ADVICE / 26
today’s question: “how do you walk away from a project if it isn’t going well or is taking too long?
it’s unfortunate when a project has to come to an end before it’s actually finished. it could be creative differences or it’s just dragging on and on. if you can’t agree on the creative, hopefully you had a clause in your contract that says you are to be paid for the amount of work done if the project ends before it’s finished. or you could bite the bullet and just give them what they want so it will be over. you don’t have to show it to anyone and you could design your own version for your portfolio so you have something to show for all the work you put into it.
if it’s dragging on and on due to neglect from your client i suggest sending an invoice for the work you’ve completed and tell your client you’re there when they’re ready to pick the project back up again. in my timeline on my contracts i allot for feedback on designs. i give them 2-3 days for their turnaround. hopefully if you’re respecting the due dates, they are too.
this did happen to me once a few years ago and i remember at the time feeling really bummed out about it, like i had failed at my job. looking back now i realize that we just had really different visions for the project and we were both being stubborn. we ended up parting ways on good terms – i was paid for my time and luckily is wasn’t a big ordeal. usually you will be able to feel it out if your client is unhappy and you have a couple of choices: take this as a challenge and see if you can come up with a creative solution or you can ask them if they are interested in parting ways and finding a designer they might jive with a little better.
to avoid these situations i usually ask for a folder of photos (or an inspiration pinboard) from my client with their ideas for their project. in return, i usually do a quick mood board with my ideas to make sure we are in line. it doesn’t have to be super detailed but it will give you both a look into how it will be working with each other and if it will be a good fit.
and to steer away from projects dragging on and on, you must set the precedent. email your clients in a timely manner, and be very organized when explaining to them the next steps in the design process (i like to make lists for them of things i need by a certain day. example: “1. please provide bio and portrait photo by friday 2. i will need the final categories by EOD”) give people a checklist if you want results — everyone likes checklists!