Photo by Joshua Hoehne / Unsplash

How to limit design revisions

Lee Matthew Jackson
Lee Matthew Jackson

Design is so subjective…. How can you create a working relationship that allows you to be a profitable agency, whilst ensuring your client has a design that hits it’s mark?

Here are 5 ingredients to managing client expectations, and keeping a control of the amount of revisions under control whilst delivering the right result.

We also made a video on this over here.

Establish who the design is for

I don’t mean the people within your client’s business, it’s not for them. Just because they like particular colours, that has nothing to do with what you should be designing. It’s actually who is going to consuming the content you are designing that everyone should be thinking of.

For example, when designing a website:

  • who’s going to be looking at that website?
  • what is that person like?
  • what are their interests?
  • what is going to prompt them to act upon the information that’s on that website?

It’s the same with a poster, what is going to prompt them to give that desired reaction to that poster? What will attract them?

By teaming up with your client and focusing on the consumer together, you create a team of equals focused on the end user rather than the internal politics of design by committee.

Confirm the stakeholders

Heard that old quote “too many cooks spoil the broth”? The same goes with the design process. It is essential to establish the key stakeholders within your clients business who will be collating all internal feedback and communicating with your team. Keeping the stakeholder team to a minimum is essential, so ideally these would be department heads/representatives.

This means internal feedback, ideas and thoughts are filtered through these people rather than receiving a constant flow of feedback from multiple people with varying exposure to the project and it’s objectives.

The stakeholders should also be the ones who can give the final sign off. Showing the CEO at the end of a project only to have it thrown back is all too common. Why? Because they have not had the exposure to the process, nor been a part of decisions until that point. You are potentially setting the project up to fail without working with those that will also provide the final sign off on the design work.

Set the ground rules

With any project, setting the ground rules is essential and this is where working with a small group of stakeholders makes this a much healthier environment. You can establish these ground rules with them, and get their buy in. Whist representing their departments and communicating with their teams, they will also be aware of, and adhering to the agreed rules of play.

Some key areas you should consider covering:

  • what is considered as a round of revisions
  • how the vision and revisions should be communicated
  • agree that content provided should be signed off
  • what are the deadlines for receiving feedback
  • when the client will expect revisions to be actioned
  • who has the final sign off on the project

And just as a wildcard folks, be sure to include when you expect to be paid! That’s a series of blogs in it’s own right right there!

Don’t do it straight away.

It’s really tempting to be super efficient, and to want to impress your clients by turning around their feedback at top speed. Yet this isn’t necessarily the best approach.

Often the initial thoughts/ideas/feedback from a client comes over prematurely in the excitement and energy of the project. Given 24 hours, with time to think about things, you tend to find that people will continue to think over things, and their ideas may start to change.

Giving the team time to be sure of their feedback gives you a clear run at that round of revisions whilst reducing the risk of that that minute curve ball.

Taking time also leads onto our final ingredient…

Challenge when necessary

Sometimes clients have bad idea. Yep. Flat out bad ideas. So it is important to remember who the design expert is. You and your team!

When you take the time to review the communicated revisions, rather than just doing as you are told, you can start to think over the feedback you have received.

  • is this a good idea?
  • will the consumer get it?
  • is brand continuety affected?
  • as well as all the many other questions your years of experience will ponder…

Remember, you are a design expert and your client has hired you and or your team to do something they cannot do themselves.

They are paying you for your expertise, and when they come up with an idea or amend that you do not agree with, then it is OK to challenge them on their idea, and discuss their thought process, as well as present arguments or alternative solutions.

How do you manage design revisions in your design agency? Comment below with your experienced.

Be sure to check out our video on the WP Innovator YouTube channel here where we explore this very topic.

Are you a member of our Facebook Group? If not, head on over the the WP Innovator Facebook group here and join hundreds of other designers and design agencies from around the world who share their experiences, ask questions and or course share cat pictures.



Lee Matthew Jackson

Content creator, speaker & event organiser. #MyLifesAMusical #EventProfs