“I really like how clean and modern it is, but could we fill in all that white space and add these 16 product shots and all four of our tag lines?”
While this is not a direct quote from any of our clients, it is similar to some of the things I’ve heard in the past that have made me want to take my college diploma and light it on fire. One of the biggest challenges is striking a balance between what looks good and what the client wants. There are definitely days when I think to myself, “If all everyone wants are gradients, drop shadows and Papyrus, why am I doing this?”
There are basically three reasons:
#1- Graphic design is what I love. Since my first visual communication class in high school, I’ve found myself noticing and analyzing design everywhere. As with most designers, the tiny details most people overlook stand out to me and usually either excite or irritate me. I can’t remember the last time I was able to eat at a restaurant without critiquing the menu. As much as this drives me crazy, it also makes me good at what I do and keeps me coming back to it everyday.
#2- Not all clients are nightmares. For the most part Roundpeg works with reasonable people who understand we have their best interests at heart and trust that we know what we are doing. I’ve had clients that would actually listen to me explain a design and the reasoning behind it, and come back with some great ideas of their own. These projects always turn out the best because we find the perfect balance of design aesthetic and communicating the message to the target audience.
#3- I know how to pick my battles. I can’t win every time, and fortunately I accepted that years ago. Sure, in my younger years you would have basically needed to pry the scorned design from my cold dead fingers, but these days I understand that some clients know what they want, and right or wrong I must give it to them. I know these pieces aren’t going in my portfolio and that makes me sad, but on the bright side, it gives Allison, Peter and I something to laugh about when we need to take a break from staring at our computers all day. Plus, I always keep my fingers crossed. Maybe someday that guy who tried to get me to create a bouquet of plungers in Photoshop will come to his senses and decide I was right after all.
My advice to anyone who is planning to work with a graphic designer is to bring any materials you find inspiring to the kickoff meeting, speak up and let your designer know your likes and dislikes and most importantly keep an open mind. It is our job to pay attention to design trends and styles and understand how to best convey your message. Remember we’re here to help. We want you, and most importantly your customer, to love your design as much as we do!