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Sign off

Do you get sign off from clients before you go to the next step in a project? For example, you’ve just spent weeks polishing a design and getting it changed and approved by the client. Do you get a verbal “I like it” or actually hand them a pen and get them to sign it?

It seems to me that a lot of people know that getting signoff is good process, but not a lot of people actually do it. I think mostly out of sheer forgetfulness.

There are many reasons why getting sign off is beneficial to clients.

  1. It gives clients a sense that you follow a detailed, proven process
  2. Communicates to the client that now is the time to make changes, not later
  3. Signifies moving to the next step
  4. Sets up boundaries for client and designer alike
  5. Reminds the client that they are making a decision that could cost them if they change it later

So, do you get sign off?

By Chris Tingom

Principal of Tornado Design, a Phoenix, AZ based web consultancy

5 replies on “Sign off”

actually, i don’t think i’ve ever gotten a client to physically sign-off on any design or project, either on my own or through a group. the only times i’ve seen a sign-off is on print proofs.

usually we communicate by email with clients – so does an email that says “i like it” count as a physical sign-off?

Always get sign off – for all of those 5 reasons above. Just treat it as another part of the business process. I use an email for smaller projects but might ask them to put pen to paper for larger ones.

Sign off — yes, always. I’ve made up a “stamp” in Acrobat that my clients can either sign digitally or manually and return to me via email, fax or regular mail. I use that in combination with a 3 tier payment system. It seems to work out pretty well.

I think that client sign-off is very important in any type of customer relationship where a service is being provided. Especially in this industry where relationships could be torn because of a client never calling it “Complete”. This is where clear, documented requirements need to be created and signed and once those are met the project is complete. If the client wants something changed then it is a change request. Just my thoughts.

I’m a stickler for process and I receive a sign-off for a few milestones throughout a project life-cycle:

1) Project approval
2) Design concept approval
3) Project completion

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