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Resourceful Designer podcast: Offering tips, tricks and advice for starting and growing your graphic or web design business.

Beyond the Artwork: Strategic Design Presentation

Picture this: after countless hours refining the perfect design, you eagerly send it to your client. But here's the twist: this crucial step, the design presentation, is where many designers make a mistake. Wondering what I'm talking about? Let's delve into it together.

To hear the whole story, listen to Resourceful Designer episode 335: Presenting to Your Design Clients: You're Doing It Wrong.

Lessons from My College Days

I attended college in the late '80s and early '90s when graphic design programs were still in their analogue phase. Computers were on the rise, but we weren't allowed to touch them until the third year of our program. Instead, we honed our craft the old-fashioned way, including how we presented them to our teachers, who acted as clients in the school setting.

We meticulously mounted our designs onto boards and covered them with tracing paper and an opaque cover. This is how we were taught to present our designs. This hands-on experience underscored the importance of showcasing our work professionally, a lesson I've carried throughout my career.

Out with the Old, In with the New… or Is It?

Fast forward to today, where technology has transformed the design landscape. Gone are the days of mounting boards and tracing paper; now, a simple PDF suffices for presentation. But herein lies the crux: many designers overlook the significance of design presentation, a misstep that can hinder business growth.

The Power of Design Presentation

In my design business, I adhere to that same time-honoured tradition I was taught in school, not by mounting them on boards but by presenting my designs on a standardized template. Whether it's a logo, podcast artwork or a business card, I meticulously arrange designs on a letter-sized canvas or larger, should the design require it.

Essential details like client name, project title, version number and date accompany my design. This template serves as a professional showcase, elevating the client experience and bolstering my brand presence by including my website, contact info (phone number and/or email address), and logo.

Sample of my design presentation template for Podcast Branding.

Capitalizing on Sharing

Here's the cool part and why you should be doing this: I turn clients into unwitting brand ambassadors by embedding my contact information in every design presentation.

When clients share my designs with friends, colleagues or communities for input and opinions, they're not just sharing the design itself. They are inadvertently marketing my services by sharing the entire sheet with my logo and contact info for everyone to see.

This simple yet effective strategy has led to numerous new clients contacting me after seeing my work shared by others, illustrating the power of strategic presentation.

Many designers miss this massive opportunity by simply sending the design without these extra elements. It's like stealth marketing for your design business!

Professionalism Personified

Beyond its marketing potential, a well-crafted design presentation exudes professionalism and attention to detail. Clients appreciate the extra effort, fostering a sense of confidence in my work and brand.

From subtle design touches to comprehensive branding elements, every presentation aspect reinforces my commitment to excellence and confirms with the client that I'm worth the investment.

The Technical Side

Implementing this strategy is a breeze with design software like InDesign or QuarkXpress. I streamline the design presentation process by creating a reusable template, ensuring consistency and efficiency. Whether it's a letterhead or a poster, adapting the template to suit various projects is a cinch, allowing me to focus on delivering top-notch designs.

How are your Design Presentions?

So, are you making the same mistake many designers make? Take it from me: improving your design presentations is worth the effort. The art of presentation is more than just a formality—it's a strategic opportunity to elevate your designs and brand.

By embracing this often-overlooked aspect of client interaction, designers can forge stronger connections, expand their reach, and propel their businesses to new heights.

So, the next time you're gearing up to present your designs, remember: it's not just what you show but how you show it that truly matters.

CLICK HERE to download a PDF transcription of this episode. This transcript was created with the help of AI and transcription tools. It has not been edited for errors or accuracy.

Contact me

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com

My Voice-Over Guy.

Resourceful Designer podcast intros are performed by the amazing Wayne Henderson of MediaVoiceOvers.com. Wayne is available to help you with any voice-over work you require.