2 Best way o disarm 10 difficult client observations/requests

Unveiling a solution is arguably the most harrowing aspect of the creative process. In our last post we talked about how we can work to better service our clients. In this one, I’ll share some of the best responses we have to questions that can often derail an otherwise effective solution.

My neighbours don’t like it.

I can appreciate you looking to friends for support on this project; however, it’s often difficult for others to understand the needs of the project at this stage. If you really believe these parties’ opinions to be valuable, we should involve them in the full process. Let’s schedule a sit-down with any new stakeholders next week, so that we can review the brief, strategy and challenges with them, and see if they still hold the same perspectives.

We really liked your portfolio; can you make our project look more like what you did for Client X?

It’s funny you ask that because we try to do the opposite. In our minds, we have to look at each client’s needs individually, and deliver a solution that’s uniquely theirs. It’s funny that you mention Client X, as they were initially very unsure of the approach we took, and it has ultimately served them very well.

Let’s not worry about what others are doing. I want the approach we deliver to be distinctly yours. Think of it as a new suit that you wouldn’t have thought of trying on. We’re pretty objective, and as such will help you find something that meets your needs. In time to come, you’ll find that it fits you quite nicely.

Someone in accounting mocked-up a really neat idea for this.

We’re happy to take a look at other ideas but sometimes doing so increases the overall time requirement, as we would need to answer more questions and increase the number of meetings. If you would like to do this, I can draft an addendum to the estimate to make a provision for this. Alternately, if budget is a key concern, I’d ask you to sit down with this individual and find out if there’s a specific problem they are working to solve. This may save some billable time, and help crystallize the concerns in a fashion that will help us respond best.

It’s a great start, but we need to add this, and this, and this…

I can understand your desire to not leave anything out, and it’s a not an uncommon sentiment. At the beginning of the project, however, you noted that you really wanted to build something around your customers’ needs. In my experience, the organizations that do this best focus on a few key items, and work to deliver them in the best way possible. Adding more can confuse customers and sometimes even scare them away. Just look at the most successful brands in the marketplace and you’ll see that they are highly selective in their messaging.

I love beige; can we get more beige in this?

Personal preferences are powerful motivators; personally, I love hot pink, but it doesn’t work in all settings. I’d like to step back to the creative brief for a moment. You note that your company really wants to connect with adolescent males who love hardcore sports. Do you think beige will connect with them?

I don’t really know what I think about this approach.

That’s fair; this is a big change from what you’ve done in the past, and in my mind, it’s a bold new direction for you. As a result it may take a while for you to absorb this one fully. So, let’s start with more strategic concerns. I’ve made a copy of our original assessment document, and have flipped to the project and messaging directives section. Let’s look over that, and see if we’re not meeting any of the requirements we set out with.

I just don’t know; it’s just so different.

That’s great; different is good! A key aspect to positioning your firm is to find an approach that others aren’t employing. It makes sense that you’re not sure about it though; new things often make people feel that way. I remember hating espresso when I tried it for the first time! Thank goodness I gave it a chance, as I feel quite differently now. Let’s look at the creative brief, and see if we’re meeting your predetermined criteria for the project. If we are, it could indicate that we just need take a little time to get used to this new direction.

Can we make the text bigger?

Yes. Could you perhaps show me a couple of other websites that employ a text-size that feels right to you? We can then compare the two to see how much larger we should make it. (Note: This often leads to us finding that the proposed text is actually larger than what the client had believed.)

I’ll know what I like when I see it.

A lot of people feel that way when it comes to visual treatments, but it’s hard for us to respond with such vague direction. Can you imagine ordering food like that? “Bring me something that’s good, and I’ll eat it if I like it. Otherwise, you’ll just have to make different dishes until I’m satisfied.”

Let’s me ask some questions that might help us identify what you are looking for. Is this approach too conservative or non-traditional? Does it feel overly light or dark? Are the images too passive or overly active? (Note: These questions can go on for some time; the focus is to keep them polarizing, in order to extrapolate some kind of hard response to aesthetic leanings.)

I was at this sandwich shop the other day, and they have an amazing website. Can we make ours look like theirs?

I don’t believe that doing so would result in a solution that meets your needs. Creative strategies are generally tailored to meet the particular requirements of a specific effort. That being said, it sounds like their site really resonated with you. Let’s take a look at their site, and try to extrapolate what points felt good to you. Maybe it will help us better learn what sensations you’d like to elicit on behalf of your audience.

I’ll end with two other little suggestions that you may find helpful. First of all, don’t just toss the design comps in front of the client. Start meetings with a review of the problems you’ve solved and the steps you went through to do so. This sets the stage for you to unveil the work and orients the clients in your process.

Additionally, don’t screw-up. Make sure you’ve addressed all of the necessary design challenges thoroughly and accurately. If there’s a hole in one part of your solution, it can raise questions about the entire approach. Even a small chink in the armor can erode your client’s trust.

About The Author

This blog was created by ELO DESIGNER to share his wealth of knowledge and researches with other designers and design lovers, to give them guidance and inspiration. Comments and suggestions are always appreciated. Thank you. Follow my daily design links on Twitter or Add me on your social network.

If you enjoyed this post, please retweet or stumble to say thanks!


28 Top Mistakes New Designers Make When Learning Graphic Design

learning graphic design mistakes designers make

Some mistakes to avoid when you are learning graphic design

1. Producing two or more design concepts that are very similar

This is something I remember doing in one of my first design jobs. You get asked to come up with ideas for the design of a logo (or other piece of design) and instead of designing 3 very different options you put in the same idea that you have done slightly differently – for example changed the font and colour or created the icon in a slightly different style. I soon learned that if the client didn’t like the first idea, then chances were they wouldn’t like the two similar ones either. With 3 very different options hopefully one design would be heading in the right direction.

A couple of years ago when I was very busy I tried out a young freelance designer to design some new advertisements for one of my clients. I asked for 3 different design styles and sent her a couple of examples of the ones I had done in the past. What I got back was three variations on one of my old designs – text moved, images moved but overall same “feel”. I ended up having to do them again myself.

2. Adding things in rather than taking them away

Things in general always look better when they are simpler, it’s hard to avoid wanting to add in extra graphic design elements. This is difficult for any designer but especially the novice. Remember the sayings KISS – keep it simple stupid.

3. Concentrating on Features Rather than Benefits

Another one of my old rather eccentric bosses had a saying that he always loved to say (especially when I was working on advertising design concepts) was “Sell the sizzle not the steak”. What he meant was, don’t just concentrate on the features of a product, concentrate on how they make the users life better.

4. Not targeting the right audience or having enough gravitas

You could produce the most beautiful design but if its aimed at the wrong target market it’s unlikely to do its job. Its easy to get caught up in doing design that you like rather than what is appropriate. It also needs to be heavy-weight enough for the topic – a light humerous advert design may not work for a serious/expensive product or service.

5. Not presenting the finished design in the best way possible.

If you just present your first designs as a PDFs with trims as though you were sending it to the printer it will not have the Wow factor for a new client. Make your logos look like they have been applied to stationery and livery (applied to vans etc) or create a 3d visual to show off your new packaging design.

Some free image resources which may be useful for mocking up your designs include:

40+ High Resolution Blank Template (Free) Stock Photos

Clear images for identity design

Free Vectors: Promotional Product Templates

6. Not sketching first

Sketching allows a graphic designer to think and put their ideas down quickly. It also allows creativity to flow. When you start on a mac you don’t necessarily have direction, and can get bogged down with tools and filters rather than the concept. One simple sketch can encapsulate a design idea but leaves scope for experimenting with different styles on the computer.

7. Underselling Design Work

Young designers just starting out in graphic design often undersell themselves. I had someone contact me not long ago who was charging a very low hourly rate, I suggested they raise it, but they felt they weren’t worth it. It is easier to bring your design costs down rather than up. It is always difficult knowing where to pitch your prices, I have had some people shocked when give them a quote, and another told me I was very cheap (those are the ones when you kick yourself)!

About The Author

This blog was created by ELO DESIGNER to share his wealth of knowledge and researches with other designers and design lovers, to give them guidance and inspiration. Comments and suggestions are always appreciated. Thank you. Follow my daily design links on Twitter or Add me on your social network.

If you enjoyed this post, please retweet or stumble to say thanks!

5 Best Top 15 Original Chess Sets You Must See

The history of chess is more than 1500 years. It’s the oldest skill game in the world. Ancient chess are represented in the museums in all over the world. They are amazing. But times change. Nowadays modern art gives the artist more leeway in technical execution as well as concept expression and arrangements of design elements. There are no strict rules and obligations the artists must stick to. Today we have compiled a list of the most fancy and stylish chess sets modeled by different designers. Some of them you can buy though they might cost you a handful of loose diamonds. Some exists in a single copy. Enjoy!

Skeleton Key Chess Set

Skeleton key chess set. Design: Dave Pickett

Rubber chess set

Rubber chess set

Rubber chess set. Design: Buro fur Form

Wobble chess set

Wobble chess set

Wobble chess set. Design: Adin Mumma

Onda Chess Set

Onda Chess Set

Onda chess set. Design: Alvaro Uribe

Playmore chess

Playmore chess. Design: Fredrik Lund

Terrain alterable chess set

Terrain alterable chess set. Design: Tonfisk

Amorphous Organic chess set

Amorphous Organic chess set

Amorphous Organic chess set. Design: Alastair Mackie

Chess set for Tesla

Chess set for Tesla. Design: Paul Fryer

Pumpkin Chess

Pumpkin Chess

Pumpkin Chess. Design: Yayoi Kusama.


Design: Barbara Kruger

Eye for an eye

Eye for an eye

Eye for an eye. Design: Tunga

Auto part chess set

Auto part chess set

Auto part chess set. Design: Armando Ramírez

History Chess

History Chess

History Chess. Design: Boym

The Copper/Steel Contemporary

The Copper/Steel Contemporary.

Art Deco chess set

Art Deco chess set

About The Author

This blog was created by ELO DESIGNER to share his wealth of knowledge and researches with other designers and design lovers, to give them guidance and inspiration. Comments and suggestions are always appreciated. Thank you. Follow my daily design links on Twitter or Add me on your social network.

If you enjoyed this post, please retweet or stumble to say thanks!