5 things you can do with client-killed projects

We’ve all been there. 

You put hours into a design project for the client to kill it on the spot. What do you do with the designs when this happens? Do you throw them away or keep them? 

We say keep them! There are so many new routes you can take with client-killed projects. In this article, we share your best options to resurrect those designs. Why let them stay dead when they can be Undead? 

1. Add them to your portfolio

First and foremost, add them to your design portfolio. Give them a new life on your website, Behance or Dribbble page. 

Use case study methodology to structure each portfolio piece; this is especially poignant for branding and merchandising projects. A rejected logo as a simple image isn’t as impacting as a curated story about its creation and unfortunate demise. 

All this extra goodness that you add to a portfolio piece shows future clients that you can have a good range and a positive attitude. Case study-style portfolios tell stories about your work and inspire the viewer. 

2. Sell them as templates

Client-killed designs can make great templates for other designers to use. Share them on your website and social media. Submit them to a template and graphics platform like Freepik or Slidesgo

When repurposing rejected designs to sell as templates, give them a little shine and sparkle. Show the designs on mockups or create color variations. Organize and label all the layers and groups on the editable file. 

Do you want to be a Freepik contributor? You can find out more about that here.

3. Reuse them in other ways

A rejected project is a little piece of magic. Once it’s rejected, it has the freedom to be whatever else you want it to be. Take it apart and use pieces on other projects. Rearrange the rejected piece to make something different altogether, and post it on Instagram. 

Add the design to your Society6 or Redbubble store and sell totes, cupholders, phone cases and bedsheets with the once-rejected design. This works best for projects like illustration and posters.

Use the design or parts of it to make stickers, greeting cards, t-shirts, mugs, or anything you can think of. Test how far you can take one rejected design and show your creative range. 

4. Ensure your licensing rights

When starting any new project with a client, ensure the contract states that you own all rejected designs. They might add a clause that their brand name must not appear in your portfolio unless it’s the final design. If so, change the name on the rejected design slightly, and you’re good to go.

Once you sell the rejected design to someone else, have a clear conversation about ownership. They might not want you to use the design on anything else ever again.  Weigh out the pros and cons for each design revival option before going ahead and doing it.

5. Let Freepik resurrect them and claim revenge on your killed ideas

When you’re lucky, the client chooses another of your designs, and the rejected ones go back into a folder on your desktop. But sometimes, the entire project goes kaput. Now you can get revenge for all the work you did—and the broken dreams, of course—in time for World Design Day with #UndeadIdeas.

Give your best client-rejected ideas a second chance. On April 25, we’re bringing your killed ideas back to life in time for World Desing Day. 😎 A design’s sudden death doesn’t mean it can’t become Undead in the future. Now is the time.

Revenge is a dish… you know how it goes. Join us in turning killed designs into killer designs. Start looking for your client-killed projects, make them look cool and stay tuned for news about #UndeadIdeas