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End The Endless Cycle Of Design Revision

December 15, 2021 | Design

Revisions can be extraordinarily frustrating, but we make them anyway, and we do so for a reason. Revisions bring the work closer to the project’s objectives, ensure the design fits with the target audience, and overall, make sure the client is happy with the final result. That being said, it isn’t a perfect process. Designers often end up making more edits to the original work than they initially signed up for, and while some of that is just part of the job, at a certain point, those edits are no longer worth the artist’s time. Luckily, there are a few ways to put an end to the endless cycle of design revision. While the review stage is crucial to the creative process, it doesn’t need to last forever.

Understand The Brief

The creative brief, a short document outlining the project’s strategy, is the foundation of any design project; it provides clarity, acts as a guide, and gives the artist the full picture of the project’s objectives and goals. Assuming the client doesn’t change their mind about what they want (and they might), the success of the design is often reflected in how closely the end result matches what the brief laid out. 

Misinterpreting even one section of the brief can be disastrous; nothing crushes the spirit like showing a client your finished masterpiece only to have them tell you that it looks nothing like what they were hoping for. By gaining a complete and thorough understanding of the brief before diving into the work, artists can rest assured that they are moving in the right direction from the start. Not only will this prevent you from working off of the wrong information, but understanding the brief can significantly reduce the rounds of design revision necessary, as the brief will help you create a design that aligns with the client’s vision. 

Make A Design Revision Plan In The Work Contract

The next step in ending the endless cycle of design revision, and an important step at that, is to work your terms for revisions into the graphic design contract. By clarifying exactly how revisions work, you leave no room (or at least, less room) for clients to ask you for more than you signed up for. 

Lay Out How Revisions Work

Sometimes, clients truly are looking to take advantage of the artist they hire, but more often than not, clients will ask too much of designers simply because they don’t know how the process is supposed to work; they aren’t aware of what all goes into bringing the final piece to life. The solution, then, is to let them know. Designers can do this by keeping their clients in the loop as they move through revisions. For instance, you could send an email at the start of each round of design revision that reiterates the changes the client has requested and specifies which round you’re on. By doing this, clients will not only be clear on what they can expect from you, but be confident that the project is moving forward as it should.  

Clarify What Counts As A Design Revision 

The term “design revision” isn’t all that specific – depending on who you ask, a revision could be anything from changing the color of the text to basically starting from scratch. So, to make sure you and the client are on the same page regarding what qualifies as a revision, you’ll need to clarify what counts as a major revision, what counts as a minor revision, and how you plan on billing both of those possibilities it in your work contract. It can help to provide a few examples of each. 

In addition, you’ll also want to clarify what constitutes a round of revisions. An easy way to do this is to set a specific amount of time for clients to give their comments after sending the work over for review (making sure the timeframe is long enough for them to fully articulate their thoughts). Then, the changes you make to the design based on that set of feedback will count as one round of revisions. 

Set A Limit For Revisions

To prevent any misunderstandings from occurring down the line, it’s best to specify how many rounds of revisions you are willing to make right off the bat. The exact number will likely vary depending on how complicated the project is, but regardless, it should be clearly stated in your work contract. This will ensure that you aren’t working more than you anticipated (or at least, not too much more) and that the client feels they are getting what they paid for. 

However, there may be times when a client wants additional revisions that aren’t included in your original agreement, and in those situations, you have a few options. You could say “no” outright, but if you want to keep a strong relationship with the client, you may be better off just billing them for the additional time (assuming they don’t ask for too much of it). The key is to describe the procedure for those extra revisions in your contract, as that will help make sure the client is aware of your terms and conditions before asking you to do the extra work. 

Another option, depending on how generous you feel, is to provide a few extra revisions free of charge. Of course, you don’t want to make a habit of this, but providing complimentary revisions every once in a while could be a great way to build a positive relationship with the client and prove that you’ll go out of your way to make their project a success.  

Utilize Proofing Software

A well-written, well-understood creative brief and a thorough design contract can go a long way in shortening the revision process, but to truly streamline review and approval, you’ll need some help from technology. Proofing software all but guarantees that the feedback you receive is useful, your work stays on track, and communications run smoothly. 

Improved Feedback

Like misunderstanding the brief or having an inadequate work contract, poor quality feedback can throw a wrench in your timeline. When feedback isn’t clear, revisions stretch out far longer than necessary, designers end up implementing the wrong changes, and time gets wasted redoing work. That’s where proofing software comes in. With Ashore, you can rest assured that the feedback you receive will be clear, direct, and actionable. Instead of making vague comments regarding the piece as a whole, reviewers are put in a position to point to something directly and talk about it, as their feedback is tied to a specific location on the proof. 

Automated Communications 

Proofing software also has the potential to reduce the time spent on design revision by automating communication. Quite often, designers send over their work for review, then are left waiting around for the client to actually do so. This issue is only made worse as more people become involved; getting one person to review the work in a timely manner is hard enough, but getting 5, 10, or 15 becomes close to impossible. So, the artist has to spend their time sending out email after email reminding them to review, which can get tedious. By automating communications, this burden is transferred to the software. On Ashore, you can send fully customizable emails reminding clients to review automatically – you can even specify the time of day you send them. 

Get Your Designs Approved Faster With Ashore

With contextual commenting to foster better feedback, automated communication to reduce the burden placed on designers, version stacking and categorized cloud storage to keep artists organized, and proof timelines to make the process as transparent as possible, Ashore has all of the tools you need for a better review. Once you set up your workflow, the process practically runs itself. 

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