[thelist] Dealing with clients and design issues (was Re: Should you go against your Client?)

Chris Johnston chris at fuzzylizard.com
Thu Jul 31 12:24:42 CDT 2003

> One of the problems with designer/client relations is that clients are
> usually in control of every aspect of their business. However when
> commissioning a website/IT system they often feel out of the decision
> making loop. So when you go to them with a small issue they will often
> use it to make their stamp on the project. To feel that they are still
> in charge and have contributed.

The above comment reminds me of a graphic design tip that I heard and have
used on several instances.

<tip type="Client and graphic design" author="Chris Johnston">
When trying to design something for a client always leave a mistake. Not a
spelling mistake or something obvious like that, but a design mistake.

Clients, especially business clients, have to put their mark on everything
that comes under their influence. Therefore, when they hire a designer to
create something for them, somehow they have to leave their mark on that
design. (Marketing directors are the worst for this).

Therefore, to keep the client from seriously messing up a good design,
place an obvious mistake somewhere in a non-crucial area of the design.
The client will see the mistake, correct it and leave the rest of your
design alone.

This makes both the client feel good - they are participating in the
process and have had the chance to make (to them) a critical design
decision - and it provides some satisfaction for the designer knowing
his/her design will remain in tact.

I have used this tip quite a bit when designing layouts for websites for
clients. I will design a layout that I think will work perfectly and then
I will design a second layout that is weeker. They disgard the weeker
design and I get to implement the design I like.

Chris Johnston

chris at fuzzylizard.com

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