So it turns out that sometimes, when we submit a proposal for a web project, we end up not getting the job. Rejected. It’s understandable if we don’t have the required skills or experience. It can be puzzling if it turns out that the client doesn’t like the work presented.
There is the possibility that the work isn’t very good. Nobody likes to think that about themselves, though, so assuming the work is competent, it might come down to the potential client simply not liking the style of the work.
Which stings, because we are not stylists, right? Every project is carefully considered and visually designed to reflect the tone and image that the client wishes to project.
I suppose some clients might want to get the person who designed the site that has the visual gizmo that they really really like, and so they are looking for the designer who happens to pull out the stack of slides that feature the very same gizmo.
More often than not, this is not going to be the case. And why would it be? A proposal presentation should be a meeting to get the client excited about working together, and not a place to make visual decisions in advance of a possible future project that you only understand in broad terms.
So if we’re looking for A Lesson To Learn here, it’s that we have to be ready to discuss past work in art direction terms — the way that the work represents the voice of the past clients — and extrapolate to how that thinking could lead to a great solution for this client. Cleverly talk our way out of it, in other words. And show a wider variety of work, in case we do happen to have that gizmo somewhere in there.