We have all been there, we have all done that! An unsuccessful assignment and a failed project – every web designer and developer have experienced this at one point in their career or the other. For such projects that you would rather forget, there actually can be a lot of good that you can take out of it. If you think it’s only you that can have a failed design business, you might want to look around at some big companies like GAP who changed their logo and reversed it several years later. That was certainly a design idea gone wrong.
Do not let your sentiments take over you after a failed project because they tell you to just give up and sulk in a corner – also lose confidence. You don’t want that in your career so never let such failure get the better of you and let cool your head think for a while and figure out what were the reasons that your project went wrong. After you are done with the first step of the recovery process, make a resolution that you want to gain something of your observations and findings. Learn the things that can help you overcome such failed attempts in the future. Although it’s not something that you should be dwelling on for long but here are some tips that can help you overcome a failed project and how to make good out of it.
Don’t be Critical Towards Criticism:
Naturally, it’s easier to take and accept credit for something that turned out as you planned while a little difficult to digest criticism. You should know that criticism is very important for improvement. So the way you handle these criticism comments will set out how your next project with that client would go. When you will know what not to do, the next time will definitely be successful. You should develop a stance of smiling and accepting criticism with as much of open heart as you do while taking credit.
Accepting criticism can help you in more than one ways. It helps you to realize what your shortcomings are, something you are unlikely to figure out on your own. So when you receive a criticism, take it a step towards your betterment. You will realize how much you can learn from such criticisms in the long run.
Figure Out the Shortcomings:
Make a brief list of what things worked and what did not for the project overall. If you can pinpoint the things that went wrong, you can be sure that you are on the right path. You should always remember that these shortcomings may not necessarily be because of your lack of abilities to work, it may also be because you were given a timeline shorter than usual or there were some unclear terms between you and the parameters set out by your client.
You may not find a clear answer for that in some cases. In that case, you can just move on as designing is complicated and a project that you consider one of your best may not be what your client was looking for.
Keep the Communication Flowing:
Make sure that you have all the communication channels open with all the parties involved in the project. Often times the reason for an unsuccessful project can be traced to lack of communication. So you have to let in all of the related people about all the ideas so that everyone is clear and discrepancies are balanced.
Be accessible through email, phone etc. and have face-to-face meetings. Also, keep your client in the loop by showing him the project at every major step.
It goes without saying that good time management always leads to success. It won’t take very long if you draft out a timeline of your own before starting the project. Break your project into parts and finish them within their slots. Also, take out some spare time which you can use as a backup time for parts of project which takes longer than the allotted time. Your project may turn out really well but the lack of time management will put you in the list of freelancers where the client wouldn’t want to trust you with future projects. Track your time and re-plan your work habits accordingly.
A part of your project is not design at all but is the research that you have done for it. Research does not only include looking for the right resources and utilizing them. It also means that that you have a full understanding of your project before you draw out your first sketch. A good research also means that you have grasped what your client has explained to you.
Good research requires homework. You have to understand what your client is like and have to work accordingly. For that, you can look at the previous work of your client which will tell you what kind of fonts, style and icons does he like. You can understand the psyche of your client in this way and can plan your design on that framework.
Your Client is Always Right:
You have to understand that where it is about money, it is not about your ego. Your client is always right and his say is the final say. If he doesn’t like the design, there’s no point making it a matter of life and death to prove to him that it is the one he wants. What may look good to your eye may not what the client wants. Of course, you can explain to him why you have chosen so and so but in the end it is him that will decide whether its working for him or not.
Try, Try Again:
There can be many reasons why a project can be rejected. You just need to accept it and move on.
You can save stuff for some other project like the so many revisions can be saved to be used elsewhere. Your next project might get a great help when you already have a bunch of parts that you can use.
You can always push yourself to try something new while keeping the rest for future. It is true that every designer has a specialty of his own but it wouldn’t hurt if you try new things out.
Handling the critical conversation builds a framework for carrying out a future project with care. Figure out the shortcomings and work on them. Also, make sure that your client knows your working style by showing him your previous work so that he’s prepared for the resultant project and it doesn’t come as surprise to him which is often times a reason for rejection. Know clearly beforehand what you client wants so that there’s no room for doubt.