The following article is a follow up to a discussion between myself and Jacob Cass over at JustCreativeDesign.com
At some point of your freelancing careers, you will, if you haven’t already, come in contact with a client that dictates their entire project. The decide on the colors, the layout, and the typeface (Comic Sans anyone?). Everytime you put in your two sense, you’re shot down. It’s their way or the highway. I mean, come on, you wouldn’t hire an electrician to do electrical work and tell them their doing it all wrong, would you?
Well before you give up and drop every curse word in the book (hopefully after the clients leaves or hangs up the phone) continue to read below for ideas on how you can shed some light on a difficult, mindset client.
Offer and explain your ideas
“As a designer, usually when the client has something in mind you should take their ideas into consideration, listen to them and tactfully offer your professional opinion.”
Remember, you are not just a monkey with the right tools to get the job done. They chose YOU because you are the right person for the job and you must treat it this way. Make sure to listen to their ideas and make sure they listen to yours. And hopefully come to a happy median.
Making the best use of their listening time:
After listening to their idea, it’s now your time and you must do it effectively. Tell them WHY you want to use certain fonts or HOW your color scheme would be more effective then the ones they had in mind. Explain your ideas and reasoning explicitly and carefully. Use the good ‘ol WHO, WHAT, WHY’s and HOW’s and don’t use your fancy design jargon. Save that for the playground! :) Act professionally and hopefully they will treat you that way and increase your chances of having more say with the outcome.
Provides examples and visuals
You can also present them with two mockups of their idea and yours. Although this would require more time and effort (compensate for this in the contract), it would help them visually see the difference. You could also show them books or other examples of good, effective design which would assist helping them gain a broader, more visual idea of design. While showing these examples, follow the same procedure as above, and provide them with precise detail on why and how they work.
One last resort…
Caution: Only use if you are feeling a bit ballsy
Take them to the ‘Make My Logo Bigger Cream’ website. This site showcases videos poking fun at topics that include filling up extra white space with more copy, changing the colors to bright neon to make them stand out more, and obviously, making the company logo BIGGER to stand out. That’s right – all the stuff that makes us designers cringe! Great videos and definitely worth the watch either way.