Sue Anna Joe

Coder // Designer // Writer

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Design Tips: Upselling A Client

[Originally published for Creative Allies]

One of the best reasons to work in the design industry is that design has perpetual relevance. No matter where we turn, design greets us from LED billboards right down to scratchy T-shirt tags. Web designers should harness these opportunities to not only extend their creative influences but to also grow their businesses. Here are some services you can offer to complement website interface design.

Logo Design

When it comes to clients and their logos, many fall into one of three scenarios: They don't have one, they're unhappy with their current one or they designed their logo themselves. What this means for you is the chance to do additional work and define the style from which you will design other projects.

If your client doesn't have a logo, suggest that you develop concepts based on their overall desired brand perception, target audience, products and/or services and mission. Two great books on the process of logo design are Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities by David Airey and Design Matters: Logos 01 published by Rockport.

If you think your client's logo needs an overhaul or spruce-up, ask how they feel about their logo before offering to modify it. Some business owners are attached to their logo and you don't want to offend anyone, especially if they designed it themselves. If your client likes their logo but still asks for your opinion on it, be tactful, and make sure you can support your reasons for disliking any of its aspects.

A logo revamp might not be practical if the original project for which you were hired is on a tight deadline. If the client has a flexible schedule, however, and agrees to additional work, clearly communicate that the logo must be finalized before you begin other projects incorporating it.

Print Collateral and Promotional Work

Many businesses use a range of print materials to support their marketing efforts. Whether your client hires you for a new website, a logo or a poster, always ask if they need additional work. Having the same designer develop all marketing materials benefits your client by ensuring consistency in style.

The following is a list of potential projects touching the tip of the design iceberg:


Letterhead and envelopes


Business cards



Print ads


Product packaging, tags and labels

Book covers


Brainstorm on other ways to use your design talents where your client might not have considered before…

Site Map Development

A site map creates the blueprint of a website's content in three ways: by outlining content hierarchy, establishing content priority and showing content relationships. To designers, and some clients, the task of creating a site map pales in comparison to the glory of graphical interface design. A site map, however, defines content layout, which in turn informs wireframes and design.

If your client does not have a website and has not provided a site map, offer to develop it with their input and goals in mind. List the primary menu items by identifying priority content plus any sub-pages to fall underneath these top-level items. Having six or seven top-level items is a good number for the primary menu.

If your client comes up with more, move some to a second-priority menu, and if necessary, create a third-priority menu. The lowest-priority menu usually includes content of fine-print nature, such as terms of use, privacy policies, copyright information and disclaimers.

Clients seeking a redesign of their site will already have their site structure in place. In this case browse their site to get a general idea of whether it needs improvement, including consolidating or separating out pages, organizing for more intuitive browsing and adding new content. If your client approves restructuring, take a look at other sites in the same industry with similar target demographics. Are there common menu items your client missed? Are there organizational or naming patterns that might be familiar to established audiences?

This research could also inspire ways for you to make your client stand out.

Social Media

Social media tools provide additional exposure and advertising opportunities, encourage word-of-mouth referrals and build customer loyalty - all with little or no cost. Explain to your clients how they can take advantage of social media and which tools are best suited for their business. For example, YouTube has made stars out of teens and generated publicity for many companies due to the viral nature of its content. However, not everyone needs to promote a YouTube channel if their business doesn't lend itself to video production. Consider your clients' products and services and their willingness to maintain their social media presence in choosing the appropriate tools.

The world of design presents unlimited opportunities. Consider exploring these areas to further your growth and platforms of expression.

Sue Anna Joe

Coder // Designer // Writer

This site was designed & hand coded from scratch by me.