Do any resources exist for designers to help improve their communication skills to clients

I understand that communication between client and designer is very crucial and it will set the tone for possible work and whether you may ruin your rep. That said I would like to improve my communication skills to be a better person, explain in a clearer fashion and feel comfortable in a situation that is important. However, I am having trouble looking for material, sites, or books that will focus on improving communications. Does anything exist that will help teach designers how to communicate better with their clients and even with one another when working on sub-contracts?

Answer

How to Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy is the best thing I’ve seen for the human side of the business, and has two chapters mainly about client relations plus lots of relevant titbits throughout the rest of the book. Really good, honest, straight to the point stuff.


For something more ongoing than a published book, I’d suggest the magazine Computer Arts which – despite the name – has quite a good focus on the human side of the industry, and often runs articles on topics like client relations.

Searching on their site for “Client Relationships” turns up lots of relevant stuff. (10 tips for a perfect client relationship would be a good one to start with!)

As well lists of tips like this, they do a lot of more open-ended interviews and features on designers and studios that give useful insights into how other people conduct their work. It’s good fly-on-the-wall type stuff – everything from in depth interviews, to designers literally talking through the clutter on their desk – and how they deal with clients is a subject that often comes up.

They also publish books like The Design Studio Handbook and The Freelance Handbook that focus on the business and human sides of the industry, including sections on winning and keeping clients.

They’re UK based, so there might be the occasional UK-specific reference, but they’re generally pretty international in their focus.

(no affiliation, just a happy subscriber)

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