Never Let Your Client do Design for You

Designers often complain about Clients that don’t know anything about design and how they have to spend more time educating them. On the flip side, working with well informed and design savvy Clients can be a headache as well.
One thing the latter tends to do is over specify the type of design that they want. The end result of such discussions is designers, as a colleague says, become another “pair of hands”.
That is dangerous on many levels especially if you are responsible for the quality of that design. Also this can be a difficult situation as there is a fine line between Clients giving a clear brief and becoming too involved in the design creation process.
In general, discussions about configurations and how the product is used is great, but when the discussion starts to lean towards how it looks and how the form should be created, it is time to nip it in the bud, and re-educate.
In general there is no perfect Client, education and good communication is the key.

5 Comments
  • Jon

    August 21, 2008 at 1:18 pm Reply

    Nip it in the BUD, amigo….not in the butt 😉

  • DT

    August 21, 2008 at 1:54 pm Reply

    LOL! Thanks Jon, and nice to here from you…

  • JIm Rait

    August 21, 2008 at 7:00 pm Reply

    Challenging thought:
    Design savvy clients don’t write prescriptive briefs… we fall into the trap of assuming people are design savvy when all they know is they want the iPod of……whatever sector they are in. The trick is to challenge the brief as an exercise of making sure we all understand the brief… This opens up the OODA loops (Google it!). We eventually put “challenge the brief” as a process activity.. both as an internal excercise before we went out to design houses and also with the design houses to make sure they understood the opportunity…. and remember the briefing is an ongoing activity not an event. We on both sides of the conversation need to suspend our exactness to allow for emergent opportunity… Not easy but worthwhile if leading innovation and managing design is going to power us to consistent success. (iPod not RAZR)!

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