Presenting work to clients is a crucial part of working in the digital arts. Clients hire us because we bring expertise and ability to the table.
Presenting work is the moment where they decide if we’re all talk, or truly an expert.
So it’s important to get it right. Here are 5 tips for nailing this part of the production.
1. Format matters.
If you can’t present your work in a clear and clean manner, it’s going to work against you.
The way in which you present the work, matters almost as much as the work itself.
If your page isn’t aligned, with a clear hierarchy for viewing it, then be prepared for negative feedback. Here is a video from the MoGraph Mentor video library. We ask our students to make a presentation every week. Even for pre-production, we still demand that they present their progress like they’re presenting it to a client. Make sure that you have a nicely branded presentation, that is structurally sound and easy to view. Serving your clients at a high level is about paying attention to all those small details.
2. Don’t assume the client knows what you’re thinking.
Don’t just throw concept boards or other assets into a presentation and assume the client will know all of your thought processes. They can’t read your mind, and worse, many of them might be new to production and confused about how storyboards or concept sketches will relate to the final product.
Make it easy for them to understand and provide the right type of feedback.
A written description at the beginning of the document might help save hours of confusion and frustration. The number 1 rule of freelancing: Don’t be the source of frustration and anger in your clients day. They’re not mind readers, so take a moment to explain your thinking when you present work.
3. Separate concepts clearly.
This is something I’ve had to learn the hard way. I presented some art direction concepts, without clear divisions between ideas.
I was assuming it was obvious and it lead to issues.
Now they wanted to see a hybrid final product that combined both styles because they, “Just liked both so much.” This turned into a nightmare situation with a crappy final product that lacked a clear direction.
4. Don’t present work that you don’t want to produce fully.
As a motion designer it can be easy to create a stunning single frame and let the clients imagination run wild.
If they love it, the problem becomes, you have to bring it to life.
Make sure you present concepts that can be animated or produced within the budget and time allowed. If you don’t want to produce it all the way, don’t present single frames around the concept. Perhaps obvious advice, but it’s something I have to remind myself often.
5. Pitch your ideas and defend them.
Some artists can be too passive in presenting work or ideas.
The worst thing an artist or designer can do is to present the work half-heartedly, as if they don’t really love it themselves.
This makes for a terrible presentation and it’s likely the client won’t want to work with you again.
Present work you believe is the right solution and then be prepared to stand firm in your thinking.
The client always has the last word, but they’ll appreciate working with an artist who brings a perspective to the table. Don’t be wishy-washy, it’s a quick path to an empty inbox.
This moment in a production is a truly pivotal one. Make sure you have you ducks in a row when it comes to presenting work. Creating great work is paramount to your success, but many artists often overlook the importance of a great presentation.