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What to do when your client says your design is too busy

Published 10 months ago

Have you encountered clients who like your design but says your design is too busy?

First, let me congratulate you. You have a good client you work for. Not many clients are so nice to politely trash your design.

You’ve got to know that he is just being nice and courteous. What he’s actually saying is:

I don’t like this particular design, so rework it or give me another one.

Let me be frank with you: If a client tells you your design is “too busy”, or “clumsy”, “noisy”, “something’s off” or like one I got from my clients in the past: “Can I get a second design?”, etc know that you have not satisfied what they have in mind.

What you should Do.

Here are 3 quick things you should do:

Do a quick design audit.

Why does my client feel this design is too busy? Are there things that I need to remove or minimize? What do I need to reorganize on this design? What do I need to align, merge, group or just delete outright?

You’ve got to simplify that design. That’s the first step.

In our #DesignMadeSimple class, we run designers through 10 audit steps to simplifying and clarifying their design.

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In case you missed it: 5 Key Websites I Visit Every Time I Design


Apply Mental Modelling Process (MMP).

This is a quick psychological process of getting what is on the mind of your client.

For example, you can start with asking him questions: Sir, do you think that yellow is too bright? Somehow, I was thinking that red is too loud, what do you think, ma’am?

I do this a lot with my clients, especially if I’m just starting with them. I need to run the client through an MMP system.

NB: MMP is our proprietary model in every #DesignMadeSimple workshop. It is a compulsory task for every designer to undertake.

Redesign the work.

Sometimes, when your client says that the design is too busy, they actually just need a new design. I know this is hard but I’ve encountered situations like this several times. Once I redesign and overhaul the design completely, my client will just shout “Ehen, this is it! Perfect! I love it’

Depending on the client, sometimes I ask for sample of designs they love. Sometimes, I just need to tweak part(s) of the existing design a little.

These are just few of the basic steps you can take to retain your clients and do great work for them.

I hope this helps some other designers too!