Bad design happens to the best of us. It’s part of the job. However, the way in which you respond to a design crisis, like a costly stationery letterhead design mistake, will determine the future trajectory of your career.
Here are some tips on how to handle even the worst design disaster with dignity so that you can turn things around fast.
Admit That You Messed Up
Swallow your pride and admit to your mistake, not only to your client but to yourself as well. Once you’ve done this, you’ll feel like a great weight has been lifted from your shoulders, and will be able to move forward with a plan of action that will make the whole situation clearer.
Whatever you do, make sure you have your game plan ready before you talk to your client about your mistake. This will show them that you care about their project and will (hopefully) make them trust you with putting things right again.
Nothing deals with a bad situation better than by saying “I’m sorry.” However, be sure to just stick with the apology and don’t try to add an excuse to it by saying, ‘I’m sorry, but…”.
Offer to Pay for It
Sometimes the best way to mend bridges with a client after messing up their project is to pay for fixing the mistake. Again, this shows the client that you actually care about the project, and the amount of compensation that you pay for the mess-up will be determined by on the severity of the problem.
Come Up with a Solution
Since the mistake happened on your watch, it’s your responsibility to find a solution for it. Offer this as a suggestion to your client, and be sure to give them both short and long-term options to choose from. Also, make sure to approach the situation with candour by being honest about the limitations of your ability, and be ready to take the “L” if your client decides to go with a different solution.
Get Some Help
Most of the mistakes that designers make happen as a result of trying to do everything alone. Why don’t you delegate some more and ask for some help with certain aspects of the project that are outside of your comfort zone?
Don’t Blame the Client
Another huge mistake that young designers make is trying to pin the mistake on the client. Remember that old adage, “the client is always right”? Apply it here and swallow some humble pie while you take the loss for your stationery letterhead design mistake. Even if the client is to blame, the point is that it happened on your watch and so you should be the one to take responsibility for it.
Have a Plan B
A Plan B is an important aspect of any web design project, from stationery letterhead design to the most complex B2B website. That’s because it enables you to anticipate and prepare for problems before they arise so that you can respond quickly and effectively when they do.
Don’t Be Afraid to Hand It Off
If you end up getting fired because of the mess-up, be prepared to pass on the project details to someone else so that they can do their best with it moving forward. Resisting won’t help, as the best you can do in this situation is to exit with as much grace as possible.
Help Mitigate Fallout
Help to soften the blow caused by the disaster by offering to assist in the public relations clean-up effort that’s sure to follow.
Learn from Your Mistake
There’s a lesson to be learned in anything, especially your mistakes. Once the whole situation is in hindsight, you should look for what you may have done differently so that you can do that instead the next time you’re faced with a similar situation.