Will Harris shares some insight on working with designers. We often read about tips for designers by designers, but not tips for clients by clients. Still, both parties should read it (and print out the PDF, too!).
Designers (and professionals in related fields) will get great gems of advice that will make them go “oh, thank goodness he said that!” because it’s so common for clients to just sit there and say “I don’t like that” without giving any real reason behind their preference. A design project (again, this can apply to other fields) is the responsibility of both the designer and the client. They have to work together.
But let me digress a little bit. One thing that struck me while reading the article was Will’s first suggestion:
Choose your designer carefully. Look at their previous work. The best designers don’t have a “signature look.” Their sites look as different as their clients do. Awards don’t necessarily mean the design worked for the client. If you’re not sure about a design, go to sites they designed and ask their clients.
Do you agree that designers with more diverse-looking projects are better than those who maintain a signature look? On the one hand, it immediately leads a client into thinking that the designer has a wider skill set and can more easily meet their requirements especially if they’re fickle.
On the other hand, clients opt for designers with a consistent style exactly because they want to emulate that look on their own projects.
I think that in general, professionals start out not knowing exactly what they want to do, and try everything out first. As they grow older they start to specialize. As time passes, you’re supposed to be more sure of yourself and should be able to hold a distinguishable reputation among your peers. This can be said not only about the styles you create, but the skills you specialize in, the clientele you work with, and so on. I wouldn’t say this is the only way to go, but it seems to be the trend.