Kory here! This idea came to me several months ago when we were hosting our Get Back to Design Accelerator, and I was talking to one of our members about teaching clients how to use their designs.
Oddly enough, the topic was really sticking out to me after hiring another business owner for a social media management project that didn’t go according to plan and ended poorly.
Here’s the thing, you don’t want to send a client off with beautiful design work that ends up being so-so when they starting using it because you didn’t effectively educate them.
So today I’m sharing a few ways you can work on educating your clients on how to use their new design effectively.
Final File Organization
The first place I would start when trying to educate your clients is with the organization of your final files. This is really basic and literally the easiest place to start. It also doesn’t cost you anything aside from a few minutes in getting your structure set up.
Think about this: when you’re packaging files to send over to your clients, is it easy for your clients to navigate the folders? For example, if they’re looking for a PNG of their logo in web resolution, how long would it take for them to find that?
Krista knows that I go a little overboard with my file organization, but when you’re sending final files to a client this is really handy.
Having a good file structure helps your client easily know what file to use, find it quickly without emailing you, and it empowers them to actually use all of those files that you’re spending your time creating and saving.
The depth at which you organize your file really depends on the type of work you’re doing, but here’s an example of what Krista’s final file delivery looked like when we worked together a few years ago:
- For Print
- For Web
- For Print
- Collateral (simply contained the PSD or Ai file)
- Business Cards
- Blog Post Graphic template
- Font System
- 01. Headings
- 02. Sub-heading
- 03. Body Font
- Style Guide
- PDF of a crazy good Style Guide (based on a template from Melissa Yeager)
- Website strategy
- Other files that Krista only needed because she was developing her site
You can take this a step further by being detailed with your file naming. For example, I name client files like this:
That tells a client that the file is their primary logo in the color black.
Updating the names of your files may take a little bit depending on the number of files you send to a client, but I’d rather spend a few minutes making files easy to navigate for clients so they don’t have to email me for things they already have.
Brand Guidelines PDF
The brand guidelines PDF that I sent to Krista was absolutely beautiful, and it was based on a template from Melissa Yeager.
Brand guidelines are a much more in-depth way to educate your clients on how to use their new design and truthfully you can take them as far into their brand as you want.
When I first got started I barely sent anything – maybe a PDF or PNG with color hex codes, the names of the fonts, and their logo. That’s not enough.
As I got more skilled in creating branding for my clients and figured out what they needed, I tweaked my style guides until I had a template I felt really good about. I also love seeing templates from my peers (like the one I bought from Melissa) to see how I can improve my own client files and empower my clients even more.
Krista’s brand guidelines included:
- Brand strategy
- Logo + marks
- Color palette with a note on where to use CMYK vs. RGB
- Font system with a note on how to apply the fonts
- A list of file types, where they can be used, and the resolution she received
- A page explaining file types
Opening something like this could be overwhelming to some clients, but if you have a client who is likely going to end up DIYing their graphics or PDFs, giving them this amount of detail can go a long way in helping them create beautiful work that complements the branding you created
Brand guidelines walkthrough video
One of the things I haven’t done, but I think would be amazing is to actually record a video walking your clients through their brand guidelines.
This would be similar to a presentation video where you’re showing a logo or web concept. However, you’d essentially be explaining what files they’re receiving, navigating the final file folders, the actual brand guideline PDF, using their colors and fonts, what logo to use on their business cards, etc.
This could also be made even better by actually showing an example in Illustrator or Canva of you creating a graphic and how you would apply color, which colors work together, etc.
This would take a decent amount of time, and you wouldn’t be able to record just one for all of your clients. However, these extras that you send your clients will surprise and delight them, which will make them even happier that they worked with you.
Template / website tutorial videos
Last but not least, when you’re educating clients on using their new designs, please record videos for them. This can be for how to use any templates you created or even just how to update their website.
I can’t tell you how frustrating it would be to need to create something, have the resource, and have no clue how to actually use it.
We do not want to nickel and dime our clients and force them to come back to us every single time they need a new social media graphic (unless they WANT to hire you for that sort of thing, obviously).
We want to empower them to take this thing they’ve likely invested thousands of dollars in and use it to help grow their brand and business.
I’ve created tutorial videos on how to use Canva templates and how to update certain pages or content locations on the website for example.
Yes, it takes extra time, but if I’m busy or if I didn’t particularly love the client, then I’d rather them be able to handle certain things than come back and ask me how to update a line of text on their Contact page.
- If you don’t do any of these things, then I challenge you to pick one right now that you’ll put into action at the end of the project for your current clients
- If you’re already doing a couple of these things, take a look at HOW you’re doing it to see if you can make it more effective