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Client Journey in Creative Design

Navigating the Client Journey in Creative Design Consulting: A Deep Dive into Decision-Making Theories

With a rich business experience in the creative design consulting process and with human behaviour, I’ve observed a phenomenon that often occurs during client interactions. This phenomenon, which involves a shift in client expectations and satisfaction levels, can be perplexing but is deeply rooted in human behaviour and decision-making theories.

The creative design consulting process is a journey that begins with a thorough consultation, scope, and brief. The initial designs are presented to the client, who then provides feedback. This feedback is incorporated into the next set of designs, and the process continues until the client is satisfied with the final product.

In our new Maxys Ai-empowered “Think-Design-Create” process, a client initially selected one design out of twelve images presented and expressed high satisfaction, stating it was 90% towards what they wanted. After providing feedback and receiving twelve more variations, however, the client’s satisfaction level with some designs dropped to 40%, while the satisfaction with the preferred image only increased to 91%.

Paradox of Choice

This phenomenon can be explained by several theories. One is the “Paradox of Choice”, proposed by psychologist Barry Schwartz. According to this theory, while some choice is undoubtedly better than none, more is not always better than less. An abundance of choice can lead to anxiety, regret, and ultimately, a decrease in satisfaction. As the client is presented with more options, they may feel overwhelmed and less satisfied with their final choice.

The Paradox Of Choice

Another theory (debunked) is the “Dunning-Kruger effect”, which suggests that as individuals gain a little knowledge about a subject, their confidence disproportionately increases, leading them to overestimate their understanding. In this case, as the client becomes more familiar with the design process, they may feel more confident in their ability to critique and select designs, leading to shifting expectations.


This shift in expectations and satisfaction levels can impact the design consulting process by extending timelines, increasing costs, and potentially leading to client dissatisfaction. To manage this, it’s crucial to set clear expectations at the outset, limit the number of choices presented at each stage, and educate the client about the design process and the implications of their feedback. Regular, open communication can also help to ensure that the client feels heard and understood and that their expectations are being met.

In conclusion, understanding human behaviour and decision-making theories can provide valuable insights into client interactions in the creative design consulting process. By applying these theories, consultants and clients can better manage expectations, improve satisfaction levels, and ensure a successful project outcome.

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Scott Maxworthy Director
Experienced, “hands-on”, results-driven, digitally savvy marketing leader specialising in customer experience, data-driven marketing strategy, content production and social media. A deep understanding of consumer behaviour, data analytics & marketing technology with over 20 years of managing people, projects, budgets, to business objectives.