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Confidence is Half the Sell
By: Tom Roarty
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One of the worst tasks for any designer comes when it is actually time for them to make money off of their work. The idea of trying to sell someone on a design that we obviously love — otherwise, why would we have presented it to you in the first place? — the idea of this makes the majority of us creative cringe. We all know people are usually going to love or hate our work. Non-emotion evoking design should fall in the category of hate, by the way, but to put a price on it is not an easy task for us to do. Yet, it is necessity if we want to make this our profession and be considered successful at it.
Although talent may get you in the door, getting paid is what keeps our lights on. One of the fastest ways in which an idea can be purchased or passed on is through the confidence of a designer who is presenting his or her ideas. It is a skill that takes time to develop, but the development of one's confidence is as important as the development of the media a designer creates in.
When I say confidence, I do not by any means mean coincidences, which will cost you clients over time. What I am referring to is the ability to stand by your work and defend it. This is a skill that requires preparation because you never know what questions a client will throw at you. All too often, even a simple inquiry such as, "Why did you choose this image as your focal point?" can trip up an unprepared designer. To reply, "Because this image looked good with your logo," is not reason enough for some clients, and to say, "Because it is one of the images you had supplied us with," kind of gives your design power back to the clients and gives the impression that your skills weren't all that necessary. What clients want to hear is something that they have not thought of: Saying, "I chose this design because it not only shows your company's product, but with this particular layout, the flow of this photograph incorporated into this design carries viewer's eyes directly to your logo."
It is such a description that lets the client know you understand the intricate details of your craft, thus making you a valuable asset. However, if you are not confident in presenting your work, and you truly don't understand what you had created, there is a good chance that a strong design may be overlooked. A good practice is to print out a design upon completing it and break it down. Make a mental list of every positive aspect of your creation covering, color, layout, product placement, logo positioning, and so on. Understand every aspect about each design before presenting it in preparation for any possible questions that may arise.
By understanding your work, you will automatically come off as confident, which tends to then instill confidence in clients. If you are not confident in your design, or you cannot find the positives in your self-critiquing process, then that is not a design you'll want to have represent you. It is important to remember that, sometimes, strong designs need a strong personality to get seen.


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