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

Chris Johnston chris at fuzzylizard.com
Thu Jul 31 15:31:45 CDT 2003

I definitely feel that I need to defend myself here, before I lose all
self respect with the list.

> Having been on both sides of this coin (as designer and as client), I
> think statements like this do a huge disservice to clients. In fact, it's
> their JOB to put their mark on (to care about) everything that's presented
> to the world as a representation of their company!

I totaly agree with you on this point. They come to you as a designer to
implement *their vision*.

> Come on, folks, clients aren't your enemy, and they don't need to be
> "tricked" into thinking they've made a contribution to a project.

On this point, I have literally seen marketing directors almost ruin a
photoshoot because their client was watching and they had to make their
mark on the project. And I have seen this happen more then once.

True, clients are not the enemy, but on the other hand they are not
trained in graphic design - they are trained in business, or marketing, or
selling watches.

> If my
> hired web designer makes an "obvious mistake," and I as the untrained
> client catch it, I'm going to wonder whether I've made a wise investment
> with that designer.

I believe my choice of words here was unwise. I was writing the tip a bit
tongue-in-cheek. Perhaps that was not communicated well through the email.
For that I apologize.

> Also, I would just like to say that in my experience, a client will not
> seriously mess up a good design unless that design comes as a complete
> surprise to them late in the process. They should be involved from the
> beginning with the color scheme, features, graphical look and feel,
> style/tone of copy, navigation/layering, etc. - so by the time you get
> around to having them review the "good design," they won't seriously mess
> it up because they're already on board with it.

Once again, I must apologize - by design I meant the preliminary designs
that are drawn up in photoshop/fireworks/freehand that are shown to the
client during the very initial stages of the project. I do not and would
not condone keeping a client in the dark through the development stages of
a project. When I create a website I usually draw up two or three designs
using a design program before I ever get to creating a single webpage. I
then show these designs to a client and based on their comments regarding
the sketches, I will then go and create a website. It was those designs I
was refering to.

> If a client makes a
> suggestion that you think won't work, be prepared to explain your position
> and offer an alternative or compromise.

Once again, of course. I totaly agree with you.

Once again, the tip was written somewhat tongue-in-cheek and that must not
have been communicated. However, this is a second hand tip that I am
passing along and I have used it a few times in different settings. Take
it for what it is worth. And I will certainly think twice about posting
such tips to the list in the future.

Chris Johnston

chris at fuzzylizard.com

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