Early in my career, I thought my job as a designer was to provide clients with options. They hire us to design a new website – I design three different interfaces – in a perfect world the client picks one and we move on to development.
Notice I said “in a perfect world”…
What really would happen is this. I provide the client three options, one of which I know serves their needs the best, and then they either pick the one that I am least happy with or try to create a Frankenstein design taking element from each.
I now either have to convince the client why what they choose or created is not the best solution or move forward with a deficient design.
The heart of the issue…
Design is an iterative process. This means that designers must concept many ideas and then, by dismissing the less effective ones and building on the good ones, refine the design into the best solution that serves the project goals.
It is important to keep in mind that a good designer does not design for their client; they design for their clients customers. With multiple designs, it is too easy to fall into the trap of subjective preferential decision making. It does a client no good to have a website that they love if it is ineffective with their audience or does not meet the project goals.
How do we move from offering options to providing the best solution?
Proper positioning at the outset of a project is a must if you want a relationship where your client trusts your expertise and allows you to provide them with the best possible solution.
An element of positioning, is confidence. As designers we need to assertively exercise our expertise. Most people don’t tell their doctor how to diagnose them. And most of us probably wouldn’t be too confident in a doctor that required our help with “doctoring”. We want a doctor who knows how to figure out a. what is wrong with us and b. how to fix us. This is the same with businesses. If we position ourselves as the expert the client will trust us to do what we do best.
I’m sure there are designers that disagree with me and would argue that there can be three equally good designs that properly serve a clients needs. I would challenge you to take a discerning look at the design choices and push yourself to refine those ideas into an even better solution. I would bet that if you do so you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
So, let’s not take the easy way out let’s push ourselves to deliver a product we are confident has our clients best interests in mind and embrace what it means to be a professional designer.