Art for Another

If you are thinking about becoming a graphic designer or are currently in school getting your degree, there is one element of the career that you must think about carefully: You must be willing to accept that what you create, whether it is a brochure, website or logo—anything, will inevitably be your client’s marketing piece. It may sound simple, but the simple reality of this business is that you have to keep your clients happy. In some cases they love what you do and how you do it, but there are other occasions where the final product might be something you’re not be thrilled with. The bottom line is that your client must love your design because it will be representing them.

You can try your best to persuade/recommend that they take a certain direction, but sadly not everyone understands that we know, to a certain degree, what we are talking about when we make design suggestions. The client should always put their trust in the designer’s hands and understand that the designer wants to make the best design for their company. We are not technical support… we are professionals with artistic talent, a degree and experience.

You’ll most likely also experience those situations where the client becomes very specific about edits such as, “Can you make this part blue, move that over there, make the logo bigger and change the font to…” Beware of the clients who tell you exactly what they want: that becomes a slippery path into “Technical Support”. Some clients are very specific about what they want, which is great to a certain extent.

My personal advice for showing a design proof to a client: You must make sure to tell them, when they describe what they want, that they need to describe how they feel or the impression they get; such as: “It seems too busy to me” or “Can we make it more eye catching.” The client doesn’t need to specify the edits, unless you have used the logo improperly. This way, you can interpret the requested changes in an acceptable style and keep the design professional.

The bottom line is, if you can’t take criticism or direction, you might want to re-evaluate your career choice. If you understand and accept these situations and if you feel joy when a client is so happy with what you’ve created that they are beaming with pride and excitement to show it to the world, then you’ll be okay. There will always be a few “bad” clients. If you’re lucky, you can fire them. There is good and bad with every job. In graphic design you’ll make money, but typically you do not have the option to choose who or what you create designs for. I’ve done work for monitoring systems, does that sound fun? No, but I made it look engaging and I’m proud of the final product.

Finally: if you don’t like the design, the end solution is simple: just don’t put it in your portfolio.

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