How to Design for Your Clients

Oct 09, 2022

Finally, a design board template that models functional design.

Real talk: this year has been a struggle for me. Burnout is real. Sometimes you hit a wall and it’s tough to find your inspiration. But even the most successful businesses deal with hard clients, and I think it’s important to know that we all go through seasons of hardship, feeling overworked and uninspired. But we all find our thread back, and for me, styling and designing has always filled my cup. And when you have the right tools to help you find your way back, everything starts to feel a little lighter.

So let’s talk about designing for clients. Creating a design board is about so much more than finding a bunch of pretty pictures. Yes, I love Pinterest as much as anybody, and it plays a huge role in how I create inspired design boards, but if you’re strategic about how you build your design board, you can actually source all the items you want to design with – creating a streamlined and efficient process for when you start reaching out to vendors to create the actual design of the shoot.

For our October Mae&Co Monthly courses, I created a four-part live design series to show our members how I use our new design board for functional designing: I create each design based on reality – where I can source my rentals, what the shapes and colors of my venue look like, the actual dresses I’m using – it’s a realistic approach to not only finding your inspiration but also knocking out 14 birds with one stone to find and source all of your design elements.

For example, here’s what functional design looks like when I’m adding dress photos to my design board:

  1. I pull up the shop website where I’m going to source dresses. I want to create my design from being inspired, first and foremost. But I can set myself up for success by actually pulling up the website of the dress shop or the designer where I’m going to source a dress for a styled shoot. I think about how these dresses would fit with the feel of my location, but I’m also able to find a dress that I can actually use – this will save you from a huge headache if you fall in love with a dress on Pinterest that you’re never able to find.
  2. I add the dress to my design board, and design around that as a focal element. For me, this design booklet is a godsend. Once I’ve found the dress I want to use, I can easily pull it into Canva and use it as inspiration when I start actually building the concepts and sourcing items for my shoot – which will help you build a more cohesive design from the get go.

There are so many steps to how I leverage functional design – everything from getting in the right mindset, finding my inspiration, building the concepts and creating mockups. And we're talking about all of this and more in our October Mae&Co Monthly courses on Designing for Your Client – Execution.

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