Thank you

I thank you.

Working with great clients on interesting projects is the best feeling in the world. I love building a relationship, working together to achieve a common goal and then celebrating the rollout. But after that last deliverable is, well, delivered, the last communication between a designer and a client is usually the account: a final invoice. And sometimes it’s not even from the designer, it’s from an anonymous accounts department.

Is that the best we can do?

Is that the last memory we want to leave with a client?

I love the journey of a project. I like the start: getting to know a new client or re-connecting with an older client. I like the research: sharing insights and co-creating. And I like the satisfaction of delivering on brief and on budget. I just don’t think ending a great project with an invoice is the best I can do.

Sure, we can go out for a drink to celebrate, but it’s often crowded and can be at the end of a long day. We can do lunch, but some of my clients have supplier/ client protocols that frown upon any transactions that could be misunderstood.

For years I searched for a perfect way to punctuate a client relationship. Not a goodbye, but something to show my appreciation and acknowledge – for lack of a better word – the journey we’ve been on.

I did work for a boss that regularly added a handwritten note to the final invoice and I like that and copied it for years. The problem was, my beautifully crafted handwritten note often went to the accounts department and not my client.

I think I’ve found a way to improve on that idea.

Now at the end of a large project, I send my client a ‘thank you’ note. A handwritten note thanking them for trusting me with their project and saying how much I enjoyed the process. It doesn’t take long to write and mail – the cost  cost is around $1 – and the ROI is amazing.

First a bit of background.

I’ve been thinking about ‘thank you’ notes recently when I received two packages on the same day. Both included a thank you note. That’s not unusual – many online retail businesses send an acknowledgement with their delivery – but they were perfect examples of how some do it way better than others.

Both were from online purchases. I spent roughly about the same amount of money with both companies, and while I like both their products, one of the cards I threw straight into the bin and the other I left on my desk to ponder.

Matt’s handwritten note thanking me for my purchase made such an impact on me, it started me thinking about how it may work for my clients as well.

Then last week I found someone else thinking along the same lines.

This blog articulates why thanking your customers directly generates word-of-mouth. And we all know that word-of-mouth marketing is gold.

Why handwritten thank you notes work.

I think handwritten thank you notes work because they are old-school polite, and because they are (sadly) quite unusual. No-one does it anymore.

Sure, you could write an email, and I’m sure it would still make an impact, but I prefer to handwrite a note.

And because no-one uses snail-mail anymore, an Australia Post delivered (yep, you’ve identified the a weakspot) note gets noticed. And kept.  I’ve seen my notes pinned to client’s notice boards. I don’t think you’d see an email pinned up in the same way.

So, handwriting a thank you note works for me. No reason why it wouldn’t work for you too.

Thank you for reading this 🙂


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Carol Mackay

Carol is the owner of Mackay Branson, a design studio currently celebrating 32 years in business.  Her expertise is in the use of design to package complex content into bite-sized chunks of information that are easy to understand and digest. She does that with clients in the corporate, cultural, government and not-for-profit sectors. Connect in LinkedIn, or read more at