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Why your Client is Not Stupid

Admit it, as a freelancer, designer or anything else you get those clients with the weirdest ideas where your chin just drops and you get speechless.

Not in a good way unfortunately…

They come up with the weirdest concepts like:
“Shouldn’t we add a talking dog on the frontpage to make it more personal?”
That one is still alright to some point. But there are tons of annoying clients moaning like: “I’m not going to pay you for drawing a few hours, you like it anyways. So many people draw in their free time.”
That’s just plain nonsense to be honest.

1. An External Person can Think Outside the Box

Too many of us forget to see we’re not the only persons that know something about our work. It’s easy to start thinking in the way of being the only person that is right, often after a few experiences that made you think something.
Just don’t get stuck in that view, the clients can come up with great ideas.

Let’s take this example of the talking dog I mentioned earlier. You might just want to *facepalm* and hang up the phone.┬áBut think about it, the way he said it isn’t really interesting for a web design, but he is a website user too. This means there is at least 1 out of the 6 billion people on earth that would like this website.
The client tries to express his own view and feeling around that subject, it is YOUR task as a designer to reduce that talking dog idea to a component that fits.

Just look at MailChimp, their site is mentioned in numerous lists of great designs. mascots are all over the place now, so was this idea of the client actually so bad? I don’t think so.

2. A client often Knows his Audience Better than You

If this client with his talking dog idea has a fashion business, you’re an outsider.
This brings us back to point 1, you’re the external that can think outside the box, but you’re not always an user of their service or product.

The client knows his own clients like clothes… and Chihuahuas.
Do you find it disturbing to find an advertisement on a Photoshop blog about PC or Mac hardware?

Got more reasons? Comment them and they’ll be added to the list!

3 Responses

08.01.10

Hey man! Do you remember me , right?
Just wanted to say that your site is fucking amazing!
Keep up on writing those articles , they’re really interesting!

I hope everything’s fine , uh? : D

Gotta go now..
See ya :)

08.01.10

I’m doing great r4dio, just started with school again today and it’s gonna be tough, so much to do :O

Thanks for stopping by!

To be honest, an untrained person can often throw up more interesting ideas, as they don’t know where the defined boundaries are.

(I once heard the theory that the best bands have half professional musicians, half amateurs)

That said, I tend to find the best approach for the more outlandish requests is to say “I will do that if you really want, but I advise against it because…” and offer your knowledge from experience.

Ultimately, you are being paid to do what they want. If they ignore your advice, then the blame for it not working (or indeed the credit if it does) would lie in their court.

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I recently started my higher education as a Graphic Designer and I will be running the Interactive Design part of it. That includes photography, making movies, flash animations and web design and the design of web applications.

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