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#1 GooMoo

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 05:58 PM

Before I start, I'm not actually mad at anyone in particular, just the situation, since it happens fairly often with clients and contests alike. The following example is not meant to disrespect anyone, it's just an example.

How do you deal with clients that don't like what they ask for? All too often I get "can i have this that and the other thing?" and i bring them "this that and the other thing" and they turn up their nose at it. I've even had responses so bad as "oh HELL no i don't like that at ALL"; even though it was exactly, to the T, what they asked for.

For example: client says "I like blue and gray with orange accents, small buttons in pixel fonts, sort of the trendy techno look". I produce that. "no no too orange not enough blue, wrong fonts, more techno trendy". I produce that. "that's good the way it is". not exactly an encouraging response. contest ends. the design chosen is: a whole lot of orange, not a spot of blue to be seen, no pixel fonts, and not techno trendy at all.

I can't count the number of times I've encountered situations like this. I know I don't go into a restaurant, order a steak, then throw it in the waiters face and tell him to get me the fish I see at the next table over; I order what I want to eat. And you can't get mad at the client, that doesn't solve anything, and you can't account for personal taste.

We're all experts in our field here, we know what designs will be effective in reaching the clients target audience and suiting his needs. But what do you say when a client says "I want something ineffective, inefficient, and hideous." Agree/disagree? Discuss... :D
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#2 jlinds72

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 07:18 PM

I do completely agree with you, and understand where you're coming from. I think the dilemma here is that people who are creative/artistic see things completely differently than people who aren't. A lot of people can't envision something completed, but just have an idea in mind of what they "think" that they want. When their vision is brought to fruition, they either like it, or they don't. We might think that something looks awful, when someone else might think that it looks great - and everyone has a different style. "One man's trash is another man's treasure" comes to mind. Even though it gets incredibly frustrating, we have to remember that in this business - the customer is always right. We can give our opinion and recommendations, but must keep in mind that what we think is "exactly what they are looking for" isn't necessarily what will be in the end. That's what makes these contests so interesting - and at times frustrating :)

~Jenn
Jenn Lindsey - Freelance Graphic Designer
"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong" - Joseph Chilton Pearce

My website: jennlindsey.com

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#3 ShaneLinkcom

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 07:37 PM

Well I have only just joined over the weekend...Entered my design for the KingdomX logo contest and came out on top with that one. That was my first contest, and my first win at DC. I got really inspired by the whole concept of this site and found myself behind the monitor till 3 in the morning, couple hours of sleep and I was back at it again. I can relate to what you feel on this topic because that is what is expected in this industry. There is some really good competition in this place and I have actually learned a little as the days go on. Thats what its all about...a big learning curve. Now the clients however I believe need to be more interactive with the site. I would like to see more opions posted at closer intervals that why us the artist have a more sucessful chance at gaining success with our final designs. So I believe in keeping the peace, giving the client exactly what they want and having fun here. Wouldn't we all make the perfect design firm. We could take over the World!!!! Now back to work people!!! Later
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#4 Neupix

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 10:08 PM

You are 100% right in what you say GooMoo. To many times have I been asked to do one thing, and then once that thing is produced its not what they want.

What really bothers me is when people ask to have site that looks like an already popular website. They don't understand that we can't just copy that design and not get in some sort of trouble for it. 9 times out of 10 I can spot a website thats based around another.

I think many clients do not understand how much work and thought goes into creating designs for them.. almost as if they think we can whip something perfect up in 30 minutes. Maybe not all are like that, but some are :)

But jlinds72 is absolutely right on the mark. As designers we must understand that we have a trained eye to see and understand what's good, bad and ugly. Clients don't have this eye, and what may look extremely cool to them, looks absolutely horrid to us. So our job, as designers, is to tell them why our designs are better than the rest. You need to give them detailed explanations of why you used a certain shade of blue, and why you used a certain pixel font, and why you used orange in the way you did. Just remember: Why, Why, Why...
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#5 GooMoo

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Posted 17 February 2004 - 04:55 AM

Thanks for the affirmation guys. Penguin brings up good points, and one of the solutions to the problem. One of the things I do with some clients that aren't too sure what they're lookin for (specially ones that aren't internet savvy) is ask them to send me a list of 5 sites they would like thier's to look like, and what they like/don't like about them. Taking this info and putting my own lil spin on it of what I feel could be done better, usually starts us off with a pretty good base. I've noticed some of the contest holders here are doing this and it's great to see.

Explinations... sometimes I could explain why I did what I did until I'm blue in the face and it won't make a client like it any better. The customer IS always right, you have to be very careful "explaining" things to a client. If you let off the slightest inclination that the client is "wrong", you've lost yourself a client. In this case, beauty is in the eye of the moneyholder. It's hard to suck it up and admit that you didn't produce what the client wanted, but it's better to do that than establish a poor reputaion for telling clients they're wrong. Word of mouth is very important advertising, it's usually the most promising although infrequent.

Explinations can work if you tread lightly enough, has anyone else found good solutions to this? Another thing I try to do, though exceedingly difficult to pull off, is listen to what the client is asking for without voicing it. Interpreting what a client doesn't say is a darn hard task, something that only comes with experience, and with such a wide client/genre base it can get really hard to interpret people. From music to trucks to hosting to restaurants to pets to aerospace to realestate, every client is radically different from the next.
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#6 simplistik

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Posted 18 February 2004 - 09:46 PM

Explinations... sometimes I could explain why I did what I did until I'm blue in the face and it won't make a client like it any better. The customer IS always right, you have to be very careful "explaining" things to a client. If you let off the slightest inclination that the client is "wrong", you've lost yourself a client. In this case, beauty is in the eye of the moneyholder. It's hard to suck it up and admit that you didn't produce what the client wanted, but it's better to do that than establish a poor reputaion for telling clients they're wrong. Word of mouth is very important advertising, it's usually the most promising although infrequent.

Explinations can work if you tread lightly enough, has anyone else found good solutions to this?



I don't really agree with a lot on this post but, one thing I'll comment on is the above statement. You DON'T have to be careful in explaining anything. Most clients value the designers input and they will not criticize you for voicing your opinion. They are understand that you want to produce the best product for them as well, not only does it reflect them but you as well. I've not had one client that didn't take my opinion and value it. The only thing that you could do wrong is pitch your idea wrong, didn't have valid backing for your ideas, or your presentation wasn't good enough.

Also, if you're havin' a hard time with the client not liking your idea then you may want to find a different line of work. MOST clients will not like you're design right off the bat. I'm very leery about any client that likes my first shot at anything. I may think it's great and all that jazz, but I hope that everytime I make something they have something to comment on.

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#7

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 12:14 AM

I completely agree that it's a good thing to let the client know why and what you used in your design work. But what is very important that this only applies when we have a professional designer and a not very design savvy client. What really makes me mad is when a beginning designer tries to fill his work with "meaning" by explaining what "feel" and "emotion" different aspects (colors, shapes) of his/her work imply. And you know, if a client doesn't have the "natural taste" he might buy it. And this is quite sad.

#8 GooMoo

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 06:18 AM

I hate to disagree with an admin there's lots of proven market/psycological research that shows how colors and shapes can effect a person's feelings about a product. Blues, greens and curves relax; while reds, yellows and sharp angles excite. A perfect example of this is fast food restaurants, all thier signs/logos are primarily red and yellow. On a web document a logo is most likely to be seen in the top left corner, then in the bottom right corner, because that's how we read. Red has connotations of "no", "bad", "caution" while green means "yes" and "good". Drop shadows and 3 dimensional shapes make a customer feel more as though they are interacting with a site rather than reading it like a newspaper (not that reading a newspaper is a bad thing). There are people called "User Interface Analysts" who's sole purpose is to find out these kind of things for internet companies. Their best source of information usually being focus groups. A dozen or so people in a well rounded group (varying ages, races and sexes) are asked to review a site, then asked a series of questions including: "Do you like the shape(s) of the logo/interface?" "How did the colors in the site make you feel about the company?" "Do you remember what was in the bottom left corner?" "Was the navigation you wanted easy to find?" All answers collected, analyzed, and passed on to the designers/developers, and even published to be taught to art, advertising, marketing and psycology students. Of course the effects of said research can be very miniscule on an individual basis (specially since the internet is such a diverse media) every little bit helps. And not to say you couldn't make a red website with sharp angles look relaxing either.

Unless all this is outside of what you meant, in which case my sincerest appologies. (but hey it's still something to share with the group!)
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#9 simplistik

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 01:41 PM

i think his point was... you can't explain that crap to a client all the time because they prolly wouldn't understand and they may not care. besides, why be a follower and do what everyone else does? push the limit and do something out of the norm, set the bar instead of staying below it.

btw you shouldn't appoligize for disagreeing with an admin.

www.beyondthepixel.com - a multimedia affair
··························································
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
-Leonardo da Vinci

#10 ifeelgood

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 03:42 PM

heheh i agree with you GooMoo. its very frustrating.. i know what contest you are talking about..LOL i lost that one too...
for me, i dont always give what the client wants..i make them like my design.. sometimes i even defend why i did this and that. and make them realize that what they want isnt good and wont make a good design.
but if they insist... well, there is nothing much i can do..its their website anyway....:)

#11 phacker

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Posted 20 February 2004 - 06:57 PM

Hey you can talk marketing all you want, and give the rationale behind what you did, but if it doesn't speak to the client it ain't going to work. I need the money, but there reaches a point where I can't waste the time to fine tune the design for the bucks anymore. If you follow me. So many of the contests here tend to go south, before a winner is announced. Try not to take it personnally.
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