A design might be a piece of cake but designing is certainly not! That is why designers are destined to thrive, because, no business in the world can run successfully without them. How do I make such a grand statement? I say what I say because it is the ultimate truth every entrepreneur should learn at the onset of their career. From the point of designing a product to introducing it to the world and enticing buyers into making a purchase, designers make an entrepreneur’s dreams come true.
Now, design comes in many forms. From designing the company office to designing its product, creating an identity design and branding, to even designing the livery, having a team of professional designers is a must for any progressive organization. However, for small business owners, it may be difficult to hire a whole bunch as part of their staff. They could easily choose from thousands of freelance designers available locally or online. It is in the best interest of their establishment that they take professional help to fulfill their design needs.
Designer vs Entrepreneur – The Dilemma of Miscommunication!
The biggest complication arises between designers and entrepreneurs because of miscommunication. For any professional freelance designer, it is of utmost importance to come to an understanding with his client. They need to work on a unified approach to bring out the best results for the company. This means that the entrepreneur must explain all his design needs in detail and the designer must ensure that his client understands what will be required to attain that. He also needs to make sure, in the light of his professional knowledge, that his client is making the right decision for his company.
Although, designers and entrepreneurs both have to be competent in public relations, many a times, it is difficult for them to communicate what they want or how they want it to the other professional. It mostly happens when one undervalues the work of another. With experience and expertise, they may begin to understand how intertwined their professional success is. But, till then, life can become potentially miserable if they are unable to come to an understanding.
The above video clearly shows how pathetic it can get if the client doesn’t know exactly what they need from the designer. It’s like everybody is pitching in ideas, even a toddler, without considering the design elements for a bit. Even a simple signage cannot be created if the people involved don’t let the designer work in peace with complete freedom to do what he is supposed to do. In more appropriate words Managers should manage, designers should design! The result could be total chaos, otherwise.
How Small Business Owners Must Communicate Their Needs?
Sometimes, entrepreneurs underestimate the talent of a designer and sometimes they simple fail to appreciate his line of work. They think designing things such as a logo or stationery is a piece of cake not realizing that even baking a cake is a separate industry and buying a cake costs them money. Why, then, would they expect the designer to nail something they can’t even brief properly and why should they expect it to be free?
Instead of looking at the negative side only, let me propose here two golden rules that entrepreneurs must follow to overcome communication gap with designers:
• Trust thy designers
Your designer has equal share in making your customers go “wow.” He is just as deserving of respect and monetary rewards as the engineer in your firm. But designers are creative people, qualified and experienced, with a unique set of knowledge and skills which add value to your company. Here is the thing about most creative people in the world: you can’t boss them around. If you constantly interfere with their work, they may create exactly what you asked for but the design may fail inside and outside the industry.
You need to trust the instincts of your designer. If he suggests a different color for your brand industry, a new texture or shape, you better pay attention. Give him space to practice what he thinks works best for your business model. After all, that’s what you pay him for; i.e. to understand the philosophy of your company, and its respective industry, in order to come up with the best possible design strategy.
• Don’t make the designer insecure for money
Like I proposed earlier, do not be a cheapskate for money and never ever rob your designer off his hard-earned money. As a business owner, your design needs are countless and continuous. With thousands of available options out there, it’s tough finding an expert who would deliver just what you requested (or, rather, you think you requested!). Once you have found that ace designer, don’t gamble on him by making him insecure for payment. Sign that contract and be a person of your word. This will be good for your business in the long run.
Once you have taken care of the golden rules, you may now expect a good amount of dedication and hard work from your designer ‘cos you would have alleviated half of his troubles by being a sensible client. Be clear with your design brief and consider the changes your designer suggests. Things would naturally work out between you two!
How Designers must work towards making those needs met?
The designer must realize that the client has many other things on his mind too. He’s not just thinking about launching a certain product. He has multiple concerns such as finance, hiring, buying equipment, etc. If he trusts you with an important department of his business, you have got to value that, and be the professional designer he thinks you are. Keeping the client happy is part of your job, because, like it or not, your income either depends upon the work they bring you, or their recommendations.
Two of the most important things that reduce the amount of stress on your clients are:
• Be an educator
You need to have in-depth discussions with them. Sometimes, the client thinks he knows what he wants but in reality, makes poor choices that may not work well in the industry. You need to know when to become a guide, a friend, a counselor, and you need to understand that sometimes, you also have to take charge of your own work and remind the client to put his faith in you. If he is stuck with one design in mind, you need to show him better options.
• Meet the deadline
This point is important regardless of the fact that your client is a stingy miser or too nice to be true. If you claim to be a professional designer, you have to meet the deadline. Period. If for some reason, you can’t; please, make sure that you inform the client and keep him updated on the status of his project. Failing to do either will be plain unprofessional and you will lose the client for sure.
Designers & Entrepreneurs – Take a Pledge!
This year, the world celebrates its Communication Design Day on April 27th. Every designer and entrepreneur must realize the important position one holds in the life of another. You might have genuine grievances but the mutual benefit far exceeds them. In the next few days while celebrating brilliant design, let us all take the pledge to be more respectful to creatives around the world whether they work freelance or for a company.
Likewise, creatives have to be more polite with their customers. They have to compromise sometimes to get along with a difficult client, but what they cannot compromise on is their knowledge and skills. They must have the patience to deal with both imaginative and unimaginative clients. At times, they have to say no to a client as well. For other times, they must know when to stop a redesign. We advise you to pledge being there for your client whenever he needs your services.
Here is an extra treat from DesignMantic to commemorate the World Communication Design Day with you! Check out these amazing posters made by designers from all over the world:
World Graphics Day Posters Archive
“This is what a Designer Does” Theme for 2014!