What makes a good designer/strategist-client relationship?

Maybe you’re new to the world of design and brand strategy.

Maybe you are about to hire an in-house designer or a freelance brand strategist to help you build our your vision…

If working in this sphere is new to you – how do you know how best to approach the relationship and what to expect from it?

I’ve put together some pointers on what makes a good working relationship with creatives such as brand builders and designers, so you can get on with realising your vision:


1. Get the right person and fit

Go with recommendations from colleagues, peers and friends – people who have experienced the agency/individual before.
Do some research into the types of clients they’ve worked with, their style or approach, testimonials and LI profile – does it speak to you?
Meet with them online or in-person to get a feel for them as a person and talk through some of your fears or desires from the project, see how the conversation flows.


2. Be clear and upfront from the start

Each side should set expectations for each person in the relationship – “what will you expect from me / what I expect from you” (I even have this in my Welcome Pack with my clients, so it’s clear from the start).
If you’re feeling let down by either side not living up to those expectations, raise it sooner rather than later.


3. Be respectful of each other’s time whilst encouraging open dialogue

This doesn’t mean a 24hour hotline!! Instead, dedicate and schedule a time to go through a specific agenda.
Appreciate that 20 1-liner emails in the middle of the night are not productive or effective. Instead, consolidate thoughts and book in time to go through or put in 1, succinct email.


4. Appreciate the art of organisation

Simply setting and sticking to agendas, timelines and projects scopes will help really gauge where the project is at and keep visibility for everyone.
Understandably these may shift and change but having them to work to in the first place helps everyone have their goals.
Creativity can flourish with parameters and keeps things on track rather than disappearing down a rabbit hole…


5. Be honest

This doesn’t mean nasty. If the brief is good; the design shouldn’t be far off your vision. If the brief is bad; then acknowledge where things have gone wrong and work to rectify.
You’re paying for a service, and the strategist/designer ALWAYS wants to do their best work – so honesty all round is a win-win.


6. Trust your designer

This is easier said than done! Especially if you’ve not worked with them before… (See number 1). They are being hired as the expert, you need their particular skill set, so allow them the space to deliver on that for you.
Again, they ALWAYS want to do their best work.


8. Treat them as an extension of your team

Outsourcing (as is increasingly the case) can be a valuable option for businesses, but that doesn’t mean they are any LESS a part of your business.
They are helping you realise your vision, along with the rest of your team, so embrace them – it will help them better understand your brand and culture (and hence the outcomes!).



If you’re in need of support in a brand and design exercise, get in touch with us and we can see if there is a good fit!


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