Ask DN: How to present designs to clients?

4 years ago from , Stuff maker

Every time I try to present or explain stuff to clients/coworkers, I find myself stuttering or getting lost halfway. I know that communicating your designs is key but I always have a hard time. I need to do something now, or else it could cost me a promotion down the line.

I want to improve. Badly.

Any tips or pointers that can help me get over this hump?


  • Michael AleoMichael Aleo, 4 years ago

    Hi Lex. I saw Mike Monteiro give this talk in Austin last year, and it was very good. It hits this topic exactly. Hope it helps you: https://vimeo.com/121082134

    3 points
  • Emir BukvaEmir Bukva, 4 years ago

    I haven’t really done big corporate id projects but most of the battle to me seems in figuring out who all has decision-making power (on paper, in practice) and managing expectations. (like Michael & Will mentioned).

    When it comes to presentations itself, I too think presenting as narrative is the way to go (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKu2de0yCJI). OK, maybe not quite that extreme :)

    I don’t think "communicating your designs," as you put it, is important. I think communicating the context in which your design lives and what it does is where it’s at.

    2 points
  • Julian LloydJulian Lloyd, 4 years ago

    I think a simple and effective framework for presenting design work is to touch on goals, constraints, user story and solution—taking, I think for most features/deliverables, 4 minutes or less. It’s about getting everyone on the same page as fast as possible, so you can have a dialog.

    If you’re doing a big reveal type presentation, I could see up to 15 minutes if you’re taking a deep dive on context and supporting data. For something like this, just prepare a short list of touch points.

    0 points
  • Ana Gonzalez, 4 years ago (edited 4 years ago )

    Have you tried using mockups to make your designs come across professionally? Check out mockups at https://placeit.net, your clients will definitely like this presentation.

    0 points
  • Will ThomasWill Thomas, 4 years ago

    I wrote about revealing work to clients and co-workers a little bit earlier this year.

    I think the best take away is this, present your work as a narrative, don't be afraid to show your process.

    Clients will probably have a finished idea of what they want the work to be before you ever receive the brief, so managing expectations is really important. If you can lead somebody down a path and show them how you reached your solution they'll be more accepting when it takes a turn from what they originally had in mind.

    Full post here: http://williamthomas.io/revealing-your-hand/

    0 points
  • Bryant HughesBryant Hughes, 4 years ago

    This could very well be personal preference, but if you're not documenting your designs (goals, inspiration, audience, assumptions) within your presentation itself, you most definitely should have these written down or on top of mind before going into the presentation.

    These are concepts that validate the decisions you made along the way, and make the work itself less about subjective choices and more about objective best-practices. It's harder to argue against something being "bad" when you know it's founded on solid principles.

    0 points