Every once in a while, it is probably good for me to be the client. I’ve had two very disappointing design experiences this summer. I am filled with a buyers remorse so acute it makes my eyes burn. This morning it occurred to me- maybe this is the way my clients feel sometimes. I hope not, but it is important for me to be sensitive to the fact that they may be panicking and regretting their choice of designer (me).
This summer I am reworking my online presence and I needed a new logo. I went through an on-line site where a designer is chosen by the client based on their portfolio. I was desperate and wanted something fast. At the same time I wanted to pay someone for their time, so I chose the highest cost logo design that I could. I looked at the logos and chose one a designer whose I thought looked hand drawn but thoughtful. I wrote to her, sent her my current logo and some favorite recent images of mine. She sent me a design questionnaire but before I had a chance to fill it out (less than an hour later, I would have filled it out but I was driving to the Cape) she sent me her first draft.
Ugh. You only get a few revisions. I tried not to worry. I wrote to her again about what I wanted and made more concrete suggestions, didn’t hear back, wrote again, didn’t hear back, wrote again. This was over a couple of days. Sure, that isn’t much time but my original deal was for a 48 hour product! I had asked for feminine and strong, architectural and handmade. I wanted to be wowed with a great idea.
Later, during a different project, I freaked out over color choices. Someone had chosen dusty purple and dusty rose for me. I told myself that to the designers I am probably an impossibly old lady and all old ladies love dusty rose and dusty purple. Of course I was over reacting and I’m over it now, I simply asked for something different and guess what- I got it! But at first- having been presented with a draft of the product with no explanation or narrative- I felt misunderstood and unheard and as thought I had wasted so much money and time.
What did I learn from this? Be responsive to clients, to be otherwise just frustrates anyone. Set a schedule that I (as the designer) can live with, and let the client know what is going to happen when. Give people options. Draw up the option they said they wanted and a couple of versions of it. Most people I work with want to be involved in the design process, and they already have an idea of what they want. My job is to make their dreams come true, as I like to say.