Four Misconceptions

This article is not another designer versus a client article. It is a designer + client versus design. I would like to reiterate that the designer and the client are on the same side. The client often comes in with their respective agenda other than really wanted a brand that is I might consider as creatively and directive appropriate.

During the design process, all this becomes obvious, and we noticed that there are few misconceptions not only on the client side but also on the person-in-the-industry designer.

I was once guilty as charged but the price I needed to pay, lead me to see all these as a space to make things better for both designer and client.

Most inquiries we had coming in from a prospect during their early stage of a new product or business. And there are those with directions and goals too. So concerning visual creative, it is the whole universe space of possibilities during the process of final artwork.

After the first, second meeting or so comes along with acceptance of the proposed concepts, and digital artwork stage begins. Some designers give three to five design options while other might go for one design. I can not say designer handle rejection as much as a salesman does, but the amount of denial is equally significant.

What is the reason for such rejection that most of the time lead to disaster be it in creative, effectiveness and also delivery deadline? What are the misconceptions that we as a designer & client might have?

Misconception #1: More amendments will eventually lead to perfect design.

The designer works by the hour in designing your logo. The process consists of tonnes of web research, sketching, storyboard and then put it in digital format. All this might seem like all hard work, but sometimes when that creative juice just kicked in, they might have the whole design process injected with steroids in speed.

After the artwork was done and happily submitted for presentation before clients, it is then, the hell all break loose. Amendment after amendment, it is another episode of The Neverending Story sequel and as the deadline is kicking in the final chosen art piece was the first artwork during the first presentation.

The most client we asked, the reason behind such endless amendment is the more we reviewed it and changed it, the more perfect it will get. “More perfect” give me a creep as a designer as no matter how accurate it gets, there are rooms for more…

Misconception #2: Let’s just come out with few logos and then we see where we are heading.

It often happened with entrepreneurs and startups. They might have the product or the businesses but the lack of directions, target audiences and explicit goal. We like to work with entrepreneurs and startups because of the excitement and positive energy flowing into the team (e.g. Client + Designer), reminding us of the time we made our jump.

The problem sets in when they do not know where they are going but desire a presentation of the finished artwork hoping that through this design with the concept would somehow shape their direction.

The designer will always come out with concepts, and that’s what we do. It’s our job to do the creative thinking to amplify the message, the client trying to convey to their audience. Without the targeted audience, direction (vision or mission) and goal, designer work blindly focusing on the surface values mostly in aesthetic and presenting the artwork, the design confirmation will be 20 to 30 amendments away.

Misconception #3: We like the artwork! But with this design fee and timeframe, we might as well look at a few more version.

I don’t want to sound like a graphic designer whining the old tune, but in this age of time, we still have that mindset which never ceased to amaze me. Talking about delivering the results and not delivering the effort.

Imagine the many of the great ideas at the brink of an Aha! Or Eureka! They shape humanity, and they still are. So why you need the other version when the first one is very much accepted and well applauded?

Misconception #4: Let’s hear it from everybody. If they are OK, then it is OK.

No. It’s not OK. Having a democratic decision on design will never work, and again this has got to do it the core value the company has, be it a vision or mission. We can not have it going to the left and right at the same time and hoping we will somehow reach our destination. Inevitably leading to a series of amendments agreed and disagreed in the meetings by people we never meet before suddenly appeared.

We would like to hear from you what other misconception that leads to delayed design confirmation and hence leading to disaster be it overdesign or off route altogether.

Bryan Chen

Bryan Chen is a brand strategist, brand manager and consultant. He helps his client discover the reason for their brand existence through brand strategy and prioritise their branding efforts to achieve their business goal. His clients are like Giant B Melaka, Funwater France, TTW Los Angeles and many more. He believes that no successful brand can be imitated or copied and have the same outcome simply because of our differences be it our agenda, culture, worldview or goals. Just like businesses, branding is an infinite game with lots of intentional failing, learning and growing. Before he makes stuff, he would like to find out why. Cause... The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. —Mark Twain. The same goes for your business.

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