other considerations that go into what's actually feasible for your design needs and wants. All important aspects of a project are the total budget (how much the organization is willing to invest on the project), required resources (people or software) and technology features. The vendor will collaborate with your ideas and propose potential approaches while meeting during the project's discovery/strategy sessions or conception process. Those will be the final product's latest standards.


Be sure to consider their process and what elements need to be included in the contract to suit the internal one when negotiating the contract with the outside vendor. If products for sign-offs need to be distributed to many individuals, be sure to include them in your development timeline. Understanding your position within the project will also help improve the relationship. Are you the number one contact? Do you need to involve yourself in finalizing the campaign concept/direction or individual pieces? Will you just approve the cost? Bringing the people needed at the right time will help reduce uncertainty and streamline communications among parties. As a customer, the organization has the right to voice what your desires are in the overall process. You own the project and your vendor helps to direct the process and produce the products that are required. Of course, it is of general courtesy to those who work tirelessly to build your dream to always be polite when demanding additional time or extra rounds. When both parties are extremely busy and are keen to deliver the best possible work, there will be plenty of effort going into the project to make it successful and overall respectfulness for everyone's effort. Adhering to the negotiated schedule keeps the project going at a steady rate because it is designed with everybody in mind and how easily reviews, approvals and revisions can be made.

Extras & Their Costs

This is not the favorite piece of discussion for anyone. External suppliers have a certain pricing structure in place for their service prices and the business needs to stick to a specific schedule. Letting the vendor know what the budget the organization wants to adhere to, will help structure and set the tasks for the project upfront. Negotiating rates is perfect, given they are reasonable and fair. When the project is done, bearing in mind the terms of payment will finalize a contractual partnership as a good or poor experience. Being late and unresponsive to the outside vendor would put a bad taste in their mouth and it may be difficult if the time comes again for their imaginative support. Again, communicate if the final invoice payment causes delays or hiccups in delivery.


Providing an open and clear contact line with the account manager and/or project managers will keep the project going in the right direction. Much like your organization is going to have a key contact to help promote the project internally, the vendor should also name a point person to promote on their end. Both contacts will be in close touch and work together to get input, questions, and approvals from the shepherd. When so many internal representatives want a voice at the table, they are bound to get both sides confused and upset. Having a well-systematic process in place would ensure that the provider has provided the relevant details.

Each of the above products has one capability that ties all together with the method of dealing with an external vendor communication. For both sides interacting regularly over the course of the project, it will be difficult to maintain the partnership and the work will suffer. Your organization would like to have a well-designed piece for the price you would pay and the agency will welcome a returning clie