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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Relationship Between Graphic Designers and Their Clients

As all graphic designers will know, clients come in many shapes and sizes, making every project a unique experience. Some clients can make you wish you took up another profession while others are a pleasure to work with. Clients - we can't live with them and we can't live without them.

For a graphic designer, the ideal client is the one that doesn't haggle with you on price, the one that pays on time and perhaps most importantly, the one that, while providing you with all the relevant information you need, doesn't get too involved in the design process. They trust your expertise as a designer and leave it to you to create something that will get the right message across to their audience. One of the toughest jobs for a graphic designer, especially when designing a web site, is to balance the conflict that often arises between what their client wants and what the end client wants. Many a times, clients make subjective design decisions based on personal likes and dislikes that can jeopardize the message intended for their audience. Often, they may also demand more than what is required to get their message across, diluting what is important.

Typically, a designer will meet with a client at the kick off meeting to discuss their requirements for, say, a new web site. If there are five of them in the meeting, each one will have their list of five "musts" for the home page. You're left with a list of twenty-five items for the home page, when in fact the user is only after one thing. The conflict now begins between prioritizing what is important for the client and what is important for the end client. A designer's job is to prioritise and pare down the less important items in a place where users can access them if they wish and ignore them if they just want to find out the price of something, read the company story or watch the featured video. Resolving these conflicts isn't always easy. It all depends on the client. Some clients are reasonable and take the designer's advice once he/she has explained the reasoning behind their design decisions. Others, unfortunately, are not so reasonable. That being said, it is the designer's responsibility to always argue their case, politely of course, and not to ignore the end clients just for the sake of getting paid.

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