I recently read a toe-curling article on LinkedIn advising marketing professionals and business owners on best practice when “dealing” with Creatives. Let me start by saying that for the entire article, you could’ve changed the word Creatives and put in Toddlers, change the word Design for Mess and it would’ve made more sense. You get the picture.
The tone of the whole thing was about dealing with someone who has made something and its personal to them and to try get changes from them was going to be difficult but the author went on to further insult the reader and suggest they accept the Creative had a little love invested in it and to tread very carefully, perhaps differently than if you were dealing with any other kind of professional
If I am designing something, or inventing a marketing campaign for a client, I will put my best efforts into the initial steps. I will guide and I will support. But I most certainly want comments and a critique.
The only way to have a good relationship with your clients is to equally respect them and encourage them. To offer advice and support them and their business but not to be a stubborn idiot. I recently had a client who had a logo I felt needed updating. I made the suggestion, I even did a few options but it really wasn’t what they wanted. In the end we agreed that they were simply too used to looking at their original logo which was perfectly fine, functioning at a level they were perfectly happy with and that should they wish to re-brand down the line, they had a direction to follow. END OF CONVERSATION. I am not going to push my agenda which isn’t fair.
My client matters too much to me and their product is THEIR product wrapped up in THEIR vision. The job of the Creative is to visualise those requests and support them, not to bury them.
I’ll be honest, it took me 20 years to reach this point in my professional development. This is the point at which I am confident in what I can suggest but also mature enough to know when to back off and what the client wants. I was a tad overly confident in my early career and not essentially good at listening so this is something I have arrived at after a good amount of time. Now I always take instruction and if I do not agree with it, I will voice that opinion but I know when to take it and walk. This is the difference between and experienced designer and one that is hot with ego. Every single client relationship and new project is a team building exercise and not an opportunity to make you feel better or gleam a better portfolio piece.
Park the ego and work with your client. Get what they want and what you both feel is right, do it with manners and be pleasant and the relationship will be amazing and the work will shine.