5 tips you can implement right now to make client relationships a breeze

Profile picture of Ben Clifford



Building trust, setting boundaries, allowing for flexibility: the keys to a great client relationship might be more familiar than you think.

3 min read

An illustration of two characters in a flat style holding up shapes.

Stay informed on all things design.

Thanks for submitting!

Shaping Design is created on Editor X, the advanced web design platform for professionals. Create your next project on Editor X. 

Close Site Navigation

Get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox →

There’s so much more to working with clients than getting a brief and giving the work back in return.

The strongest client-designer relationships require interpersonal skills you need in just about any other relationship: building trust, setting boundaries, allowing for flexibility, and, when a conflict arises, working together to get to the heart of the issue.

It’s okay for the design process to be a little messy. But why not add a little structure to the creative chaos? Instituting these best practices will help you establish a smooth process both you and the client can be happy with.

1. Be honest

An illustration of four people talking with word bubbles above their head.
Be upfront about your expectations—and if the project is stuck in a feedback loop, ask your client to be specific and transparent about their concerns.

This is true for all relationships, personal and professional. Right from the get-go, it’s important that both yourself and your clients can be upfront about project expectations.

It is never enjoyable to hear, but great clients are also honest when something isn’t working. This kind of direct, honest feedback can save hours of unnecessary back and forth. We need to guide clients to this level of transparency and trust. Sometimes, wishy-washy feedback comes from a misunderstanding about when specific elements of a project are worked on.


  • Before starting a project, take a client through your working process so they know what to expect and at what phase to expect it.

  • If the project is stuck in a feedback loop, ask your client to be specific and transparent about their concerns.

2. Get to the heart of the problem