Who's The Client?

Recently, a client asked me to create a marketing piece for a fundraising event she's hosting with a local nonprofit. I designed the piece, sent it to her for review, and received approval. As a favor, she asked me to forward it to the head of the partner organization. I did so and almost immediately received an email back (incidentally not copied to my client) asking for a change to the piece.

Obviously, I wanted the partner organization to be happy with my work, but in this situation, it was critical for me to remember who my client is. I replied to the partner organization to let them know I’d forwarded their request along to my client for input.

As it turned out, there had been a discussion between them regarding not making the requested change, but the head of the partner organization hadn’t remembered. The piece went to print as is and both my client and the partner organization were pleased with the final product.

I’ve had similar experiences in the past when working with multiple organizations; everyone likes to have input, understandably so. One group wants their logo to be larger or their panel listed first. Another group doesn’t like the color scheme. Design by committee can be, frankly, painful. That’s why it’s critical to know who ultimately approves your work and to collaborate fully with that person or organization to achieve their vision. Never forget who your client is.