I'm always inspired by what my clients come up with for the people in their lives or to memorialize special memories. It altogether melted my heart when a friend of mine asked me to replicate her mother's handwriting who passed a few years prior for a custom print we created for her sister (cue the tears, guys). One of my clients wanted the perfect wedding gift for one of her closest friends and we landed on their first dance song, complete with watercolor floral inspired by the bride's bouquet.
With all that said, there are secrets to working with someone to create a custom piece that you end up loving.
Here's the big one: talk to this girl like she's your new bff. I'll be the first to admit, communication is hard. This is by far the hardest part of relationships, and that doesn't change when you're working with someone to convey what's in your head.
Bets are, there's a few generic questions you've got to answer for getting started. These are things like the verbiage, the size of the print, and medium (i.e. paint, embossing, ink). Sometimes when I send these questions though, it all feels impersonal until I hear your vision. Any two orders may look the exact same with these few answers and end up with a totally different purpose and result.
Creating a custom order for clients is so amazing as a designer. My favorite part is seeing their vision come to life and I love feeling like I got the opportunity to bring to life something that's so dear to their heart. With my favorite orders, they all have a few things in common... we just got it.
So, what are the secrets to getting it right?
3 secrets on how to be sure your custom order will be a custom joy:
- Use Pinterest, no... seriously.
Pretty sure this is part of a list somewhere of "things you wish your boss would say." Who knew that all your Pinterest-ing Saturday mornings would pay off? This is a huge bulletin board with nods to your taste. One of the best things I get from clients is permission to peruse their Pinterest boards (plus, I always love a good recipe board).
- When it's time for proofs, be direct + honest with your feedback.
This part is crucial to working well together. When you get a proof, this is your designer saying "Please, tell me all the things," and now's the time! If you're not sure of how to give feedback, just ask for a guide on how to review each proof in the process.
Concerned about hurting their feelings? Be polite, but direct and specific. There's a reason you chose the designer so, yes, it's great to default to their judgement and abilities but be sure you're speaking up if it's not quite what you were imagining. Chances are, if you do, you're going to end up with something even more amazing than the original design.
- Lastly, SHARE YOUR STORY.
Most importantly, share your why. Custom prints are special and there's a reason you chose that quote, bible verse or design. Over time, I've discovered how important it is to me to know the story behind what I'm creating.
It's an anniversary print of a verse read on your wedding day, it's a motivator for your office cubicle that keeps you going on those worst of worst Mondays, it's a print for your best friend's nursery after a year of infertility. The prints my clients and I have loved the most are absolutely the ones where there was a story, and hey, honestly, I want to celebrate with you too.
Custom orders can be intimidating and feel a little vulnerable but hopefully these tips give you a few ideas on how to bare a little bit of your heart in the process to get something you'll love looking at each day.
See you soon, lovelies!