Designers, Why You Should Listen to Your Clients

I know of a few of my fellow design-type colleagues who often mention how they’re so fed up with ClientCo or how Client, Inc. is just not getting their vision. Firstly, I feel their pain, but to all of y’all designers out there who are tired of clients making those not-so-minor changes to your designs which completely alter the entire concept and seemingly put it past the brink of resurrection, I do have a few notes for you.

Why Designers Should Listen to Clients

  1. Your clients know their product, so very much better than you do.
  2. Your clients are humans, and humans have opinions. The better you understand their opinions, the better you will be able to provide them with a design they like, and therefore you are happy with as well.
  3. But opinions suck, right? We want to design around cold hard facts, around what’s best for the user experience, no? Correct, but let’s face it: there’s no one perfect design. When you factor in what your client wants to see with what will work best for the end user, everyone wins. Please, though, never, ever allow your client to talk you into using Papyrus though.

Too often we, as designers (ahem, pixel aligners…graphics assemblers…), feel like we know best. We come up with some really shiny, smooth and wonderful menu and the client says…”Nah, I think a bright orange box with red Times New Roman would look good there.” When this happens, don’t run for the hills with your box of “Ok, well you’ll get the design, and I’ll take your money, but let’s never speak of this again,” but rather remember that this is the perfect time to educate your client on why something might not be the best choice.

I also find that, right off the bat, if you can articulate yourself as to what you’re trying to do with a design – the “why” behind all of those gradient strewn rounded corners stacked atop one another – and if you’re convincing (whether it be via smooth walking, jive talking bs or because you actually know what you’re talking about), they’ll stick with your decisions more and more.

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