A Guide for Design Clients: How prepping your brief better could save you time, money and a headache!

A Guide for Design Clients

Are you a design client looking to streamline your collaboration with a design agency? Do you want to ensure your projects stay on budget and are delivered promptly? Or have you come to pay the bill and didn’t expect such a large sum on project management?

In this blog, we’ll explore how investing time in preparing a thorough design brief can ultimately save you both time and money.

The Power of Preparation

They say that proper preparation prevents poor performance, and nowhere is this truer than in the realm of design projects. By investing time upfront to prepare a comprehensive design brief, you set the stage for success and avoid costly delays down the road.

Approving Copy and Collecting Content

Before engaging with a design agency, ensure that your copy is finalised and approved internally. Providing the agency with approved copy saves time and reduces the risk of costly author’s corrections later on. Additionally, gather all relevant images, logos (in different formats), and other content assets beforehand to speed up the design process.

*Brownie points if you are a new client to the agency send over your brand guidelines so that the agency can understand your identity, rules and layouts.


Provide Examples and Preferences

Communication is key when working with a design agency. Spend time gathering examples of designs you like (and dislike) to provide the agency with a clear understanding of your preferences. This helps minimise revisions and ensures the final product aligns with your vision.

Setting Clear Deadlines

Time is money, and missed deadlines can result in costly delays. Clearly communicate your project timeline and set realistic deadlines for each stage of the design process. This helps keep the project on track and prevents rushed, last-minute revisions that can drive up costs.

Internal Sign-off and Timely Responses

Involve all relevant stakeholders in the design process from the outset. Ensure that your internal sign-off committee is aware of project timelines and deliverables to avoid delays caused by indecision or unexpected revisions. Additionally, commit to providing timely responses to emails and feedback from the design agency to keep the project moving forward smoothly.

Feedback and Revisions

Clear and timely feedback is crucial for ensuring that the design agency understands your vision and can make necessary revisions efficiently. Provide constructive feedback and be specific about any changes or adjustments you’d like to see. This helps prevent misunderstandings and minimises the need for extensive revisions.

In conclusion, investing time in preparing a thorough design brief can lead to significant time and cost savings throughout the design process. By approving copy, collecting content, providing examples and preferences, setting clear deadlines, involving internal stakeholders, and providing timely feedback, you can streamline your collaboration with a design agency and ensure successful project outcomes.

Remember, preparation is the key to success!

Now you’ve prepped your brief, want to send it to us? Get in touch today!

Cracking the Comms Code: Let’s Conquer The Annual Report Labyrinth

annual report

It’s time to venture into the labyrinth that is the annual report – those enigmatic puzzles of paperwork that both challenge and intrigue us! We get it, the struggle is real, from deciphering the data to dealing with cryptic feedback from Sue in finance who seems to speak in riddles – no offence, Sue.

At Be Smart Design, we’ve got the map and the compass to guide you through this maze of paperwork with style and flair!

Balancing Info and Fun

Alright, let’s be real here—annual reports can be be as intricate as a maze, with twists and turns, surrounded by walls of information that leave us feeling lost. But who says informative can’t also be fun? We’ll help you map out your reports whilst taking you through the scenic route – keeping your report fresh and engaging without losing the important stuff.

Running from the boulder of deadlines

Ah, the crushing weight of deadlines—they seem to come hurling at you out of no where! With our lightning-fast workflow and a dash of creative caffeine, we’ll leave those deadlines in the dust without breaking a sweat.

Illuminate the way with your brand

Your brand deserves to shine, so why settle for anything less than stellar? We’ll sprinkle some pizzazz into your reports to keep that brand essence bright for everyone to see, ensuring your report beams “YOU” from start to finish.

Breaking down barriers

Everyone should have a chance to join the discussion, right? That’s why we’re all about making your reports accessible to everyone. Whether it’s adding some forward-thinking features or just keeping things simple and easy to read, we’ve got you covered.

Handling Stakeholder Expectations Like a Pro

Stakeholders can sometimes present challenges, but we’ve got your back. We’ll help with navigating their expectations and ensuring everyone walks away satisfied.

Keeping Compliance Cool

Regulations, rules—whatever you want to call them, they can be a headache! With our keen eye for detail and knack for staying on the straight and narrow, you can trust us to keep your reports compliant, legit, and ready to impress even the toughest critic!

So, there you have it, folks—annual reports, decoded by Be Smart Design! With us at your side, annual reports will become not just a task, but a thrilling adventure full of fun, flair, and boundless creativity! 

Get in touch to let us help you achieve annual report success!

Unlocking the Recipe: The Key Ingredients for Your Social Housing Annual Report

annual report
annual report

It’s time to get that annual report cooking – so grab your apron and preheat those ovens! Just like baking a cake, creating your annual report requires the perfect blend of ingredients and a dash of creativity – but we highly recommend adding a sprinkle of Be Smart for extra flavour and guaranteed great results.

Mission and Vision

Think of your mission and vision as the key ingredients that give your report its solid foundation. Think of them as the flour that binds everything together, giving your report its structure and shape.

Financial Overview

Let’s not forget about the financials—they’re the butter and eggs that give your report its richness. Lay it all out, from revenue and expenses to investments in community development. Transparency is key, so make sure your financials are as smooth as butter!

Performance Highlights

Now it’s time to add some sugar to your report—those sweet, irresistible highlights from the past year. Whether it’s reaching housing targets, boosting tenant satisfaction, or championing community projects, these sweet successes will make your report sparkle.

Tenant Engagement and Feedback

Now, let’s add the secret ingredient—the voices of your tenants that give your report depth and flavour. Share their feedback, testimonials, and insights to show how you’re listening and responding to their needs

Community Impact

Time to add some sprinkles to your report—those little bursts of colour and joy that make it truly special. Share stories and victories that showcase the impact you’re making in people’s lives and communities.

Sustainability Initiatives

Let’s go green! Think of your sustainability initiatives as the organic ingredients that make your report eco-friendly and sustainable. Share your projects and initiatives, showing how you’re reducing your carbon footprint and making your community greener and cleaner.

Future Plans and Challenges

And now, let’s preheat the oven for what’s to come! Outline your future plans and challenges—the recipe for success in the years ahead. Share your strategic priorities, upcoming projects, and potential hurdles, demonstrating your forward-thinking approach. Just like adjusting the oven temperature for the perfect bake, these plans will ensure your community continues to rise and shine!

Engaging Design

And now that your cake is baked and cooled down, this is where the exciting part comes in – decorating the cake! Good design is the frosting that makes that cake too tempting to resist, keeping your readers engaged. From captivating graphics to intuitive layouts, a well-designed report enhances readability and ensures your message shines through.

With this fool-proof recipe and our creative flair, we’ll transform your annual report from a bland flan with a soggy bottom to a dazzling three tier masterpiece that will have your stakeholders asking for an extra slice. 

Get in touch today to discuss how we can help make this your best annual report season yet!

Calling all Comms people in Social Housing! Feeling overwhelmed about annual reports?

At Be Smart Design, we understand the pressures that come with annual report season for social housing providers. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce our latest campaign, ‘Be Smart Stress Less’, designed specifically to support social housing providers in creating stunning annual reports without the hassle.

So, you’re a busy communications manager, juggling multiple tasks, and the looming deadline for your annual report is causing stress levels to rise. And here comes our secret pink package – a delightful surprise filled with branded pink goodies carefully curated to take the stress out of your annual report preparations.

But that’s not all – along with our charming pink package, we’re offering our expertise in annual report design. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, including extensive work with social housing providers, we’ve mastered the art of crafting compelling annual reports that captivate stakeholders and convey your organisation’s message with clarity and impact.


Why choose Be Smart Design for your annual report needs?
Here’s what sets us apart:

The Experience
With three decades of experience under our belt, we’ve honed our skills in designing annual reports that exceed expectations. We understand the unique needs and challenges of social housing providers and tailor our approach accordingly.

The Know-how
From financial statements to complex data visualisation, we have the knowledge and expertise to handle all aspects of annual report design. You can trust us to deliver professional results that showcase your organisations achievements and impact.

The Creativity
Annual reports don’t have to be dull and uninspiring. Our team of creative professionals brings fresh ideas and innovative design concepts to the table, ensuring your annual report stands out from the crowd and leaves a lasting impression.

So, why stress when you can ‘Be Smart Stress Less’ with Be Smart Design? Take the first step towards a stress-free annual report season by sending your annual report project our way. Let us handle the design, so you can focus on what you do best – making a difference in the lives of those you serve.

Not convinced yet? Feel free to check out our portfolio to view our work, or take a gander at our home page to read some testimonials from other happy clients.

Get in touch today – and let’s make this annual report season your best one yet!

The art of visual storytelling: how to use design to tell your story

In a world that’s chock-a-block with content, it’s not just what you say but how you say it that counts. The art of visual storytelling is the secret weapon to make your brand not just stand out, but pop like a fireworks display in a pitch-black sky. Dive into this useful guide and discover how to use design to tell your story in the most eye-catching way possible.

Unravel the plot

First things first – you need to know your story. Gone are the days of just pushing products. We’re all about creating narratives that make people feel something, that make them want to be besties with your brand. But before you unleash your creativity, take a moment to jot down what gets your brand’s heart racing. What makes it tick? What’s its story? What makes you different from the rest?

Create captivating characters

Now that you’ve got the essence of your brand, it’s time to put a face to it. When it comes to your brand’s characters, whether it’s a lovable mascot, a charismatic spokesperson, or even unique typography, it’s important to capture your brand’s personality. Be true to yourself and your brand, and above all, make it unforgettable!

Set the scene

Your brand’s visual identity is the captivating stage where your story unfolds. Choose colours, shapes, and patterns that truly reflect your brand’s vibe and core values. Consider how these captivating elements can blend harmoniously, creating a sense of movement and depth. Oh, and consistency is key! You don’t want your audience to feel like they stumbled upon a completely different story with unexpected plot twists. Keep it cohesive and ensure your brand’s visual identity remains true throughout.

Book person teeny

Make them laugh, make them cry
A good story has emotional ups and downs. So, don’t be afraid to play with emotions in your design. Use contrast and surprise to keep your audience engaged and eager for more. Be bold and take risks, but don’t go overboard. After all, you want your brand to stand out, not stick out like a sore thumb.

The power of the picture

There’s a reason why they say “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Visuals have the power to convey your brand’s story in an instant. So go ahead and unleash your creativity! Embrace striking images, whimsical doodles, or even playful GIFs if they align with your brand’s personality. However, make sure they stay in harmony with your brand’s overall aesthetic and, most importantly, remain faithful to your story’s narrative. Let your visuals be a compelling reinforcement of your brand’s message.

Put it all together

Now that you have all the ingredients at your disposal, it’s time to create your visual storytelling masterpiece. Use hierarchy and composition strategically to guide your audience through the narrative, ensuring that they’re engaged and informed at every step. And don’t forget to conclude with a compelling call to action that leaves a lasting impact. It’s the final touch that will truly make your story shine.

So, there you have it – the art of visual storytelling in six simple steps. Go forth and weave your brand’s tale in a way that’ll leave your audience craving more. And if you need a helping hand, don’t be shy – reach out to a distinguished and top-rated design agency like ours. We’re all about taking risks, being assertive, and helping brands tell their stories in the most irresistible way possible.

7 hot branding topics of the year

We’re coming to the end of 2023, so we wanted to share the hottest branding topics that are currently setting the industry ablaze.

At Be Smart, we pride ourselves on staying at the forefront of what’s in, what’s out, and maintaining a playful and light-hearted  approach to not scare people off. So, get ready to explore the cutting-edge branding strategies that are captivating audiences right now in the ever-evolving landscape of creativity.

Engaging audiences through sensory branding

Sensory branding takes engagement to a whole new level by creating immersive multi-sensory experiences. Can you recall the chirp of Skype’s incoming call, the swoosh of an email being sent from an iPhone, or the percussive theme of Netflix’s start-up? These are all examples of sound branding.

Sound branding can have a powerful psychological effect and can be used to trigger specific emotions or actions. A distinctive and consistent sound can also increase brand recognition, making your brand easily identifiable amidst the noise of the market.

Whether  it’s a catchy jingle, an engaging podcast, or an immersive VR experience, sound branding can create an additional touchpoint that engages your audience in a unique and memorable way.

Minimalist branding: the power of simplicity and elegance

Sometimes, less is more. We’re noticing a clear trend in the branding world – minimalist design is proving that simplicity can have a significant impact. Brands are increasingly leaning towards straightforward designs, clean typography, and uncluttered aesthetics.

The idea here is to eliminate unnecessary fluff, allowing a brand to shape an identity that is sleek, refined, and instils a sense of confidence. Subdued colour palettes, generous use of white space, and the principles of minimalist aesthetics combine to create a bold yet understated statement. In a world where simplicity speaks volumes, minimalist branding is truly finding its footing.

Storyliving; the rise of immersive narratives

Step into the realm of “story living”, where storytelling transcends the boundaries of traditional marketing. Instead of simply telling a story, immerse your audience in a narrative that transports them to another world. Through interactive experiences, virtual reality, or augmented reality, you can engage your audience on a deeper level and make them active participants in your brand’s story. Prepare to leave a lasting impression by creating unforgettable adventures that blur the lines between fiction and reality.

Celebrating diversity through inclusive branding
The modern landscape of branding demands inclusivity. It’s all about appreciating the diverse facets of society, dismantling stereotypes, and fostering a universal sense of belonging. It’s crucial to include diversity in your visuals, communicate inclusive messages, and weave this ethos into your brand narrative.

By nurturing an environment that reflects a variety of experiences, your brand can connect with an expanded audience pool. Your commitment to equality and inclusivity won’t just make a significant social impact, it will also allow your brand to make a positive impact and resonate with a wider scope of customers. The message is clear – inclusivity isn’t just beneficial, it’s an absolute necessity in today’s world.

Interactive packaging: engaging consumers with interactive design

Gone are the days when packaging was just a container to carry a product. Now, it’s a unique opportunity to entertain and charm your customers. Interactive packaging brings together design, tech, and a dose of playfulness to craft an unforgettable unboxing journey.

Think of QR codes revealing exclusive digital content or tactile elements that appeal to more than just the eyes. Cutting-edge packaging designs hold the potential to enthrall  your audience, making the interaction memorable even after the purchase is made. So, let’s break the mould and make packaging an exciting part of the customer experience!

Sustainable branding: saving the planet, one bold brand at a time

Now’s the time to roll out your green ethos and show the world that sustainability is more than a buzzword for your brand. Sustainable branding is no longer optional; it’s an expression of your mission.

Let’s put the spotlight on your dedication to a more sustainable future, showcasing your eco-friendly practices, and enthusiastically broadcasting your green initiatives.

Brace yourself to appeal to an ever-growing cohort of eco-aware consumers who aren’t just looking for brands that talk a good game, but actually play one. Embrace sustainability, and watch your brand resonate on a whole new level.

If you’re eager to unleash our design prowess and work some branding magic, reach out to us! Let’s collaborate and create something extraordinary together.

How To Lead The Way and Gain Trust On Social Media

Housing Associations, you’ve got a mixed bag of folk to reach out to, which means your marketing communications, especially social media, need a touch of TLC. Your social media managers will be juggling a whole circus of news, from shiny new builds to the latest buzz from the local community. The question is, how do you shine out from the crowd and really connect with your audience?

Well, we’re here to give you a leg up. Stay tuned for our savvy tips on how to master the social media game and win over your audience’s trust. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Be different by being authentic

Authenticity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the star player in the game of trust, particularly in the digital playground of social media. Let’s wave goodbye to faux smiles and posts that paint an incessantly rosy picture. It’s time to bring some raw honesty into the frame.

Social media is the stage for authenticity and transparency, so don’t tuck away your mistakes in a corner. Be brave enough to admit when things have gone pear-shaped and address your followers’ concerns head-on.

But remember, it’s not just about holding your hands up; it’s also about how you right the wrongs. Discuss how you’ve tackled the problem, and elaborate on the new measures you’ve introduced to prevent a replay. That, my friends, is how you build trust with your followers and keep them coming back for more!

Bromford – Cyber Incident: How would you talk about it?

Choosing the right social media channels

Social media is a brilliant tool to connect with your residents and stakeholders. But remember, not all channels are created equal. So, it’s about creating content that fits like a glove for each audience.

Think TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook for customer and resident engagement, and keep LinkedIn and Twitter in your arsenal for business and corporate communications. There might be some overlap, particularly for companies who’ve got their ears to the ground to understand how residents feel.

However, it’s always a smarter move to create bespoke social content for different platforms than to churn out the same message across all channels. Trust me, your followers will thank you for giving them a tailored experience!

Respond quickly, and honestly

To show your followers you genuinely value their two pennies’ worth, it’s crucial to respond promptly and honestly to their comments and messages. This shows you’re all ears and ready for a chat.

Setting up alerts can be a handy trick to ensure you don’t let any interactions slip through the net. But, let’s not forget the personal touch. Avoid sounding like a robot, and mix up your responses so they don’t all kick off with the same old line. Remember, it’s not just about what you say, but how you say it.

And when it comes to complaints, honesty is always the best policy. Avoid biting off more than you can chew by promising something you can’t deliver. Always aim to take the complaints off the public stage as professionally as you can.

With this approach, you’re all set to build a loyal following and bolster your relationship with your audience. After all, every good conversation starts with good listening.

Use social media to showcase your work

Social media is a great way to share stories and highlight the good work that your organisation is doing. Share photos and videos of your work, and share testimonials from satisfied residents. People will trust reviews over the Housing Association’s word, so get lots of reviews and case studies that external parties can research into themselves.

Consider hiring a social media manager

If you don’t have the time or resources to manage your social media accounts effectively, consider hiring a social media manager to help you. This person can handle day-to-day tasks like responding to comments and posting updates, freeing you up to focus on other important tasks.

Ready to lead the way? Contact us today.

How involved should you as a client get in the design process?

As a branding and design agency, we’re all about injecting a sense of playfulness, exhilaration, and a dash of daring into our work. We’re self-assured in our skills and delight in working with clients who are ready to push the boundaries and take a chance on something new.

While we value our clients’ unique creative visions, it’s not uncommon for us to meet clients with a rather precise concept, leaving little wiggle room for input. We acknowledge that clients possess diverse views on their brand identity, but here’s the thing – design is a collaborative process! We need to work together to create something that meets your goals while maintaining the overall quality of the design. Have faith in us; we’re the professionals, and we’ve got this down to a fine art.

We take the time to listen to our clients’ ideas and provide them with our professional opinion, it’s important for clients to know that their intentions are well-meaning, and our ultimate goal is to help our clients achieve their vision while creating a design that resonates with their audience.

Change is scary

Switching things up can be a bit nerve-wracking, and many clients prefer to play it safe. They think that if their look has always been a certain way, it should stay that way. However, we’re here to tell you that sticking to the tried-and-true isn’t always the best plan. Just take a look at Apple, a brand that’s transformed over time while staying true to its core values. Recognised worldwide, its logo even morphed into a trendy status symbol. We cheer on our clients to be daring and let their creative juices flow when it comes to their brand identity.


Working with the client

When clients bring their ideas to the table, we handpick the finest ones and mix them with our own imaginative flair. Our mission is to craft a design that embodies the client’s desires and the essence of their branding. And, let’s face it, we’re head over heels for clients who want to shake things up, ditch the old look, and embrace something zesty, thrilling, and attention-grabbing. But, here’s the catch, clients sometimes get cold feet and veer towards safer, run-of-the-mill designs because they’re hesitant to push the boat out.  Or they have an executive board who are more conservative in their views, despite the client avatar.

This can be disappointing, but what’s more upsetting is when they ask for one thing but mean something different. This usually happens when the client doesn’t have a clear idea of what they want or who their target audience is. We understand that design is just like writing; it needs a clear plan, a purpose, and a lot of expertise. But that is where we come in with the right questioning technique and sometimes moodboards.

Leave it to the experts

We understand that clients have their own creative vision, but sometimes it’s best to leave it to the experts. We have the expertise to identify design elements that only work in a particular design. Believing in the design journey is the secret sauce for success, and trust us, we don’t want you to end up with a lacklustre look.

A dud design can leave a substantial dent on a business. It’s akin to rocking a dodgy haircut; it messes with your mojo and overall aura. Loads of folks tolerate subpar designs and are gobsmacked by the traffic boost when we spruce things up. But, some clients struggle to envision the long-term oomph of the design. That’s why it’s vital to let us unveil the magic that could unfold once you take that daring plunge.

Put your trust in the design adventure and believe in our know-how. We get that you have your own vision, but come on, let us work our magic! Together, we’ll whip up a design that captures your brand’s spirit and gives your business a brilliant boost.

So, if you’re ready to take that leap and create a design that resonates with your audience, get in touch with us. We’re here to help, and we promise it’ll be a fun and exciting ride.

What are the three building blocks of successful marketing?

Marketing – it feels like the buzzword of the decade, doesn’t it? You can’t spend more than three seconds online without seeing someone talking, tweeting or TikTok-ing about it, with promises of sneaky strategies that will transform your business.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all, allow us to chuck a lifebuoy and bring it back to the bare bones! From our seasoned know-how, successful marketing boils down to three building blocks: Message, Market, and Media. Get these sorted in your marketing strategy, and you’ve got yourself a rock-solid springboard for business growth that you can buff up and blossom over the years.


Let’s start with Message, which let’s face it, is the whole point of marketing. What’s your business trying to communicate? Whatever your message is, it should be clear, concise, and compelling. Think about what sets your brand apart from the competition; does your audience know about it? Pop a spotlight on the one-of-a-kind perks that your product or service brings to the table. What problem can you solve for your customers?

Message: Now, when we think about the message, we’ve got to give a good think about the tone of voice we’re using. Are we going for a bit of a chit-chat vibe or is your crowd a bit more bookish? Would a cheeky tone hit the spot or is the topic a bit on the sombre side? Having a chinwag about the tone of voice will give your message a realness, and it’s more likely to get all ears on deck. It’s also important to dig into the pain of your client, learn what they’re struggling with and how you can help them the most.


Your “market” is the gang who really need to catch wind of your message. They could be business gurus, parents of ankle-biters of a certain age, retired lovebirds, or just folk with a specific snag to sort out. Nailing your target market is absolutely vital; it calls the shots on how you relay your message and which media channels you pull out of the bag. Retired folks probably won’t be hanging out on LinkedIn, but they might be inspired by a well-crafted leaflet popping through their letterbox, for instance.

For this building block, you’ll need to have a look at demographics, psychographics, and behaviour. Sounds all scientific, right? Demographics include factors like age, gender, income, and education level, while psychographics are all about personality traits, values, attitudes, and lifestyle. Behaviour is all about how your target audience gets cosy with your product or service; how often they nab it, why they grab it, and how they put it to work.

So, it’s a total waste to shout your message to folks who’ll never give your product a whirl, so get specific! Doing a bit of market research and rustling up buyer profiles can help you nab some solid gold insights into your ideal customers. Dive deep into their needs, wants, and what gets them going. Sounds like a bit of a palaver, but take it from us, this will make your marketing that much more gripping and engaging.



Lastly, but by no means least, is media. This is the ‘how’ of marketing, the path that your message trots along to reach your market. There’s a head-spinning smorgasbord of media channels out there, including print, broadcast, digital, and social media.

So which media channels should you have a punt at? Maybe just a handful, maybe the whole kit and caboodle. The secret sauce is sussing out which ones your audience is tuned into on the regular. Your work on target audiences should give you a leg up here, as you ought to have a decent idea of how your potential customers roll. If they’re buzzing on social media, zero in on content for their fave platforms and think about splashing out on a few adverts too.

This is where a bit of try-it-and-see comes into play, because when it comes to marketing moolah, there are no dead certs! It’s all too easy to get carried away and blow all your budget in one spot, so take a breath and decide what’s the bee’s knees for your business. Running ads or pay-per-clicks can rack up the pennies, whereas social media channels are free to use but need a hefty dose of time and elbow grease to keep the engagement cranking.

Review and Refine

So, there you have it, the three cheeky building blocks of successful marketing – Message, Market, and Media. Hopefully, this blog has given you a glimpse of how essential they are for a cracking marketing strategy.

Once you’ve brewed a clear and captivating message, pegged your market, and picked the top-notch media channels, you’re off to the races! Now you can whip up a dazzling marketing campaign that will turbocharge your business’s growth and success.

And it doesn’t stop there, oh no! You can use these three crafty building blocks as a way to give your marketing the once-over year on year. Sometimes you’ll need to tweak one, two, or all three of them as your business and audience shape-shifts and grows. And who knows what new-fangled media channels will rock up on the scene in the future!

If you can take a bit of time to review and refine your marketing strategy, you’ll stay one step ahead of the pack and continue to grow and succeed in this madcap world. And if it all gets a bit too much and you’re in need of a bit of backup, get in touch to see how we can help you.

How to successfully onboard a design client

Customer onboarding is like the second date of business relationships – you’ve impressed them on the first date, now it’s time to get a bit more serious! It requires a little persuasive charm, a lot of honest communication, and will be a critical part of sealing the deal with your potential client.    

What’s client onboarding?

Client onboarding is the nitty gritty of turning a potential client into a paying one. You want them to sign on the dotted line for what will hopefully be a long-lasting creative collaboration. But first, you’ll need to address their concerns  and make sure they fully understand your design services and how you operate.

Think of it like a journey from your first ‘hello’ to the day you start working on their project. Onboarding is your chance to discuss with the new client:

  • What kind of service you’ll provide
  • What their role is in the partnership
  • How you’ll keep in touch with each other
  • When and how you’ll invoice
  • And of course, all the juicy details about how it’ll all come together

Why is client onboarding important?

Let’s look at this from two angles.

From the client’s point of view:

It can be nerve-wracking to choose a new supplier, who is, let’s face it, a relative stranger. And clients may not know  how partnering with a design agency works. But proper onboarding is like a sneak peek into the magical world of design. Show them the ropes and help them understand what it’s like to work with you, and they’ll feel a lot more confident about their decision.

From the supplier’s point of view:

Onboarding is not just a chance to get to know your clients (although that’s a big part of it). It’s also an opportunity to wrap your heads around the design project and get a feel for their communication style too. At this stage you can also share your ‘plan of attack’ with the client, letting them know what they can expect of you and vice versa.

Filter out ‘bad’ clients

There will be some clients that just   And let’s be honest, some that would just be a nightmare to deal with! The onboarding process is a great way to weed out these ‘bad’ clients before either of you makes a commitment. And it’s a two-way street; a chance for both parties to suss each other out and decide if you want to work together.  

Show them what you’re made of!

Finally, the onboarding process is a great opportunity to show off your skills and prove that you’re the design gurus they’ve been searching for. By doing this you’re putting their minds at ease, sealing the deal, and getting the relationship off to a great start.


What happens without a good onboarding process?

Without a top-notch onboarding process, you’re likely to either deluge a potential client with info overload or leave them feeling a bit, well…meh. It’s all about serving up just the right amount of detail to reassure them that you’re the bee’s knees, but without launching an all-out info blitz.

Remember the real nitty-gritty of onboarding – it’s about sharing what a potential client needs to know, and importantly, lending an ear to their questions and worries. The end goal is to make the journey of hiring a designer as smooth as a very smooth thing.

A dodgy onboarding process will leave the client with a sour taste, and the chances of them bringing your design agency on board will be slim. But, do it well, and they’ll be convinced there’s no one else they’d rather tango with than you!

If you’re racking up enquiries from potential clients faster than a magpie collects shiny things, but very few are converting into paying clients, then it’s definitely time for a good ol’ rethink.

Client onboarding gives you direction

Kicking off a fresh creative project with a client is always a bit like opening a box of fireworks. Ideas are buzzing around like sparklers, and everyone’s buzzing about the potential. But, without a compass, you’ll soon find yourselves wandering aimlessly in the creative wilderness.

Enter stage left: Bangin’ client onboarding. With a well-mapped plan and timetable for the project, you can delegate roles, share out responsibilities, and set expectations for all those involved. This framework makes the whole shindig a lot smoother, sidestepping any unexpected curveballs or crossed wires.

Once you’ve cracked the art of onboarding clients, it’ll be as breezy as a Sunday afternoon stroll. You’ll be strutting with confidence, comfy as a well-worn pair of trainers in your process, and clients will be well impressed with your orderly and top-notch approach.

Consider a Welcome Pack

How about rolling out the red carpet with a top-notch Welcome Pack? This is your golden chance to set the vibe for your design agency and give clients a crystal-clear picture of what they’re in for when they team up with you.

A Welcome Pack doesn’t just dish out the need-to-knows about your services, but it also helps sift out clients who might not quite fit the bill. Think of it as a trusty satnav, guiding both you and your client down the road to a triumphant project finish line.

Your Welcome Pack won’t be spilling the beans on all the individual  details (keep that tucked away for proposals and contracts), but it’ll cover the essentials like:

  • Your payment policies
  • Time frames
  • How you work
  • What you expect from your clients
  • How communication typically works

The results of good client onboarding

Strap in for the magic ride that good client onboarding can take you on. You’ll not only watch your potential clients turn into proud, paying customers, but you’ll see them:

  • Stick around for the long haul
  • Turn into loyal brand advocates
  • Snap up more of your products and services

The cherry on top? They’ll become your own little squad of brand cheerleaders, boosting your company’s growth through the timeless power of word-of-mouth. There’s no marketing tool that packs a punch quite like it!

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn’t easy, so pop us a message and we’ll see what we can do to help.