Design is very subjective, so getting the design right on the first time, every time, is a lost cause (although due to inConcert’s extensive Design Brief, we are darn near close more often than not!). There will  always be small tweaks here and there before the client gives their final approval. Here is a compilation of common things that client’s comment on and my common responses/explanations:

10. “Make It Pop a Little More” – I think most graphic designers will agree when I say…please stop using this phrase! While it does tell me that you think something needs more emphasis, it does not give me direction on why you currently don’t think it has enough – as you like to put it – “pop”. Nor does it tell me how you want to see it emphasized. For example, I might think that a design is beautifully emphasized by using a bright green with a white outline on a dark gray background while you think that pink makes it “pop” more – I won’t know this unless you tell me. There are often times where client’s “just don’t know what it is”, which is fine, but any type of detail you can give me on WHY it doesn’t “pop” to you, will be most helpful.

9. “When I Print It Out, It Looks Different” – While this comment holds some weight when we are discussing an actual print project, please realize that when we are working on a web project, the color of your website when printed has little to no bearing on how effective the website will be. Why not? Because your website design will NEVER be printed. Yes, perhaps a page here or there will be printed, but typically the print will not include any background images/color and even when it is printed, it is probably being printed for the content matter, not for the graphics, so please believe me when I say that it’s okay if your website colors look off when you print the design mockup that I sent you.

8. “When I Look At It On a Different Screen The Colors Look a Little Different” – In today’s technology-driven world, there are countless devices that your website will be viewed on. All of these devices come with different calibrations from the associated factory that manufactures it. The colors on my Mac will be calibrated differently from your Dell colors which will be calibrated differently from George’s Android colors. So you have to allow for some slight shift from screen to screen. It is absolutely impossible that every single person will see the exact same color when viewing your website. So again, please believe me when I tell you that this is okay and will not have an effect on the impact of your website.

7. “The Copy is in Latin? Or Maybe Spanish?” – Yes, it is. We use what is called “Lorem Ipsum” as dummy text to fill in the content area while working on your design. This just gives you an idea of what the design will look like with your final text. This is typically used so that the client focuses more on the aesthetics of the design mockup. Otherwise, clients often get caught up in making tweaks to the text area and don’t pay enough attention to the design.

6. “I Don’t Know… Do You Like It?” – I promise you, I will not present a design to you that I, myself, do not like. Unless I have specifically been instructed by the client on where to put things, what colors/images to use and how it looks, l combine the information from our design brief meeting with my own design knowledge and aesthetic preferences to create the initial design that I present. In addition, it goes through peer review by another member of our team before the final draft gets sent for your approval. So, in short,  yes, I do like it.

5. “I Don’t Think We Should Use Any Images” – Some clients don’t realize that most people do NOT look at websites to read. You have a mere 3 seconds to capture someone’s attention before they are gone from your website and I promise you that a screen full of text is not going to create the conversion that you want. You MUST break up text with some type of graphical element whether it is in a header, a sidebar or right in the content area, you need to have a variety of images and graphics used throughout your site to encourage conversion.

4. “We Need to Have Our Email Listed Somewhere”This is a bad idea and here’s why: when you list your email on your website, it makes it so much easier for spam bots to copy the email address and throw it into a spam database. On all of our websites, we implement a contact form which utilizes a CAPTCHA (you know, those messed up, squiggly letters? Spam bots can’t read those.) This will highly cut down on the probability that you will get spam from your website. If the viewer needs to have the option to contact various people/departments, we can always put in a dropdown menu so the message sends to the appropriate person.

3. “Are You Sure That’s OUR [Color]?”  – When you give us pantone colors to work with, we make sure that we use the exact  RGB (or CMYK when printing full color) color values that are specific for your color(s). Sometimes colors might end up looking a little different depending on which colors are adjacent to them in the design. Typically, it’s not THAT off, so leaving it as is will be fine and won’t have much of an impact on your branding effectiveness.

2. “I Really Need to See It Functioning Before I Can Approve The Design” – Over the past 11 years, inConcert has developed an extensive and effective process on how we develop our websites. One of the first phases is the design mockup, we don’t slice it and code it on the first draft as it would be much more time consuming to make design edits once coding is complete. Think about it: When you build a house, do you give the contractor a list of features you want and tell him to go build? Unless you are a very laid-back, go-with-the-flow person without much of an opinion, you need a blueprint first – something that lays out the design so you can blow out that wall, add in that window, or move your kitchen without incurring an outrageous amount of cost. For more on this, read our article Design Phase vs. Code Phase – Why Can’t They Be One?

1. “We’d Really Like The Design to Mimic Our Competitor’s Site – They’re Really Successful, So That Design Must Work” – While there are a great deal of fabulous and effective designs out there, we really can’t just copy the design of someone else’s site – no matter how successful it is.  We can certainly analyze it with you and determine WHY it might be successful and try to use the same type of approach, but we cannot take someone else’s design and put your logo/colors/text into it. However, we do highly encourage you to show us websites that you like at the start of the design phase. Even showing us sites that you don’t like is helpful for us.

Hopefully by reading through these comments/questions, and explanations, it sheds some light on our website design process. Of course, if you need clarification on anything during the design phase, please ask your designer or project manager and they’ll be happy to explain.