Blown budgets and deadlines – a marketing nightmare.
When a company decides to work with a design team on a new project and it goes over the initial scope, their costs can increase. “Scope creep” can also cause the project’s timeline to extend, introducing the chance of missing deadlines. Rush fees for production can add to overall costs. Dollar by dollar, the original budget and project plan can get thrown out the window.
For plenty of businesses, the above scenario might sound all too familiar. So, how might businesses avoid this? While there could be several factors at play, one of the biggest pitfalls we see is the client’s internal process for reviewing design drafts.
By making sure everyone tasked with reviewing drafts does so before sending edits back to your design team, a company can ensure each round of edits remains within the project scope.
A few months back, we completed a design project for a fantastic client with a great vision for what they wanted in their marketing collateral. During the design process, a graphic adjustment was suggested with a cost-saving perspective in mind. While the direction was approved, we noticed the process wasn’t as smooth as it could be.
The issue at hand? Our contact wasn’t the final decision maker on her team. The way each design round was reviewed by the client contributed to an increased cost for the overall project. For each round:
- Our contact would send us initial edits for us to make and send back
- The CEO would review for edits and return to us for updates
- After completing those updates, the draft would be put forth to the Board for their feedback
- For each design round, it was rinse and repeat
We alerted the client to our concerns about how conducting reviews like this would impact the overall project, highlighting the two primary issues below.
Decrease the chance of an edit being missed
Sending edits in piece-meal form greatly increases the chance your designer will miss one. Some email programs will lump all messages in a chain together, making it more difficult to see individual edits that have been sent. Even the most detail-oriented designer can miss necessary changes when this happens.
Avoid incurring extra fees for additional design rounds
Most designers base their project rates on a particular number of design rounds. At Helm & Hue, we routinely include two rounds of drafts for feedback + a final round for approval. A round is generally defined as the act of reviewing edits when they come in, opening the design file(s), making all required updates, saving and exporting, and sending the draft back for review.
Projects involving this “chain of command” approach translate to design proofs that aren’t thoroughly reviewed by a cohesive team. For both designer and client, the project scope grows. From the designer’s perspective, the project timelines is lengthened, due to an increased quantity of edits and revisions. Time is taken from the client through an increase in internal emails, proofing, and an added potential for communication breakdown and overlooked design changes.
We know that sometimes, an additional edit is caught and sent individually – that’s part of the process. When that happens, your design team should work with you to accommodate the changes and, at least in our case, we won’t charge for the occasional extra small oversight. But in large part, conducting thorough team reviews before sending edit batches to your design team will help ensure you avoid increased costs and missed deadlines.