May 12, 2022

How to manage design revisions?

Design revisions can require a lot of back and forth if not properly managed. The goal is to set a fixed amount of revisions, 3 revisions is a good number.

Design revisions can require a lot of back and forth if not properly managed. The goal is to set a fixed amount of revisions, 3 revisions is a good number. Collect all the comments in each revision in one place where both parties can collaborate. I like to use a new Notion page called: ProjectName - Revision 1. Enter all the client’s feedback as checkboxes before starting editing.  Work on each feedback, check the box & send the client a communication once ready. Repeat until all rounds are completed.

Why are designers so scared of revisions?

You've seen it before: a designer creates an elegant, simple design for their client. The client loves it—except for the little things: a color here, a shape there, and so many more changes along the way. But it turns out that reworking something so many times can be incredibly inefficient. A redesign is often a lot less work than asking for more and more changes.

Too many revision requests could be a sign that the client doesn't know exactly what he wants. This can be frustrating for a designer, who puts their heart and soul into each project, only to have the client come back with something completely arbitrary.

The problem is that clients don't realize how much work they're requesting when they ask for revisions. They think they're just going back and adding one little thing here or there, but each time they do so, it takes the designer more time to put together the final product.

When you're faced with revisions from your customer, do your best to understand where s/he is coming from. Knowing and having a common understanding between parties in the first place can then save you a lot of time and energy. So how is it properly done?

Preparing the Project Scope

It's best to prepare yourself for revisions by creating an accurate project scope statement early on. What exactly does the client need? How many rounds of revisions are included in the project? Are there any rules about the design elements? What kind of feedback will be considered constructive criticism or requests for clarification?

All of these factors go into setting clear expectations with your clients from the start; otherwise, you could end up losing time and money (and possibly even goodwill) because things aren't working out as expected. Even if your client doesn't ask for any changes at all, it's good to have this information in writing so that you can reference it later if something comes up.

Clear Communication

The key to success in any project is clear communication. This means that you are able to convey your ideas in a way that others will understand them and draw inspiration from them. Communicating your ideas with others can be easier when you do it in a way that makes it easy for them to understand what you are saying.

One way to ensure clear and efficient communication is through emails. Good emails can be invaluable when trying to get your message across without having to use phone calls or personal interaction. It should be clear and concise so that they know exactly what the email pertains to and ensure that you follow up or respond to all emails promptly. Another is through project documentation and archiving presentations. It not only keeps you organized and on track with the proceedings of a project, but it is also the best way for new team members to understand the current and past state of a project.

Keep your client updated

How you communicate is just as important as what you communicate. Not only do you need to tell your clients what’s going on, but you also want to be sure they know where they are in the revision process. Are they in the first, second, or third round already? This way your client knows what they’re getting into right off the bat and won’t be caught by surprise when you send them another email with new directions.

It will also help your client understand why you need clarification on their requests before proceeding with the changes. Even if they don’t agree with your reasons, knowing them will save both of you time in the long run and prevent miscommunication.

Keep track of all decisions

Setting up a system for tracking revisions is one way of minimizing any confusion between you and your clients (or between your different clients) about where things stand. It gives everyone involved a sense of control over what's happening—you'll have documentation of decisions made so you won't be second-guessed when something goes wrong, and your clients will feel comfortable knowing that you have documented proof that they were consulted on a particular point before changes were made.

It also helps make sure that everyone is on the same page throughout the process: if someone says something was decided at a meeting, no one has to worry about miscommunication later on down the line. You can use project management software such as Notion, Asana, and Basecamp to help you collaborate and be updated in real-time on the progress of the project.

Revisions are part of the design process, and they're here to stay — if they're managed well. They require constant collaboration between designers and clients, clear communication, and a process that everyone understands and can adapt to. That's how you can avoid headaches around revisions: set clear guidelines and understandings when you start designing. Good design is a collaborative effort between designers and clients, so communication is the key to getting what you need in order to create your best work. We can productize the revision phase as a singular service and determine our own terms of how many rounds will be in a revision set. This will make sure both you and the client take each round seriously.