I think the single biggest question on a new client’s mind is ‘Can I trust this guy with my designs?’
If I was them, I would be thinking exactly the same thing. They don’t know me and have only ‘met’ me over email and Skype. And now they are expected to share their I.P. in order for me to work on their designs.
In my own mind I am completely trustworthy.. I still want to have a long career in boat design, and short-changing one client would have catastrophic consequences for my business. I have signed many NDAs, and I am sure I will sign many more, this is something I am always happy to do. But there is no substitute for a one-on-one level of trust between the client and myself.
This is where communication comes in, most of the designs that I am working on are from repeat business, very often people I have known for years and developed a solid working relationship with. And of course repeat business is easier than one-off jobs. Once an initial understanding is established, and I have a good idea of what is required by a particular client, it is that much easier when their next job comes around. It enables me to set my design up from the beginning in a format that is best for them.
And with such an emphasis being placed on collaborative software and project spaces globally, sharing designs has become that much easier. The less time it takes me to get my design into a format that the client can understand, the better for me. There are always numerous points in a design where I need to present certain details or questions to the client to allow me to proceed.
Another lesson that I have learned the hard way is the importance of a clear and thorough project brief prior to me beginning. I have on past jobs jumped in too quickly, without taking the time upfront to get a clear picture of what is expected of me. And of course that approach is no good for my job quote as well. I believe that the time spent upfront on this issue lays the foundation for the project, and it is an important factor that informs my workflow and the ultimate outcome.
So between my desktop, laptop and mobile, I am always in a position to communicate on whatever platform is best, and to share my designs in the clearest and most efficient means available to me. And there is nothing more satisfying than reaching the end of a project and hearing ‘yes, that is exactly what I wanted!’