Being able to communicate the reasoning behind your decisions is an important piece of the design field. It shows that you are an expert and a professional. Most importantly though, it gives your client an understanding of the work you presented, and a confidence in your solution. It’s not an easy thing to do, even if you ‘know your stuff’. It requires you to reflect on your work, but it also requires confidence in that work.
A client will not instictively understand why you made the decisions you made, so they’re going to ask questions and suggest new ideas. The client wants to feel confident that they have the best possible product from you, and if they don’t understand why your solution is the best for them they won’t have that confidence.
In the past I’ve fallen into the trap of not communicating the intentions behind a finished product well enough to a client. In these situations the client questioned wether the product I presented was good enough, and inserted themselves into the creative process. It’s not because they were bad clients, not even that I was a bad designer. I didn’t express confidence in my work so why would the client be confident in it either?
Ask Yourself The Tough Questions
Confidence isn’t just accepting what you did as the best possible solution and writing a case study. It comes from essentially dissecting your work, questioning every aspect. With every project, not just client projects, I ask myself why I made the decisions I did. I question every detail, from color to composition. This is part of the refining process so I can make the little touch-ups and changes that will really make me confident that I’ve done my best work.
Having a better understanding of your work gives you more confidence to explain your work to the client. The client will feel confident that you’ve provided the best solution for them. But understanding and confidence isn’t the whole picture.
Practice Case Studies
Writing a case study is the primary way to communicate your decisions to the client. It should always be included whenever you submit the final product to a client. Writing a good case study takes some thought though, even if you’ve already critiqued your work. This part isn’t about confidence, it’s about clarity. Learning to write case studies effectively is going to take practice.
As I mentioned, I analyze and critique every piece I create. Most times I will then carry that over into a case study, again even if there is no client. There’s no better way to practice than to write case studies for your personal and ‘for fun’ projects. You don’t have to publish them, or even share them. Just practice, practice, practice!