Designing Client Relationships

I recently read a design post that made me reflect on the dynamic between a graphic designer and client relationships. To sum it up, the writer of the post tells designers to stop blaming the client for our bad designs.

At first I felt a little offended by this idea. I mean, I’m the one that knows graphic design, not the client. So even if my design doesn’t work for them, I’m still the one that is right, right? This got me thinking more… and it started to click that no, when a design fails, I’m actually wrong. I’ve had the “I’m Right” mentality before, but ultimately, how is that mentality helping me get better? The client comes to a designer thinking that we are the experts, putting their trust and vision into our hands. That’s a pretty bold move. So when I start designing and my ideas don’t really vibe with theirs, does that mean I should just quit? I would never get anything accomplished if I didn’t keep trying to get our ideas to click together.

Clients and Relationships

This all helped me realize, isn’t developing a great design for a client a lot like forming a good relationship? We both start out as separate parties with two separate ideas of what graphic design means and how it happens. A lot of communication occurs, maybe even disagreements, so we get on the same page to start building something great. Not only must we communicate well with one another, we also must trust each other and hold each other accountable to promises. Sometimes, a client might just break up with me out of nowhere. Though it may blindside me, it’s probably because neither of us was willing to compromise and better our relationship. Other times, one or the other of us might screw up and we have to decide where to go from there. Maybe I deserve a second chance if my designs weren’t quite right the first time or maybe we should just break up so that you can find someone you connect with better. The best feeling is when we do make it over all the bumps in the road and see that there was a real spark that kept us together.

When I know that I’ve formed a good client relationships, I can pretty much assume that a great design is going to come about – and what better feeling is there than that?

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