Let’s Talk Trust Issues
In my time, both as a freelance designer and a full-time employee, I’ve come across a common issue regularly prevalent in the design industry – lack of trust.
When it comes to critical projects, clients frequently want to be the designer. Even when I’m told I have complete creative liberty, I still get questions like, “Could we try changing the color/font/size? Could we add a gradient/drop shadow/outer glow? Can you make everything center aligned?”
The list goes on and on. These suggestions may occasionally turn out to be helpful. However, more often than not, they eat time while providing no real benefit. Of what is suggested, most I have likely tried and observed how they fail to meet the requirements and goals of the design. What a client may view as a visual preference may ultimately negatively impact the design and how it functions for their users.
Don’t Worry, I Understand
I get it. This is your website or your logo – it’s your baby. You’re paying good money so it can look the way you’ve always dreamed. However, the image you have in your head may not be the best option. It may not function in all the ways you need it to, causing issues down the road.
It may not age well with your business, needing a redesign within several years. Your dream logo with eight different colors and a gradient will cost much more to print than a simple one or two color option. Your required color palette may cause text to be unreadable to people who are colorblind. We don’t all have time to become a design expert with the intricacies it entails. That’s why I am here – because I already did.
How Can You Help?
All I ask is that you trust me. Trust I will raise and care for your branding as if it were my own. Feed it, bathe it, tuck it in every night… okay, this is getting weird. But, you get the point. The thing is, I’ve got you covered. I know what I’m doing so you don’t have to.
However, I still need you. You, the client, are the most integral part of the design process. You dictate the direction I take from the start. While I’ll do the heavy lifting, I’ll still need plenty of information from you. Let’s talk about some ways you can help me make your vision come to life.
Don’t hold back when talking about your company and brand
You know more about your company than anybody else. While I may know more about design, your line of work is likely wholly new to me. You are the expert, so please talk as much as you can about everything relating to your business. I love initial discovery meetings. Hearing people talk about their passion is incredibly rewarding. When we meet, I’ll give you a list of questions to answer about your business and brand, but you are still welcome (and encouraged!) to elaborate further on anything you deem as necessary even if it is not included in my list.
Give useful feedback
Feedback is always encouraged, but you want to make sure in the long run, your comments are helpful for the development of your brand. This means giving proper, useful feedback which communicates your thoughts. Simple responses like, “looks good” or “make it different” will not help guide me to your vision. To give helpful feedback, consider the goals and objectives of the design work, and try to determine where it may not be meeting your expectations. Providing examples of design work you like is a great way you can help me understand where my efforts may be falling short of your vision. This is especially helpful if you are struggling to put words to something which feels ‘off’ to you.
Be open to new ideas
Whenever somebody comes in asking for a logo design, about half the time, they will hand me a graphic they found online and say, “Make this, but for us.” While having something to go off at the start can be useful, it’s commonly known your first idea isn’t always the best idea. For clients who have an exact plan for their logo, I will often design what they ask for and then create one which is entirely different but still fulfills all the same objectives. Clients are often surprised at how much they like the alternate option. For this reason, you should always stay open-minded to other ideas. You never know when a different solution will become your new favorite.
Don’t be Dr. Frankenstein
Sometimes, I’ll create two different design directions and have the client choose their preference. Upon seeing multiple options, clients will occasionally ask for a convoluted mash-up of their favorite aspects of both designs. If you didn’t read Frankenstein in your high school English class, then, spoiler alert, Dr. Frankenstein and his monster both die at the end. We want your company and your brand to grow and thrive, so don’t be Dr. Frankenstein.
Ultimately all these points boil down to trust. Trust that I will take the utmost care of your brand and designs. Trust that I am experienced and knowledgeable in the field. Trust that my suggestions are based on solid reasoning, not just guesses, and visual preference. In return, I will work hard to earn your trust by collaborating to create something which fulfills your needs elegantly and deliberately.