Understanding your clients

Hardest thing about being a designer is not the designing itself, it’s understanding clients. We all have dealt with indecisive clients who don’t seem to know what they want and change their mind all the time. There are times when approvals or design sign-offs seem to have no effect at all. Most designers don’t have a clue why certain clients act this way and conclude that clients are insane.

Designers become frustrated and switch from creative to “just-get-the-shit-done” mode. This happens all the time whether they realize it or not. And most clients end up with work done in the latter mode. This isn’t cool nor healthy for either parties. And since we can’t and shouldn’t expect clients to change their way of thinking, we should look at the matter in a slightly different angle. I’ve discovered that by looking at how we (designers) do things, we may be able to understand why they (clients) behave the way they do.

Think about how many times you undo, move, or delete to modify something that looked good few moments ago.

Say you’re working on some design whether it’s for a client or for your own in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign or whatnot. And just try to count the times when you have changed your mind. Think about the times when you’ve toggled between choices of fonts, shade of color, size or position for hours not knowing what you wanted. Think about how many times you undo, move, or delete to modify something that you thought looked good few moments ago. We change our minds hundreds and thousands of times in one sitting. It turns out that we are indecisive as well. More so and more extreme than any of our clients. We just don’t realize this because we are the ones doing the design and everything is processed in an instant in our heads. But just imagine if we had to rely on someone else and tell them what we want or think we want. All the indecisiveness and mind changing will become vocal. And before we know it, we will become nightmare clients ourselves.

We all behave and act the same way when we leave something that’s ours at others’ mercy. We all become indecisive and sometimes even irrational. Imagine, if you were to hire someone to design your house, floor plan, kitchen, garden or someone to plan your wedding, vacation, finances, retirement or anything that is out of your profession, we’d all have comments, inputs or opinions that seem absurd or ignorant to professionals in that area. So it’s only natural that our clients act the way they do when the look of their logo, website, catalog or ad is at our mercy. Just try to be little more understanding because, god knows, if we were in their shoes, we’d be much worse.

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