The ideal world does not exist.
Designers and clients are two sides of a looking glass which leads to unique worlds governed by different laws and rules. Each one can enter their respective world through the looking glass and interact with it. Because of that, there is a gap. Every person has a different vision to set things in the right slot. Every vision is to its level best with respect to the person who is dreaming. Ideas become personal and we think we own them. This creates issues and the gap widens. How can we solve that?
From personal experience and analysis, the underlying problem in this relationship is that people don’t want to do what they know best, especially during the creative process, where they try to impose opinions. This is a mistake and affects the quality of the final product.
Forget about vanity, think about the goals. The goal of a designer and his client should be a successful project and a happy user.
I do not support the generally accepted stereotypical way of thinking that clients are bad and designers are arrogant. The truth is never simple nor one-sided and we are aware of that. Everyone loves to joke and blame the client, especially on the internet, the land without rules and consequences, when in fact both sides are equally to blame. No matter how difficult the client is, there might be a chance that you as a designer are the problem.
In the everlasting war of clients and designers, project managers and team members, where everyone is trying to be creative, we often shun and forget the most important element of a project, the end-user!
If there were no users, there would be no need for stakeholders, clients, managers or designers. If you indulge yourself in designing and tune out, whether you are a designer or client, you’ll fall into the trap of doing work that does not make any sense. Hundreds of requested features, a lot of stress, a hard-headed client with a goal and his million-dollar idea, overstressed project managers, unhappy developers. We all make mistakes, what’s important is to be humble, work hard, learn from mistakes and evolve.
Whenever you find yourself faced with a dilemma, put your knowledge at the service of those for which you work so hard; not the client but the user! It’s not about the paycheck and ending the daily dealings with the client but what comes after a very successful project. The sense of fulfillment and joy. The sense of accomplishment. The sense of growth and… new projects. We love our work this is why we do it, to get noticed, to solve problems, to make people happy.
The product is built around the user and his needs.
Do what you know best when it comes to design, team members and clients can feel free to give their advice and suggestions and it’s nice that they try to be creative but this is often unnecessary. Let your designer be creative. Let your client make business decisions. Let the final product be the result of good collaboration, not compromise with someone else’s vanity.
I am not stating that Design is not a collaborative effort it’s just that people are vain by nature. Even designers. Everyone likes to have an opinion about something, instead of trying to solve the problem. It is a commonly repeated pattern and a difficult path, try not to fall into this trap.
Respect your co-workers, listen to their arguments and acknowledge their opinions as if they were your own. Think of your users and you will not go wrong.
Maybe all of this seems too idealistic, but I think that the world can be a better place if we work on our mutual relationships.
Let’s do something about it.