A Revision ManifestoJune 13th, 2016| Written by: Jonden Jackson
Today is a very important day for us. As of today we will no longer be offering client revisions to designs.
Whoa! Ok, ok let’s slow down. That sounds really extreme. Let us explain…
A Horror Story
First, let’s define what a revision is. It’s textbook really… the act or process of making different. In our case, an aesthetic revision would be changing how the design of something looks or functions.
Over the years we have tried every method possible when handling revision requests for clients. From an open door policy for any revision they wanted (worst idea ever), to additional hourly billing (not good for the client) all the way down to only allowing a limited number of revisions allowed for the project. And guess what? It rarely, if ever, improved the project’s results.
We finally ended up giving all of these approaches a name; ‘Frankensteining’. In short, it’s the direct result from multiple rounds of impulsive style requests from the client without little to any direction as to why and just slapping them together to keep the project going.
Can you guess what comes from Frankensteining? Your project, when introduced to the masses, walks aimlessly, stiff-legged with arms stretched out begging people to love it. Loyal customers scream from your little shop of horrors. Potential customers cry and run away to never return. Things can really get ugly if not guided correctly or supervised to say the least.
No Revisions? Are You Crazy?
Right now I can hear both designers and clients crying out:
“How dare you take revisions away from clients? – Who the hell do you think you are? – How are you supposed to reach your creative, eureka moments?”
We understand these knee jerk reactions and we couldn’t be more sympathetic. Truth be told we had them ourselves coming to this point, and it’s going to take some progressive thinking on all of our parts to look past them to get to the core of our intentions with the no revisions strategy.
Putting the word ‘Revision’ in your mind before we even start designing implies that there will be shortcomings or initial failures on our part. Let’s think in terms of ideas.
It’s not that we can’t offer different solutions or changes to projects, we just can no longer offer revision requests that don’t serve the greater good of the project as a whole and yes, as professionals we are the ones that need to make that tough call. We are going to challenge and push our clients further to help guide them to an area where they start thinking in terms of ideas based on the customer’s experience instead of revising designs to fit their personal tastes with little to no motive. Results-driven design can never be a sole exercise in vanity. Trust us, we’ve tried.
The Great Disconnect
A common disconnect new clients often have is with what role the designer is actually meant to serve for them. Many assume a designer’s job is one assigned by the client to create a hierarchy of visual-based content specifically tailored to promote their business and that fits their stylistic wants. This is wrong. It’s not a bad thing and it’s certainly no one’s fault.
How are clients supposed to know the ins and outs of what makes great results-driven design if designers aren’t there to help educate? Clients want and need that education and as service providers it’s our job and responsibility to help teach them.
Clients need to know we aren’t designing for their personal wants, but for their customers needs and for their business goals as a whole.
This takes some progressive thinking on everyone’s part. It’s not easy to tell clients their personal design tastes sit lower on the totem pole because the customer’s experience with their brand will always be more important. The sooner this is established, the better.
It’s Not About Ego. It’s About Results.
We always want to keep our clients happy with each design choice but sometimes that can be difficult when we have to say ‘No’ to a requested change that could impact results negatively.
Some days we don’t look like the good guys because of this but drawing a line in the sand between what is a good decision for the user experience and what could be hurtful becomes necessary.
Unfortunately taking a strong stance and saying ‘No’ to revision requests can come off egotistical. So let us be the first to assure you this has nothing to do with ego. It’s always about your results.
It’s not because we are against feedback from clients or hearing ideas. Far from it, we absolutely encourage it! The foundation of incredible work comes from client suggestions and ideas, but all while working with the designer and not against.
This Isn’t New
One of the best things about the no revision approach is that it’s not necessarily new, it’s just new to us. You may have heard of the legendary brand designer Paul Rand’s one concept approach to the NeXT branding for Steve Jobs. But in case you haven’t, Paul Rand created the iconic NeXT logo for the Apple innovator and he did it with one concept and zero revisions. Here’s Steve Jobs talking about that.
The day that opened our eyes was when we landed a job for a very large company. They informed us that they researched every one of their ad campaigns and through statistics, learned results were typically worse when they interfered with the design process. When they trusted the designer, each project turned out with much better results. We were shocked — but it made complete sense.
In conclusion, we will never again try to scrape together work and scrapbook conflicting ideas in hopes that your project turns out satisfactory. You and your brand deserves better than that.
As of today client ideas and needs will meet with ours and throughout our building together we will inform you when an idea works, when it doesn’t and most of all – WHY. Just imagine it. Clients and designers making incredibly successful, and beautiful works based on a core foundation of trust, honesty and guidance. Now that we can stand behind.
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