Thoughts

Constraint is Needed

We love it when clients trust us. Most clients do—why shouldn’t they? Fact is, we are trust-worthy (and pretty awesome). Where that trust is aimed by the client is what sometimes causes issues.

Some clients’ aim is to give us complete freedom. They may think to themselves, “These guys are great, creative, and their past work speaks for itself.” Therefore, they figure their best bet is to give us free reign and then they say something to us like, “Just be creative – make us something awesome!”

You might think this sounds like a designer’s dream, envisioning us lighting off fireworks and maybe even dancing on the ceiling. In actuality, it tends to be the exact opposite. We lose our aim. We end up firing at the project with a shotgun—rather than skillfully using a scalpel.

Don’t get us wrong. Designing without constraint can be a great thing. It enables us to try new things, test, and explore. Like with many explorers of history’s past though, we can also get lost.

We need some constraints. We need the right constraints. The right constraints act as the sun and stars and guide us as we navigate the visual landscape. Conversely, if the client gives us too many or the wrong constraints, we’re – in a sense – being given Google map directions, having all trust taken away us.

We know this might seem like a tight line to walk. Here are some of the right constraints that we ask clients for:

  • What is the objective/purpose?
  • Are there any personal preferences that align with the project’s objective – likes and dislikes?
  • What are the goals and expectations?
  • Are there deadlines that are trying to be met?

If we don’t have some of these initial constraints, not only are we at risk of getting lost in the design process, but we may end up with a concept we believe to be the right solution for the client’s needs. It’s only after we present these concepts to the client that we then find out these needed constraints (they always eventually come out), which in turn might change how we would recommend moving forward.

So where should clients aim their trust? They should aim it at putting trust in the partnership. We will listen to the client’s needs and then execute a plan and a design that will achieve their goal. We will be there as experts in the industry. We will listen. We will educate. We will advise. The trust comes in the partnership. Give us what we need initially and we will deliver.

We’re not asking for much, just the sun and the stars.

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