7 Ways to Set Clear Expectations on Your Next Design Project


Design projects can be complex and often require numerous stakeholders to work together to achieve a successful outcome. It is therefore essential to set clear expectations from the outset to ensure everyone is on the same page. In this article, we will provide you with 7 tips on how to set expectations for your next design project successfully.


Establish Goals & Objectives

1. Establish Goals & Objectives

Design projects can be complex and challenging, but with clear goals and objectives in place, the process can become much easier. Setting expectations from the outset is crucial to ensure that everyone involved is on the same page. When it comes to designing projects, establishing goals and objectives helps to define the project’s purpose, identify key milestones, and give a clear understanding of what success looks like.

Before starting any design project, it’s important to establish specific goals that align with your business objectives. These goals should be focused on creating a solution that addresses your target audience’s needs while keeping in mind your brand identity. Your design team needs to understand what they are designing for and why they are doing it so that they can create relevant designs that meet your expectations.

2. Communicate Openly and Often

Set clear expectations for your next design project by communicating openly and often. It may seem like a no-brainer, but many designers often forget how important it is to establish clear communication channels with their clients. The result is a lot of confusion, frustration, and wasted time for both parties.

To avoid this situation, start by setting expectations from the outset of the project. Clearly define what you expect from the client in terms of feedback and approvals, as well as deadlines for both parties. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page right from the start.

Next, make sure you are communicating regularly throughout the project. Don’t wait for your client to reach out to you if there are any issues or concerns.

3. List Features & Benefits

As a designer, setting clear expectations is crucial to the success of your next project. One way to do this is by listing out the features and benefits of your design work. This not only helps you stay organized but also ensures that you and your client are on the same page.

The first benefit of listing features and benefits is clarity. By outlining what will be included in the project, you can avoid miscommunication or misunderstandings further down the line. This can save both you and your client time, energy, and frustration.

Another benefit is transparency. Listing out what’s included in the design project shows clients exactly what they’re paying for. This can help build trust between you and them as they know exactly what to expect from your services.

Outline Milestones & Deadlines

4. Outline Milestones & Deadlines

The first step in setting clear expectations is defining the scope of the project. This includes identifying all deliverables, such as sketches, wireframes, prototypes, or final designs. Once you have a comprehensive list of deliverables, you can break them down into smaller tasks and assign timelines for each one.

By outlining key milestones throughout the project timeline, you can ensure that everyone stays aligned with the overall goal. This can include checkpoints where stakeholders review progress and provide feedback or approvals. These milestones also serve as a way to identify potential roadblocks early on so they can be addressed before they become major issues.

5. Agree on Resources & Budgets

Design projects can be exciting opportunities for businesses to showcase their brand vision and creativity. However, these projects often require a significant investment of time, money, and resources. Therefore, it is crucial to set clear expectations from the beginning by agreeing on resources and budgets.

Firstly, defining the available resources needed for a project allows designers to determine what they can realistically achieve within those limitations. It also helps clients understand how many people will be involved in the project, their roles and responsibilities as well as any additional materials or equipment required. This clarity ensures that both parties are on the same page about what is achievable before commencing work.

Secondly, discussing budgets with your design team is necessary to avoid surprises down the line. A budget guides designers to make informed decisions when choosing materials or tools needed for a project while keeping costs under control.

6. Define Success Criteria

Defining success criteria requires a thorough understanding of what is required to achieve the desired outcome. It should take into account all aspects of the project, including budget, timeline, resources, and stakeholders’ expectations. Once these factors have been determined, you can then establish specific targets that need to be met before considering the project successful.

Moreover, setting clear expectations ensures that everyone involved in the process is aligned toward achieving common goals. When everyone knows what needs to be done and what constitutes success or failure, they’re more likely to work together effectively towards those objectives.

7. Create Contingency Plans

One way to create contingency plans is by identifying potential risks at the outset of a project. This might include things like unexpected revisions from the client, issues with third-party vendors or suppliers, or unforeseen technical difficulties with software or hardware. Once you’ve identified these risks, you can start thinking about backup plans that will help mitigate their impact on the project timeline.

Another important aspect of creating contingency plans is communicating them clearly to all stakeholders involved in the design process.


In conclusion, setting expectations is a key step in any design project. Taking the time to consider and discuss these seven points can ensure that everyone involved in the project understands what is expected of them. This will result in higher levels of productivity, better communication, and fewer misunderstandings throughout the project. Furthermore, it allows for a more organized process with a greater chance of success.