It’s tough out there for web designers. Not for lack of demand, but for too much demand. There are people everywhere who are marketing themselves as design experts but do not have the faintest clue how HTML operates.
Then they either charge their clients pennies for their poorly created design work or overcharge them which hurts real designers in the long run. This method hurts the industry and graphic and web designers found themselves painted with a broad brush and the result was not good.
Then a few enterprising people who became fed up with how a glut of subpar designers were ruining the industry decided to set out to create a collective where talented designers could find clients and perform good work.
Marketplaces require designers to have an in-depth knowledge of the design process and as a result, clients became much more satisfied with their designers’ projects. Now, affordable packaging designer design collectives are springing up all over the place and many designers are interested in joining one, but don’t have the faintest idea on how to make it work for them.
It may seem like designers at a marketplace are at the whims of the client, but that is not true. Designers can be proactive and garner clients that they never thought possible. Many large corporations have turned to design marketplaces to fulfill their needs and designers get to experience working on a large project early in their careers.
One of the most important tools a designer must understand is how the business world works. At the end of the day, design work is performed to impact a company’s profitability and bottom line. Showing a client an idea which is a creative work of art, but doesn’t help the company is detrimental to the business relationship.
Also a portfolio that does not exhibit a variety of works, particularly corporate works can cause the designer to be rejected in favor of someone with less experience but a greater knowledge of how to bring the business (and results) into design.
Business skills go very far when one quickly realizes that all clients are on a tight deadline. Not being able to manage clients’ projects and finish them in a timely manner can cause the client to not work with the designer any more. More than a cursory knowledge of project management is key to retaining clients and garnering repeat work.
However, regardless of how well the first two factors are in position, nothing can overcome them if a designer does not listen to his or her clients. The industry is client-driven and one will lose a client if he or she believes that the designer is not listening and ignoring the person’s design needs.
For every designer that doesn’t listen, there is one that does and clients will quickly scrap a project in order to hire a designer that listens to their needs and wants. However, this does not mean that one gives the clients everything he or she desires in design.
Sometimes designers have to tell a client why a certain design feature is not feasible or why it would not work for that particular company. Knowing how to maintain balance among design needs and design wants results in stunning design.
Yet the one reason anyone wants a beautifully designed website is because of more views and reach. In this instance, designers should have a basic understanding of search engine optimization.
SEO is necessary for high visibility websites, but few people realize that the search engine algorithms have updated and businesses with strong brands are getting more preference. A large part of a designer’s work involves branding thus, it is necessary for them to have a concept of how their design work will translate into views.
Although innumerable designers can list even the most obscure design concepts and use them on work, the ones who benefit the most from a collective have a strong understanding of business and interpersonal skills.