Handling Rough Seas
By: Tyler Loebig
Working in an agency isn’t always smooth sailing. While the majority of clients you work with understand your vision, trust your professional knowledge, and have the capacity to be nimble, this is not always the case. Various complications arise when a client has issues communicating; both internally and with the agency. However, as with any strong-sailed agency, you batten down the hatches and prepare for the wild waves that the client might throw at you.
While these complications can present themselves as small things, like changes in typography, they can also be dramatic changes that cause you to go back to the drawing board. It’s frustrating and difficult, and at times, makes you want to abandon ship.
But at the end of the day, these clients make you a better professional.
As a graphic designer, I do more than just make cool things. I help build a relationship with the client. As the old saying goes, communication is a two way street. Take, for example, a client that thinks that the designer doesn’t understand their vision. In these situations, it can either mean one of two things. The client isn’t exactly sure what their vision is, or they haven’t properly briefed the designer. And while it’s easy to blame the client for the miscommunication, it’s also my job to figure out how to solve their problem.
There are several ways to keep the project from going overboard. The first solution being bring examples. Prepare a deck of visual examples for the client. By seeing the things they like, the client can begin to make sense of what they want while having the opportunity to look at design. Which brings me to my second point, ditch the fancy designer lingo. In some cases, clients will have no idea the difference between UX and UI and will get lost when you say the word wireframe. It’s important to speak as plainly as you can to make sure there is no confusion. My last tip of advice is to be confident and stand up for your work. The more you can justify your decisions; the more the client will believe in your design.
These situations are never ideal. But trust me, they make you a better professional in the end.
You learn how to better communicate, ask the right questions, and defend your solutions when you feel strongly about them. All very important skills to keep calm seas.
Thank you for suffering through all my puns. I think all our nautical branding is finally getting to me.