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The Graphic Design Wisdom Pills

July 19, 2011

I was browsing through some communication and design books and magazines when I bumped into a quote that was addressing one of the hottest target of the field.

“One of the trickiest of all relationships is
that between a client and a creative:
they can’t get on without each other,
and very often they can’t get on with each other!”
Mario Pricken, graphic design critic

So truthfull!

I can say I have quite a temper and I have been doing this job – the graphic designer – for some years, for these two facts I can frankly state that Pricken’s words are definitely true, sadly true.
The relationship between the client and the creative is a risky one.

Often the client loves to play the creative role. Convince to be just offering some constructing criticism, the client decides they are more creative than ever and begins to move elements across the page, rise, lower and…. and the outcome is usually a disaster, seldom average.

On the other side, the designers accept criticism as a sharp razor blade on the cheek – since our solurtion are as perfect as they are!

… guess you quite understood the scenario: the relationship is at risk.

Let’s work hard to avoid our clients to invade our working space. This happens not by merely telling them not to, but by producing solutions whose quality is crystal clear.
If you offer solutions that are actually effective and unique, your clients will learn to respect you and your work.

Unfortunately the verb create has a high appeal on the clients. Everyone wants to be creative, don’t they? And unfortunately I have the met a creative with a mild personality or a small ego.
Here some ingredients for an explosive mix: the will to be creative, the ego and the temper.
If not enough, then please add an axiom on which the designers way too often build their professional approach: creativity is our own business, and no one else’s.
Most of us believe that the client should only  give the brief and enthusiastically approve the solutions – plus the very welcome task to pay our invoices.

This snooty approach hardens the relationship with the client and zero the mutual exchange of knowledge and information – everything becomes an us and then kind of story.

It is surprising though to discover how many communication masters still shortsightly believe that inspirations is their own backyard and no one else’s. These people are convinced that they somehow own inspiration.

This is not true!

They call us creatives: not only funny but also misleading.
I must admit it is rewarding and some of us gets a  sort of a kick out of it, but this should not block everyone else out of the creative process.

We are asked to produce creative solutions to specific communication demands. This is something we should never forget.
Our experience, our skill, our professionality – three unique assets – are the magic tools to combine the elements in our solutions.

Often the best solutions rely on a simple intuition, the one that sees and shows new links between sign and meaning.

If we are not too blind and too self-referring, we would be able to find that our best solutions hide behind the resources of our clients.

We should listen to our clients, make them part of the creative process. We should learn to ask without feeling ignorant or inadequate. We should see our clients as rich gold mine, as a resource.

  1. I don’t think this comment is quite adequate, but I decided to approve it for the quality of the aetwork and illustrations it shows in their blog

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Story Beneath: Discovering the Creativity World | The Art of Collecting Yourself
  2. Client/designer: the perfect relationship « This Is Graphic Design
  3. The graphic designer in times of recession « This Is Graphic Design

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