As a part of the designer’s guild, I’ve been suffering the same problems than you everyday working with different kind of clients. I want to share with you some thoughts that may help you in your daily job and projects.
I’m tired of hearing you (and my self) blaming the client. Let’s go a bit more further than a simple “fuck off, they want the logo bigger, they can’t teach me how to design”.
I’ll be referring to “you”, but as I told you, I’m part of the guild. Also note that I’m talking about all kind of clients: internal and external ones.
It’s not the client’s fault
In the 99% of the time, the problem it’s yours, not the client. You’re not doing a good work as designer, you are suffering from your weaknesses as designer, so you are blaming the client.
Because it’s easy to blame someone else and not recognize that the problem in this case is just you, the designer. The client had a problem and hired you to solve it, but now he has 2 problems instead of one: the old problem and also managing a kid that draws on the screen.
There are good and bad clients, but assuming you picked the right one, that doesn’t mean that you will be able to do whatever you want. The client hired you because he doesn’t design, so don’t expect design skills from him.
Putting the record straight
Because a client it’s not supposed to tell you the right questions to ask him in order to get useful information. You designer, should be smart enough to communicate, find and ask the right questions to him.
Because a client it’s not supposed to list, organize and explain you the real problems, he just tell you what he thinks the problems are, so you should be able to understand the situation and find solutions to that problems.
Because a client it’s not supposed to know how to give you constructive and good feedback. It’s part of your job as designer explain him how to participate and share useful insight about the design. He may fail again giving you feedback, but again, it’s your job manage that “bad feedback” and turn it in something useful.
But I’ve worked so hard and client doesn’t like the design!
This time you followed and worked hard (as a real designer) and missed the shot, the client doesn’t like your design. Fuck off, blame the client! No.
A good designer should be also a good communicator. You must be capable of presenting and explaining your work rationally, in a friendly and easy way to the client. He will understand the entire process, recognizing the problems and their proposed solutions to solve them.
If client understands the whole thing, you’ll receive a better feedback and not just things like “I don’t like it”. So you’ll be able to fix or improve solutions for specific problems. That’s much better than blaming and crying because the client didn’t understand anything of your perfect designed solution.
All these things have led me to the conclusion that it’s equally important to design and present your work (if not more important). It’s part of our job as designers to communicate and to facilitate the process.
Always remembering to both sides that you’re the expert in design, and the client knows more than anyone about his business, you’re in the same boat, you should work together to achieve the same goals.
Said that, we aren’t living in the country of lollipop and some clients won’t understand never our job as designers. If you find yourself explaining multiple times what’s your job and asking for respect but the client still doesn’t get the point… BLAME THE CLIENT AND GO FOR A GOOD ONE!
But in that case… the problem is still ours, we failed at picking the right client. 😉