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Like and Dislike vs Good and Bad

Be careful to not get into subjective (like vs dislike) conversations with clients. Keep your discussions about objective principles you can agree on.

The Objective vs Subjective

As a designer don’t ever let yourself get to the situation of arguing like and dislike with any client. It makes no sense. As a client understand the agency staff member you are working with has spent lots of time keeping up with trends, and honing their craft. If that designer is good, they will be able answer your problems with efficient use of color and shape. Your sense of style might not be the most important.

There is no argument to be made with like and dislike as the terms are completely subjective. Its like trying to convince Aaron Rodgers to not like green and gold any more because you don’t think it looks nice on homes. The only work you have to stand on as a designer is Good vs Bad. Yes, there is “bad” design. A bad design may look great but it neglects answer some fundamental problems raised by the client.

Check out our post as to why corporate America sucks for creative people. It’ll give you a little insight into how executive think about creative if they’re not creative themselves. With that said keep in mind that everybody thinks their designer. Everybody thinks that design work is easy. And that it takes no time at all to make pretty images.

So back to the argument of good vs. bad. This is going to get a little philosophical. But the basis for this argument is there are only a few correct ways to accomplish a task or answer a question. Good, award winning, Olympic Games caliber design is in fact answering problems raised by the client with images. Good design should never just simply be resolved into making something beautiful. For in order for something to be beautiful it must be well executed and accomplish its purpose. Form and Function. For example, a modular house with bleach white kitchens might be perfect for a magazine, but for for a family with 6 kids its an official manufactured mistake.

white kitchen in a house of sticks

Designer vs Client games

All that to be said, good and bad (Right vs Wrong or Correct vs Incorrect) must be defined by the problem raised by the client. The client needs a house for 6 kids. Homes or a house that are pinterest worthy, might not be the correct choice. So build a product for the man, his dog his 6 kids and give his wife a sustainable place to keep all her painting, art supplies, groupon clippings and other tools because you know she needs a break. So designer, do your homework and agree with the client as to what the problem is. The problem you are designing to answer. Your talent as a designer is going to come from how well you can accommodate the restraints on the project. Your talent as a client is going to come in how efficiently you can communicate the problem raised. Stick around, answer the questions and make sure you’re on the same page. If the design addresses the problem raised by the client, in the most efficient manner, then good and bad shouldn’t matter at all.

Play fair

However we all know the clients don’t think that way. As a client you probably know you need to see something before you can react to it. Here comes the art of the pitch. You might have to convince a client with data and emotional responses. Data is hard to argue. Clearly stating what the success drivers are and answering them is the way to go. Just do it creatively and its a win for sure.

Here’s the sticking point. Good luck finding a client that is always going to be able to be swayed with logic. As stated previously, everyone’s a designer, and everyone thinks it’s easy. Do your best but try to never get into an argument about tastes with the client.

Stick it in there

House of Sticks takes a modular approach to our “client games”. We will ask a lot of questions. We have more rules than the NFL. Words are our friends and will will use a lot of them until we figure out what mistakes have been made before and analyze them. We have built our learning practice over years. Leading with data we do. Including prices, maybe not until we understand the entire scope of work. Give us a try. Stick it to us. You won’t be disappointed.
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