I’m a very peaceful person. I’m good at working with what’s given to me, and I have patience for all different personalities. But you know those clients who get under your skin? The ones that you just feel like you want to shake them and demand they listen to you!? Or better yet, make you want to run away to find a different job...so you do….. Until another one comes along.
Letting these people bother you is choosing to focus your energy on them, which is just like telling the universe, yes, I’m obsessed with crazy people right now. Keep 'em coming!
Okay, now let's talk about clients. I’ve had a lot of them in my career.
I’ve had a lot of clients. Some client projects went smoothly and some were a disaster. Some seemed so easy and fun, it almost felt as if I shouldn’t charge them because good ideas came fast. And some client project had endless revisions, seemed like the project would never end, and basically felt like my soul disappeared, making me want to quit design forever.
Here's what I consider a designer’s dream client:
-Has a crystal clear goal (a REAL goal, not a fake goal)
-Gives all parameters and requirements up front
-Either is the sole approver, or has a small cohesive team who all see eye-to-eye on the end goal
-Outlines what he likes and what he doesn’t like.
-Gets out of the way to let you create.
And here's a designer’s nightmare client:
-Has a specific thing he wants (a logo, a brochure, etc), but no real reason why he wants it.
-Adds more and more details to be created as the project goes on.
-Changes his mind about what he likes everyday.
-Sends you links of exactly the design he wants you to “be inspired from” (aka, "copy this you design monkey!")
-Sends your work to get "outside feedback" (his brother who’s an architect, his second cousin who dabbles in Photoshop, his old colleague who likes to draw… none of whom know anything about the project goal.
Now brace yourself. I have a really big question... What if the client is YOU!? Will you be a dream or a nightmare? Will you let the critics walk all over you and be hovering art directors, or will you reject their input and show them your original creative brief that you’re working on?
We know how frustrating each of these nightmare client things are in our design careers. So why would we put ourselves through our nightmare client avatar—the guy that we wanted to shake earlier, remember!?—and let him take control of our own life? Why would we say that we want something just to have it, with no real reason for how it would make our lives better? Why would we want something, and then second-guess ourselves and fear that we’re not doing the right thing, and then continually procrastinate and change course? Why OH WHY would we ever ask others for feedback on something that our OWN inner muse can only understand?
Phew. It's not your fault. It’s programming. Years and years of that. Years of focus groups, and conference calls, and etiquette telling you how to behave.