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Video Business to Business: How to Work With Designers

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Creative vision and technical know-how are a given for any good video producer, but client management skills are also important for success. In this series, you’ll learn about the three main types of clients who hire for video services—The Outsourcer, The Doer, and The Designer—and how to best help them achieve their goals. In our final installment, we profile The Designer.

Who is The Designer?

The Designer typically works in the creative industry—often as part of a team—and has sophisticated design and technical skills. They may be an art director, website designer, or marketing strategist.

Man sitting at laptop that says web design
Photo by Rawpixel/Photodune

Designers have a finely tuned creative vision and know exactly what they’re looking for—much more so than The Doer. However, they lack the specific skills, equipment, and time to shoot and edit quality video themselves. Like The Outsourcer, they understand the value of hiring a professional to do the job for them.

The Designer may or may not know what’s involved in video production, but they can communicate exactly what they want stylistically. They tend to be detail oriented and have high standards for themselves and others. Designers are willing to pay for top-notch quality and service, and usually have a corporate budget to match.

What is The Designer Looking For?

The Designer is looking for a video expert to execute their vision. You are, in very simple terms, a tool for getting the job done.

Whereas The Outsourcer wants you to take the lead creatively on their video project, The Designer doesn’t need your creative input (that’s not to say you can’t offer it—more on that in a moment). Instead, they want to know that you can deliver excellent quality and service, on time and on budget.

The Designer will often have specific requests in terms of equipment. For example, they may want their video to have that “infinite white” background that’s so popular these days, which requires a white backdrop and lots of extra lights.

Two models with white screen background
Infinite white background (Photo by Cindy Burgess)

The Designer is usually looking for a fast turnaround. Your video may be part of a larger project they’re working on, and they have deadlines to meet.

For example, one of my clients is a marketing strategist. She’s creating a website and promotional materials for a golf pro, and hired me to create video content. She knew exactly what kind of video she wanted—she just needed my skills and camera equipment to make it happen. The video is part of a larger project with a specific launch date, so the turnaround time is fairly tight.

How to Land a Job with The Designer

The Designer is looking for someone with the skills and experience to bring their concept to life. Your creative ability isn’t so much a factor—they just want to know that you can deliver a fantastic end product that's in keeping with their vision.

Your Video Portfolio is Key

A solid portfolio is key to landing work with The Designer. Display examples of your best video work online, either on your own website or on a YouTube or Vimeo channel. If you’re meeting The Designer in person, bring a laptop or tablet so you can show them relevant videos that you’ve created.

Man and woman viewing something together
Photo by adam121/Photodune

Emphasize your experience and any similar projects you may have worked on. Unlike The Outsourcer, The Designer speaks your language and will feel reassured when they hear you using the same terminology.

Demonstrate Customer Satisfaction

The Designer also expects excellent customer service. You can demonstrate your ability to follow directions, pay attention to detail, and meet deadlines through customer testimonials. If you don’t have any, you need to start collecting them now! Recommendations from past customers play a valuable role in convincing future clients of your abilities as a video producer.

How to Deliver for The Designer

In some ways, The Designer is the easiest client to work with. They know what to tell a creative provider, and how and where their video will be used. The tradeoff is a lack of creative freedom on your part.

Follow the Leader

With The Outsourcer, you’re expected to take the lead and develop a creative vision for their video. Designers, on the other hand, know exactly what they want. They will likely give you a creative brief and expect you to follow it. This doesn’t mean you can’t make suggestions—after all, you know your craft better than they do. But don’t be surprised if they stick to their guns on how they want the video to look. Unless The Designer’s request is technically impossible or compromises your standards or ethics in some way, don’t push it. It’s their video, after all.

Man editing on desktop computer
Photo by philipimage/Photodune

While communicating with The Designer should be simple and straightforward, there's always the risk that one or both of you will make assumptions about the other's knowledge. Don't be afraid to ask questions if there's some aspect of the project or terminology they're using that you don't understand. It's easy to get lulled into a false sense of security when you both speak the same language creatively.

Finally, The Designer expects your work to be good—so the key to impressing them is to deliver something unexpected. Maybe you can help them set up a YouTube channel, or offer tips on how and where to share their video online. Designers tend to be repeat hirers, so it pays to go the extra mile to become their go-to video expert!

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