Even for successful designers, pitching graphic design ideas is a stress-filled affair. You are not only trying to sell your work, but sell yourself as perfect and capable of figuring out exactly what a client needs. All the while, memories of past projects that were killed by clients are looming in the background.
This can often lead to a very unfortunate defense mechanism where we hand over our work like it’s all really rough draft; just a few preliminary ideas; nothing special — just whatever popped into our heads.
Too often there is a voice telling us to downplay our work, no matter how happy we are with it. It’s the same voice that convinces us to spend six hours on a drawing but post in on Facebook as something we just “drew up really quick out of boredom.”
That’s not a great move when you’re just talking about something you did for fun, but it’s a terrible idea when you’re trying to sell your clients on your work.
Despite what the voice says, a client wants to actually feel like you bent over backwards to provide them with the best things you could think of. They want to feel that if they’re going to cut a check, then their money is being spent on someone who has the work ethic to put in the time and effort. They want to imagine you at a desk with a clock spinning over your head and a wastebasket full of crumpled up papers.
This even extends to the pitches you don’t feel that great about.
Pretty much every designer has the same story: they were struck by inspiration and created a pitch that was near perfect. They put it front and center, with a few others and a real stinkbomb off to the side. And of course the bomb is the one that the client can’t live without.
This doesn’t mean the client doesn’t know what’s good for them or that you need to be insulted because they didn’t “get” your genius. But each of us has a filter — it’s what allows the truly bad ideas from ever reaching the eyes of friends, let alone clients. Hundreds, even thousands of these ideas never make it far enough to be presented to anyone. And even the worst of the best needs to be presented with pride and a sense of hard work and vision.
Because when you focus on selling all of your pitches, you’re also selling yourself.