7 Tips to Improving Client-designer Relationships
Having a good relationship with your client improves the design process, creating an atmosphere of trust and collaboration. But everyone has different styles of working and personalities. Learn what you can do to improve client-designer relationships and set your projects up for success. How using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can better the client-designer relationship Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid Before we dig into our tips, we’re going to take a moment to explore their foundation: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s pyramid is a motivational theory in psychology that explains the different tiers of basic human needs and wants. While it may not seem like a perfect model, if simplified, the pyramid gives us an overview of what we require as individuals to prosper. The hierarchy of this pyramid can help us better navigate the client-designer relationship, showing how a mutually beneficial partnership can form when both people get what they require. Let’s take a climb up Maslow’s pyramid and see how each level applies to the client-designer relationship. Physiological The bottom level is physiological. These are the basic necessities we need to stay alive, including food, water, and sleep. If you have these covered, you’re ready to do things like design and have meetings with clients. But if you don’t, and you overextend yourself with late-nights and junk food, you may hinder your ability to stay focused. Take care of these needs so you can have the energy and peace of mind to be the designer you’re capable of being. Safety In Maslow’s case, safety has to do with physical safety. But, this can also translate to things like safety in a job, resources, or a housing situation. In a client-designer relationship, both of you need to feel supported and know that your ideas matter. Mutual respect for each others’ viewpoints and open lines of communication make for a sense of well being. Psychological safety means that neither of you leads with your emotions. Great clients are great communicators. And open communication makes for a better design process. Your client relationship will be that much stronger when you both feel secure. Love/Belonging Love and belongingness makes up the third level. Don’t let that word love throw you off — this stage is about friendship and a sense of connection. If you and your clients’ personalities clash, the design process can suffer from the lack of any sort of bond. We’re not saying you need to be best buds with your client. But at the heart of any relationship is trust and acceptance. It makes for a better working relationship knowing your client trusts your abilities. Esteem So let’s climb up Maslow’s pyramid up to the next stage — esteem. Self-esteem, confidence, achievement, and respect are the pillars of this tier. A good client-designer relationship should have both parties secure in their self-worth. A client wants to feel good about their progress in a project and have the confidence that they’re fulfilling their role. Like any relationship, you shouldn’t feel cruddy about yourself. Both you and your client are there to boost each other up and support each other in making a project the best it can be. Avoid being dismissive, and don’t undercut your client’s input and ideas. Doing so could leave your client with a bad experience — slowing down the design process. If the way your client treats you makes you question your value, you’re going to struggle with the process. Self-actualization Going up to the very top of the pyramid is self-actualization. Okay … stay with me. Maslow states that this level is, “to become everything one…
Like to keep reading?
This article first appeared on webflow.com. If you'd like to keep reading, follow the white rabbit.