I thought I understood my client’s expectations, but it turns out I just miserably failed at my job. Here’s the whole story and most importantly, how to avoid this situation in your life with proper communication.

A new project opportunity

Xpozer wanted to partner up once again with me to create our largest print yet: A huge 80-by-240 inch multi-panel print.

I was extremely excited about this new project and I immediately reached out to my client Gabriel, the owner of the Tonic CrossFit gym, to see if a gigantic customized wall art piece would interest him. You guessed the answer.

I failed my job Tonic Xpozer print
The first composite I came up with — the one that didn’t meet my client’s expectations.

Putting in the work

We talked on the phone for quite a while, and Gabriel expressed his desire as he envisioned it. I carefully listened. He even sent me examples by email of what he had in mind.

That week, I started to work on my composite. It took hours to find the right images, edit and place them harmoniously in the frame. Attention was put into colors, contrast, details and overall aesthetic.

It was a big project and I wanted to be proud of what I’d create for my client. I also wanted him to be proud of everything that the print represented for as long as it would be hung on the wall.

Where things went wrong

Several days later, once I was satisfied with my composite, I sent the file to Gabriel for approval.

I was in shock as he told me this wasn’t what he was looking for at all. Instead of saying how hard I’ve already worked on this project, I kindly asked him what wasn’t meeting his expectations. He explained once again what he had in mind with different words and examples.

I failed my job composite print
Here’s the second version — the one Gabriel approved for printing.

How this situation could’ve been avoided

Let’s get this straight: This wasn’t my client’s fault. It was mine. I assumed I understood his needs when I didn’t. I look back and realize there are many ways I could’ve avoided this situation by:

  • Sending him more examples as we were in the consultation stage to really make sure we were on the same page
  • Sketching out what I had in mind before starting so he could approve the composition
  • Showing screenshots of my early editing stages so he could correct me if I was on the wrong track

Was I disappointed by what happened? Of course I was! No one likes to put energy into a job only to fail miserably. But hey, it was what it was. I took responsibility for it, took a few days off to change my mind and came back with more confidence. My second version has been approved on the spot, I’ve just sent the file to Xpozer for printing!

As you can see, I could’ve saved myself several extra hours of work simply by having better communication with Gabriel. Make sure to understand clearly your clients’ expectations before starting a project — even more if it’s one that will demand more work. #BetterSafeThanSorry

As previously mentioned, this is my second collaboration with Xpozer for large customized prints. Head to this article to see how four stunning 30-by-45 inch pieces look on the wall of the Sweat Club gym!