As a part of the Designer guild, I’ve been suffering the same problems that you do every day while working with different clients. I’m sharing some thoughts that may help you in your daily job. I’m tired of hearing people blaming the client. Let’s go beyond a simplistic fuck off; they want the logo more prominent; they can’t teach me how to design.
I’ll be referring to “you”, but as I mentioned before, I consider myself part of the problem. Note that I’m talking about both internal and external clients.
It’s not the client’s fault
99% of the time, the problem it’s yours. You’re not doing a good job as a designer; you are suffering from your weaknesses, you’re not able to articulate Design properly, so you are blaming the client.
Because it’s easier to blame someone else and not recognize the problem. The client has a problem and hires you to solve it, but now he has two problems: finishing the project and managing a kid that draws pixels.
There are good and bad clients, assuming you picked the right one, that doesn’t grant you the right to do whatever you want. The client his hiring you because they don’t design. Don’t expect design skills from them.
Putting the record straight
Because a client is not supposed to come up with the right questions, drive the conversation and ask them good ones to gather as much useful information as needed.
Because a client is not supposed to share all the real problems, they will share with you what they think the problems are, but it’s your job to listen, understand and translate that into clear, actionable items.
Because a client is not supposed to give constructive feedback unless they know what that means, it’s your job as a designer to guide and explain how to participate and share helpful insights. It may take days, but still, it’s your job to manage that bad feedback and turn it into something useful.
But I’ve worked so hard, and the 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. Let’s blame the client, shall we? No.
A good designer should also be an excellent communicator. You must be capable of articulate and rationalize your work in am an easy way. They will understand the process, recognizing the problems, and the proposed solutions.
If the client understands this, you’ll get better feedback instead of I don’t like it. Keeping this in mind will get you further, as the focus is going to be on generating solutions rather than whining and blaming them.
All these things lead me to the conclusion that’s equally important to design and to articulate your work. They need each other to have a positive impact.
It’s also interesting to keep in mind that yes, you’re the Design expert, but the client knows more than anyone about their business. Let’s work together to combine those skills and achieve common goals.
I understand we’re not living in the country of the lollipop; some clients won’t ever understand nor listen to us. If you find yourself in this situation and the client still doesn’t get it… BLAME THE CLIENT AND FIND SOMEONE BETTER!
However, the problem is still yours; you failed at picking up the right client 😊.