Skip to main content

13 ways designers screw up client presentations

Have you booked your ticket for Generate San Francisco on 15 July yet? It's going to be an unmissable day for anyone working in web design or frontend development, with eight inspiring talks from some of the industry's leading lights. It's our first San Francisco Generate, so book now and you'll become a Generate founding member and get 50% off the ticket price for all future Generate events.

Mike Monteiro will be winding up a packed day at Generate with a talk entitled In Praise of Ordinary People. "We want to change the world," he explains, "yet the world is rarely changed by people who claim to want that. It's changed by people who are just trying to get home. We want to disrupt, yet we end up disrupting the lives of those who can least afford it."

Generate San Francisco - Mike Monteiro

Don't miss Mike's Generate San Francisco keynote: In Praise of Ordinary People

We need to do better, says Monteiro, and in his keynote he'll be exploring just how we can do that. And for a taste of the kind of truth bombs Monteiro's going to be dropping at Generate San Francisco, make sure you set aside an hour today to watch his talk from Generate New York last year.

In 13 Ways Designers Screw Up Client Presentations, he skewers the myth that good design sells itself. You may be a great designer, but if you can't present your work to clients, explain every decision you've made along the way and answer the client's question, then you're less valuable than a merely good designer who can do all that.

Mike Monteiro

You're a designer; you shouldn't have to sell, right? Wrong!

Selling, Monteiro points out, is one of the last and toughest skills that a designer picks up. You can't afford to leave it to an account manager or creative director; particularly not if you don't want to later have to implement stupid changes to your design that you could have fended off had you been in the room to explain your process and talk the client round.

Basically, great design that you can't sell isn't going to pay the bills, but it's all too easy to mess up the presentation and drop the ball. Here, then, Monteiro lays out 13 ways designers get their presentations wrong so that you can avoid making the same mistakes. It's an hour of tough love and essential advice, and you'll come out of it much better equipped for selling your work and furthering your career.


Generate has gone global; don't miss a conference near you

Generate San Francisco takes place on 15 July at the Terra Gallery. Can't make it to San Francisco? There are Generate conferences coming up in Sydney and London; don't miss out!

Jim McCauley

Jim McCauley is a writer, cat-wrangler and occasional street performer who's written for a multitude of publications over the past quarter of a century, including Creative Bloq, T3, PC Gamer and a whole load of long-dead print magazines.