We’ve all been there: A client wants the design to look one way, when you know full well that the design will both alienate and confuse viewers. Your way is the right way, but you don’t quite know how to break it to your financial backer: I mean, without them, you don’t get a paycheck! However, it’s not okay to simply say yes to every desire your clients have. With that in mind, use these tips to fully harness the power of the word no, saving you face with employers while helping them keep their graphic designs top-notch.

Make Sure You Aren’t Being Bitter

Ask yourself: Am I saying no to this design change because I feel an emotional attachment to my idea, or because it makes better business sense to stick to the original design? If you’re making a decision out of personal reasons, you may want to reconsider your feelings. There’s no sense in angering a client—or potentially losing a client—because of your ego. However, if it really does make better financial sense to stick to your guns, do it. Clients are just as susceptible to personal feelings as you are, and sometimes they may lose track of what design will actually fit their needs.

 What Kind Of Client are you Working With?

Next, think about what kind of client you’re dealing with. Is this a small-time client with a one-off design, or is this a large company with lots of potential for future work? Furthermore, is this your first dealing with the employer, or is this an old friend that you feel comfortable with?

The tendency of most designers is to pay special attention to larger, better paying clients with more potential for more work later on. However, this isn’t necessarily the best way to look at things: Treating a small client poorly by refusing each of their design suggestions may alienate you from a start-up that really takes off in a few months. Likewise, sucking it up and saying yes constantly to a large company may not win you as many brownie points as you think. A swift change in management may leave you jobless, and stuck with a portfolio of less-than-stellar designs.

All in all, simply treat your clients with the respect they deserve as people, and explain all of your reasoning’s before you refuse a design change. Most clients will appreciate a well thought-out explanation, and playing nice will help make your day easier.