Clients, Why You Should Listen to Your Designers
And why we charge for designs.
Imagine you have a 1978 Volkswagen Bus. You love it. There are many mornings when it won’t start up, and you reach into the engine (way back there in the back there) and pull on wires and adjust some levers enough to get it started. When one of the pistons lost compression altogether and the engine needed to be rebuilt though, you knew you were in over your head and therefore took it to a shop to have a guy who was recommended do it for you. When the job was over, you had your opinions on how it was done, yes, but certainly never told him how to do the job while in the process. If you knew better than him, you should have done it yourself.
Yes, it’s an analogy, but just as it is wise for designers to listen to their clients before beginning a project, it is imperative, clients, that if you’re looking for the best end product – be it a brochure, business card or branding – that you listen to your designers.
Top three reasons Clients Should Listen to Their Graphic Designers:
1.You think you know, but you don’t. If you did, you would be doing it. It’s that simple and there are absolutely no exceptions to this rule. You know how to take good photographs, so you have never hired a photographer. You know how to make a decent, but not excellent, dinner, so you only make dinner for your family. No one has ever hired you to make dinner for them because you're not good enough to do it. You have no idea how to birth a baby, and so when your second son came along a month ago, you let the nurses do the dirty work. The results? You have great photos around your house, your family only mildly grumbles over dinner, and you have a beautiful healthy 1-month-old baby boy. The moral: If you knew how to do design work, you would be doing it. You would be creating your own beautiful, functional designs, and not paying someone thousands of dollars to do it for you.
2. There’s more to it than your favourite shade of purple. If you’re lucky enough to have found yourself a good designer then they are not just picking out random colours from a Pal Easter Egg Kit and slapping your logo here, a menu there, etc. A decent designer will at least tell you why things are on the page the way they are. Even a mild designer, whose portfolio you like and who has done somewhat well for themselves, will have gotten to where they are by having a bit of knack for knowing about user experience and layout, not just how to add some outer glow and a nice background of the sun coming over the horizon. The moral: When you’re about to make a decision like “I think this should be red” or “Can we move this 2 pixels to the right?” do ask yourself “And exactly what is the benefit of doing that?” If your designer’s good, you can believe they thought about it already.
3. And the number one reason is….You will get a better design in the end. When a client makes decisions based on nothing more than personal bad taste, a few things happen: the designer gets fed up with what he perceives as the client’s “stupidity”, the designer loses interest in doing his best job, because the client has already made that impossible by requesting he do subpar, opinion-based work rather than base the designs around any real facts or ideas. So when you take away the gusto from behind your designer’s wings, he is no longer motivated to give you the best product he can create. You have simply reduced him to a pixel manipulator, where he is specifically doing what he does based on your know how. To circle back to that VW Bus mechanic, it’s like you standing over his shoulder telling him how to rebuild the engine. If you would have done that, the engine never would have started. Sure, it may have sat nicely in the engine compartment, but turn the key and nothing would have happened. Moral: Do you know how many designs are sitting out there in the driveway, people turn their key and nothing happens? The answer is “most of them.”
THAT BEING SAID
Designers should listen to clients too.
1. Your clients know their product, so very much better than you do.
2. Your clients are humans, and humans have opinions. The better you understand their opinions, the better you will be able to provide them with a design they like, and therefore you are happy with as well.
3. We want to design around cold hard facts, around what’s best for the user experience, no? Correct, but let’s face it: there’s no one perfect design. When you factor in what your client wants to see what will work best for the end user, everyone wins.
Too often we, as designers feel like we know best. We come up with some really shiny, smooth and wonderful design and the client says…”Nah, I think a bright orange box with red Times New Roman would look good there.” When this happens, don’t run for the hills with your box of “Ok, well you’ll get the design, and I’ll take your money, but let’s never speak of this again,” but rather we try and remember that this is the perfect time to educate your client on why something might not be the best choice.
WHY WE CHARGE FOR DESIGNS
Whether hourly or for every little thing we do.
What Graphic Designers Do
Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for various applications such as for advertisements, brochures, magazines etc.
Graphic designers typically do the following:
Meet with clients or the art director to determine the scope of a project
Use digital illustration, photo-editing software, and layout software to create designs
Create visual elements such as logos, original images, and illustrations that help deliver the desired message
Design layouts and select colours, images, and typefaces to use
Present design concepts to clients or art directors
Incorporate changes recommended by clients or art directors into final designs
Review designs for errors before printing or publishing them
For designers to deliver the outstanding work they do, as quickly as they do and incorporating all the above elements, they go to college and university and study. They pay for years of tuition and software, do internships for free and deal with all kinds of criticisms while working their way up through small companies and bad salaries to the point where they deliver exceptional work quickly. You might ask why you have to pay N$ 350 an hour for design work that will take 30 minutes if your designer is so skilled and efficient? Well, it took years of experience and studying, researching and adapting to new software to do that design in 30 minutes as opposed to the next guy who will charge N$ 50 but take 8 hours and deliver a sub-par design.
Like any law firm or doctor's consulting office where you get billed hourly, a designers time is valuable. Boost Printing Solutions is a much a design studio as it is a print studio. Paying for designs and paying for a designers time is what pays our designers salaries. The might not be doctors or attorneys but they have honed their skills of years and paid their dues and therefore are able to deliver exceptional work in good time.
We are very relaxed with our rates but time spent designing needs to be charged for. The client will find if they try to circumvent this fact and go somewhere else the end product of a qualified experienced designer is always better. Not only are you paying for a professional service, knowing you are paying hourly motives you to be clear and precise in your briefs and to the point with alterations and amendments, as time is money.