One of the natural progressions of a professional designer is getting the wonderful opportunity to work with clients. Many of us can relate to both good and not so good experiences about working with clients when trying to arrive to a proper solution. While not every designer would be best suited for every job that comes their way, designers typically have the potential to do great things when working with clients. As a professional designer we have a responsibility to our clients to do our best work for them, educate them and satisfy them.
Any person should always strive to do their best work. It should be almost second nature. As designers our heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, dreams and aspirations should be going into our trade. Not only will the results show in our work, but also it helps make us better designers with everything new that we create acting as a building block to our foundation. The more we push ourselves is the further we go. We don’t necessarily have to burn our candles at both ends as well as in the middle. Yes, there will be times where that’s our only option. However, once we find that balance between working smart and working hard we’ll be able to do so many great things. Direct all of this energy toward doing our best work in line with what our clients want and tremendous results will follow.
As designers, one of our professional responsibilities is to educate our clients. We should be able to give good reasons as to why we chose to do what we did in terms of the job. For example, if we were commissioned to create a logo you should be able to explain why it looks the way it does. Our reasons behind the colour, shapes, orientation etc. play a vital role in the clients’ understanding of our points of view. Not only should we be able to explain our thought process to the client, but we should also be able to answer various questions in the field. If we don’t know the answer then we should do the necessary research to find out. Chances are most of our clients aren’t professional designers. Naturally, they are less knowledgeable about certain factors such as various file types, different printing methods or whatever other issues may arrive. For example, a client may come with a logo they had created years ago and decide that they want us to design a website. We need to be able to answer whether or not that that intricate logo can be used as a favicon.
Lastly, and most importantly, we need to satisfy our clients. Many of us have a god-complex where we believe that we as designers know everything and everyone else as clients know nothing. We believe whatever we create on the first attempt is gold and the clients are crazy to reject our brilliant genius. However, this is why getting a good idea of what the client wants is a huge asset. We are professional designers and know many things in our field. However, chances are we know relatively little about the fields of chemistry, accounting or agriculture. Of course, we need to do rigorous research in our quest to have a happy client. Nevertheless, listening to what the client has to say makes a big difference. They are the professionals in their respective fields. Often times it happens where our best work gets rejected in favour of something else. There’s no avoiding that fact. However, as a designer we can work with the client so that ultimately everyone is happy. We don’t have ichor in our veins. This is why we must try to educate our clients so that they understand the deeper meaning behind our actions.
Inevitably, there will be the client whom we cannot satisfy. During situations like this we need to evaluate whether the effort is worth the result. If we believe that it is, then we must do our very best. Conversely, if we believe that it isn’t, there’s no shame in bowing out and letting the client’s needs be met elsewhere.
With that being said, working with clients can be a great experience. It allows us to learn new things, meet new people and touch new lives. Our creations play a fundamental role in the clients’ image. We create their face that the world sees and they create their personalities. As long as we try to do all that we can to keep our clients happy and informed, we shall always have them returning for more.