Clients and sketchbooks

This is part three and four of my thinking through this article.  Most of what is discussed in the article should be common sense in the design field, but often things get lost in the rush of deadlines and the pursuit of recognition.  It’s good to revisit the basics every now and then.

Pleasing Clients First: After 25 years of being a designer I have to admit to having created some crappy pieces over the years.  Not because I wanted to or lacked creativity, but because to meet the client’s needs the design failed in the beauty contest.  The client required elements to be in the piece that, in spite of my best efforts, just didn’t look good.   But, the client was happy and the design served its purpose.  I work with small businesses who have limited budgets and often the kitchen sink has to go into a design.

When I was right out of school I would complain about the crazy things I was having to include and how they ruined the aesthetics of the design.  Twenty-five years later, I have learned to be grateful for the clients who trust me to provide them with good work and I do my best to make every job the best I can within the parameters of their needs.  You don’t stay in this business if you don’t learn to put the client first.

You can please yourself with your personal work or your own marketing pieces.  Fortunately,  I often don’t have time to make my own marketing materials, much less make them perfect.  I say “fortunately” because at this point in my career I am the busiest I have ever been and feel very blessed to be so.  Live through a couple of recessions and you will know what I mean.

This leads into the next section, Sketchbooks:  When I was in design school we were required to do 100 sketches for each major project.  If you have time, try it.  If you do it a few times you will begin to see a pattern to your creative rollercoaster.  I will have to write more on that later.

Studies are finding that writing in long hand on paper may be better at helping students learn than typing notes on a computer.  I suspect a paper and pencil may do the same for a designer.   I ALWAYS start with my sketchbook.  It may only be two or three ideas, but I can’t seem to get the creative juices flowing by starting on the computer.   What is even more helpful is that I keep my sketchbooks full of ideas and find that if I’m stuck on a problem I can often go back thru my sketches and get new inspiration from them.  Something that did not work for one project will work for a new one.

If you were to look in my sketchbook you might not have any idea of what I have scribbled there.  It’s almost like I have a personal code.  I can tell you the details of every scribble even though they have no real form to them.  Some of my sketches go back 20 years and still I know what my thought process was at that moment.  I find that terribly fascinating considering I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday.  There is just something about the connection between your hand, the paper and your brain that works like nothing else.

It’s time for me to get to work.  Have a great day.

 

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