We often read about designers VS clients, some lessons to win the battle with clients, eight types of clients, etc. Well, there’s nothing wrong about it because, everytime we talk about clients and designers relationship, it’s like a story that never has the end.
Some of them said, whenever the battle start, in an email, in a telephone or even in a short message, there is always one team that 99% will always win, everytime, guess who? Clients. But actually, this time I won’t talk about which team is gonna win the battle or which team is right or wrong, fortunatelly, there’s no need for us to be like that, in my opinion, we as a designers should consider this kind of situation as a collaborative process rather than confrontational process. I have worked here in Waykambas for almost 4 years till now started from 2011, in my humble experience this kind of collaborative process is very helpful and it’s really possible for us to work in partnership with our clients. By doing that kind of process we can put our positive approach with easier, we can easily explain every concept of our design and of course the last thing is we can better understand our clients business and their objectives.
Somehow, if you think that as a confrontational process, unfortunatelly it will leads to a loggerhead. But, I don’t wanna tell you if that kind of situation won’t gonna happen, of course it will happen. Let’s back to our past before we talk too far. You know, you never gonna be a designer if you don’t have a client, especially before you graduated. Sometimes you just make a design or I can say it as an art pieces to make yourself happy, to get public attention, to get high scores, you just gonna do anything to make yourself satisfied and happy. Please underline that word, ‘yourself’. If you search the definition of designer, you will find so many definitions that might make you confused but from what I learned, read and heard, I found one definition that really made my point of view changed, ‘Designer is a problem definer’, we are the one who study about the problem and find the right solution, the right way to communicate but...but we need the one that also know the real problem here, that’s our clients. So, it makes us not only ‘yourself’ but ‘us’, now you have to satisfy yourself and your clients, somehow, it sounds like not fair but that’s the truth, if you can’t do that you are not a designer, because what makes the difference between design and art are clients, because a designer always do something for a reason and with a problem, that’s how then we can develop a solution. So, to make that collaborative process to work, you need to make a good communication.
One thing that I can tell you, we have same client, yours and mine are same (but not every great client of mine will be a great client for you, vice versa). Some of them can make you become a better designers and if you make a false move you’ll be ruined. Some of the clients could be a great partner in every design process. Some of them can change anything or change nothing. In my opinion, there’s only two kinds of great clients here, the first one is a client that loves design, they have a knowledge about design, they have some influence of design in their product , they know the real problem and the other one is the one that don’t give a shit about design, so they will trust it 100% to us to develop the solution. And the worst clients are someone that in the middle of it, they talk like they knew anything about design instead they define the real problem that they want us to define it, and sometimes don’t give a damn about the design. So, when I started to talk about the collaborative process, it doesn’t mean everything are back to designers, but this is the collaborative process that I mean, designers and clients need to be more honest and build a trust within each other. From what I learned, there is one thing we as a designers don’t ever talk about, ‘educating your client’, don’t ever talk about it or even think to do that. Don’t you worry about their knowledge, their personality or anything, because no matter what, trust me, a good and a professional client will only talk about their business, their problem and their objectives, that’s all, on the other hand, the one that should be educated it should be us, the designers.
Finally, that’s the end of our talk about clients for now. Let’s start to make a change for ourselves instead of we try to change the other’s way of thinking, let’s build more collaborative process with our clients/designers to make a better way of communication. Good luck and thank you.