“Could You Just…” and the plight of the Client/Creative Relationship (4 minutes)

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I think I speak for most people in creative industries when I say: Please, client, don’t tell me how simple the project you want me to work on is. Tell me what your project is, and I may find it simple (but even then, I still won’t tell you that it is).

I’ve heard it numerous time. Just the other day, sitting at my desk at Faduchi Group, a man barged in and yelled “How much for simple website?” I think I may have grinned a bit before I walked over to him and quickly realized he smelled like a burning pile of rotten prosciutto. I asked him to elaborate a bit and explain what he’s looking for. He kept saying those three words “just simple website”. Really, he had no answer—he had no idea what he was looking for. A simple website could’ve been a seven-page website with e-commerce and custom video embeds—I don’t know! But the reason I didn’t know was because one person’s idea of “simple” is different than another persons. But that’s not the crux of my point, it’s this: Before you ever take on a new client, make sure they understand the value that you bring to the company—you are an asset, not another commodity to expense. People ask, “Can you just make me this logo—nothing fancy, just something simple…” Because of the implications of that question, the answer right away is “no”—straight up.

Make sure they understand the value that you bring to the company—you are an asset, not another commodity to expense.

Here’s the thing. I can’t not do “fancy”. I want everything I make to be better than the last. So cross that one off your list. And no, I can’t “just” make you a logo…unless the words “just make” means “painstakingly research, develop, craft, and refine.” And if it’s not, then I generally don’t want to do it, nor do I encourage anyone else to either. The reason I charge what I do and take the time that I take is because I’ve put in years into becoming better at my craft and continually pour into it with my time, finances, and effort. Even if the logo looks “simple” in the end (and maybe that’s what you initially meant—”y’know, like the Nike or Apple logos—simple”) it still takes a long road to get there.

 

So if you’re a potential client I have a few things I would like to implore you with for the next time you approach a creative service provider:

Know What You Want

Know what it is you’re looking for and be able provide specifics. Be able to talk about your project, giving as much detail as you can. If you need help refining the specifics we’re here for that too, but just be open about it. Don’t tell me the project is simple, but tell me how and why you think so. There may be things you haven’t thought about or realized about your project that make it more complex than you initially think!

Rouse Me

Be excited about what you need help with and get us excited about it too. I don’t want to ever work on a project that I can’t get excited about. So if I can’t, chances are you won’t get the best work and no one will be happy with the outcome.

Partner With Me

Acknowledge the creative as a business asset and not just a monkey on a computer. Partner with the creative: they will most likely bring a perspective to the table that you haven’t seen from before. It’s been seen time and time again where businesses have benefited from the investment of bringing in designers as consultants because they bring a certain vantage point (some call this design thinking). Allow the creative to know that you understand the value they add to your project.

These are just three things that will start you off on the right foot when you seek out a creative service provider for your next project. Chances are, the creative person won’t want to work on “just a simple” project anyway. Just as you invest into us, we invest into you. Make your project worth our time and effort (or at least make it seem that way), otherwise you undercut the value of your project and the value we can bring to it.