Graphic Design Consultant and Co-Founder and Partner, Atelier Works
The ideal client
The ideal client is a client who is prepared to listen. I’ll make an analogy. If I go to see the doctor, I accept that the doctor has trained, has skill, has experience. He’s concentrating on one aspect of me. I’ve asked them to do that. What I don’t do is what bad graphic design clients do, which is I don’t lean over the doctor’s shoulder and say, can we make that pill a bit larger?
Graphic Designer and Co-founder, Graphic Thought Facility
It always is tricky finding that exact fit and it’s, it’s people who want trust, it’s a very obvious thing, but they, they’ve got to come here, you know, trust in our skill to work hard for them and deliver what they want, and allow us a bit of freedom to do that, so not too restrictive. They’ve got to, I guess they’ve got to be passionate about their subject matter as well.
Product, Spatial, and Interaction Designer, Richard Shed Studio
Communication with the client
They’re just, oh, they’re just as big a part of the project as you are as the designer. So it’s important that you’re constantly, constantly talking to one another.
Furniture Designer, Co-founder and Partner, PearsonLloyd
The client's responsibility to find the right designer
The thing that’s become most apparent for me is when a client understands what you do as a designer. And I think if… it’s a two-way street, really: as a designer, you have a responsibility to try and understand your client, and understand the market, but I think a good client also has the responsibility to choose the designer they’re going to work on the project with carefully. And when they get that job right, it makes your job a lot easier, because it tends to make the communication much more fluid and much easier.
An open mind and ambition
I’m not sure there is such a thing as a perfect client, because people are messy. Just like I don’t think there’s anything that is a perfect consultancy or a perfect agency or a perfect adviser. I guess that in many ways the perfect client is a client who is open minded and also who is ambitious in their thinking.
Creativity from strict parameters
The parameters and the boundaries that the client will give you, the, if, at first it might seem that it’s quite restrictive but actually sometimes through quite tight, strict parameters it actually brings more out of you as a designer and it makes you think a lot more with constraints in place. Generally though, if a client is sort of creatively receptive and, and willing to talk, and I think that’s important, just to have a dialogue with a client.
Furniture Designer and Co-founder, BarberOsgerby
Learning to bring the best out of your client
You make your client a good client or a bad client. It’s the way, after you’ve worked with clients over the years, you know how to handle them to get the best out of, from a selfish point of view, get the best out of them, but also, actually, to give them the best.
Graphic Designer, Co-founder and Partner, Research Studios
Empowering the client
We always encourage our clients to create in-house capability because we feel they are best placed to be able to respond quickly and express more accurately the things they are trying to say on a day-to-day basis. We’ve deliberately stayed small as a studio; that means that we’re not really in the space of having a large team that deal with day-to-day client management. What we would prefer to do is create a, kind of, a core story, a core language – core tools, and then advise the client on an occasional basis going forward, bring key changes. But we think it’s absolutely important that the client is empowered.
Chairman and Creative Director, Applied Information Group
Finding common experiences
I’m a big believer in giving people hooks that they’ve got in their life to understand. I don’t think design is that difficult to understand. I just think if you give them the right example they go oh, I do that, and I’m like well if you do it then think how a million people are going to do it.
Client and designer as part of one team
A client, as far as we’re concerned, is part of our team and we’re part of their team. We believe, very, very much in the studio here, in a one-to-one working relationship. We intentionally do not put middlemen between the designers and the client.
Collaborating with the client
I think we’re very fortunate that actually most of our relationships have been enjoyable. We tend to have quite a small group of clients; we tend to keep them, and I think that’s probably because we try and produce strong, lasting relationships with them, and we try and collaborate with our clients, rather than dictating to them what we want to do.
Helping the client to define their needs
Most clients come to us with no real idea of what identity they’re trying to achieve. They’ll often come to us thinking that what they need is a new logo that’s going forwards – all their future problems will be solved by this new logo. And our response to them would normally be, who are you? This is question number one – who do you think you are? How does your audience see you? How would you like your audience to be seeing you?
Furniture Designer, Co-founder and Partner, PearsonLloyd
Building the brief
Clients that give you too much liberty, often that, that sort of creative tension disappears a little bit; it’s harder to find a route through; so that’s why we really enjoy the process of building a brief. But we often start by kind of rewriting the brief, and giving it back to the client as well, so that then we spend a lot more time than maybe other studios or designers on the briefing process, and actually analysing where the project might lie, where the object might lie, where the tension, creative tension is going to be. And that allows us to sort of create a sort of fertile creative process much, much earlier on for us.
Presenting complex answers
When it is appropriate we can set up a big think room where we have really unpicked the whole project. This room, for example, we sometimes fill the walls, every single wall with the project, and then we just kind of walk around and then we… Because the issues that we deal with are very three, four, five, six dimensional: that affects this, affects that, affects this. And you can’t do a linear presentation of it, you can’t just sit and talk about it; you’ve kind of got to go you see what is going on here, that has an affect on how we do that over there. That might be the production method, this might be the colour coding, something like this. So, to actually put it in a room you often get the client like…what we try and do is educate as much as possible because it is quite complex and it is, you know…what is the saying, complex problems have easy, simple to understand wrong answers. You need a complex answer. I don’t believe in the elevator pitch. I think it’s, you know, it’s a fallacy. It’s a good way of getting a conversation going but it’s not often the answer. The answer is often more complex than you think.