Have you ever presented your designs on a call or through a video recording for your clients? It can be a total game changer when it comes to getting less revisions, looking more like the expert you are, and the client enjoying the process even more.
Last year we talked about presenting your work to clients in episode 052, but today we wanted to bring on a guest who can share her experience in doing exactly that and how it’s helped her business.
So today we welcome Abbey from Wayfarer Design Studio onto the show to chat about presenting your designs!
Abbey shared that it wasn’t her intention to start a business at all. Her husband got an overseas job offer while she was in college, so the day after Abbey graduated they got married and moved to Australia. She originally applied for design jobs there but was unlucky since they weren’t exactly locals. She ultimately decided to freelance, even though she was not excited about it.
Now, three years later, she feels a lot more stable and good about being a business owner and her business in general.
Why it’s important to present work
Abbey says she started thinking about this early in her business because she had the same struggles that most designers have. Clients weren’t understanding her work; they cared more about the way things looked than the meaning behind it. Then when clients were giving her feedback it wasn’t helpful. Abbey says she’d blame the client saying they just don’t understand or don’t know how to give feedback, but at some point she realized she needed to change her process.
She says that the way you present your work can really make or break the entire project because as the designer, it’s not just your responsibility to make your clients happy but to make sure they actually understand what you’re creating for them.
So in order for designers to really set your projects up for success and create a smooth process for ourselves and for clients, it’s important to put a lot of focus on presenting your work and communicating it well.
How to present your designs
Abbey says that she loves presenting her designs using screen recordings. She actually heard about us mention them in episode 52, and thought it would be fun to try. She said after she sent the first one to a client, she immediately got a great response saying the client thought it was amazing and to do more of them.
Being able to talk through everything with a client really goes one step further in being able to help them understand things more and let it sink in a bit deeper.
Calls are another great way to do presentations, but Abbey says she thinks it puts pressure on the client to give feedback right away, and we don’t want them to do that. It’s better to set the expectation that they should take a few days before they give feedback.
Deciding what to say
Abbey said her screen recorded presentations are generally about 10 minutes long and pretty in-depth. She said her goal is to make it feel like she’s having a conversation with them, so she’s explaining everything she wants her clients to know.
She also offers a written explanation that’s short and to the point and covers things about the designs she’s presenting for her clients who need to reference that outside of the video. This is especially important for Abbey because if she catches herself using too much design jargon in the video the written statements are a little clearer and may make more sense to her clients.
Abbey also mentions that she created a set of fill in the blank statements that she uses over and over again to save time and help make sure she’s hitting the right points in her presentations.
Getting over the nerves
Abbey says that it was scary to have to present your work in design classes at school, but it’s a whole other level when you have your own business. She finds herself second guessing her choices just like the rest of us.
However, she starts to think about the different strategies that she put into her processes. Abbey puts a lot of focus on there being a deeper meaning behind what she’s creating and that the client understands it. Putting that extra work into her designs forced her to step up her game and made her feel so much more confident in her work, which in turn makes her more confident when she’s presenting it.
Design work you don’t need to present
Abbey says that some things are self-explanatory, especially when you get further along in a project, so you don’t necessarily have to present everything formally to a client.
Once she gets toward the end of the branding process or just making little tweaks to things, the small changes just don’t warrant that extra explanation. She also says for some collateral things she doesn’t do videos or long explanations. If she’s jus expanding on the deeper meaning that she’s already explained to them, Abbey doesn’t feel like she needs to go into it again necessarily.
Sometimes there are clients who need the extra hand holding, and you may need to explain every little detail, but those are few and far between.
The biggest benefit Abbey says she’s seen since presenting designs to her clients is just how much happier they are. Her clients go out of their way to say that the added information is so helpful and how much they appreciated her putting in the extra work to make sure they understand the process.
She says that from her clients’ perspective they feel like they’re not just getting a new brand or new website. They’re getting a mini education on design and how it works, how it can be done well, and how they can use it on their own.
Abbey also mentions that she feels more confident and that her services are more valuable in her clients’ eyes. The other benefit is that it’s led to less refinements.
Learn more about Abbey
Abbey is the lady behind Wayfarer, a traveling design studio. Her approach is simple – to stop creating things that are just pretty and start creating things with deeper meaning + heart. When working with clients, she aims to share her process in a way that they can understand + feel confident in. Abbey also has an online course + shop for designers called The Designer Essentials Kit. The course is made to guide designers through Abbey’s own process + teach them how to present their work strategically, confidently + communicate more clearly with their clients.