- Clients that don’t have a clear purpose.
When clients come to a designer with a project in mind, it is generally expected that you have a clear and concrete concept for the purpose of the design piece.
At Triangle, we design websites, so for example, the designer might expect that the client knows at least the content of the website. But, this hardly ever happens. Starting a project, and allowing the designer to get through to the final stages of design for the website, and then “forgetting” to mention that you now also need an online store feature is a huge inconvenience. The designer takes hours of planning and research before coming up with the structure, and flow of your website, so what might seem like a small and simple change to the client, could actually end up ruining everything that the designer spent forever planning.
Remember, designers get frustrated with websites that are constantly changing in scope and content. Hold a meeting with your board, or marketing team and decide on the purpose, content, and timeline before the first meeting with your designer, or digital agency. It will help you save hours of work, focus on the actual design of the piece, and allow your designer to make you something unique and creative.
- No clear market or audience.
This goes hand in hand with not having a clear purpose. It is essential that you have a target market. If you request a piece targeted at “men and women between the ages of 0-75” you are going to end up with a piece that doesn’t work for anybody. Carefully consider what the design/ website is for, and who it is for. If your target audience is women aged 25-40, the website is going to look very different from a website that is meant for men aged 18-25.
- Constant rush jobs.
Design takes time. The creative process generally can’t be rushed even if designers are some of the most creative people out there. We create better work when we have a reasonable amount of time to finish. This is better for the clients, and better for us. Most designers have a process they follow which delivers a creative, on brand, error-free final product. When deadlines are cut to a matter of hours, each of the steps in that process have to be scaled back, allowing for errors. Try to plan out all the design pieces you need at the beginning of each project, and work with your designer, or digital agency to develop a realistic timeline that works for you both.
- Too much white space.
There is a sort of science to graphic design. There’s a saying that goes “Art is beautiful, design has a purpose.” Graphic designers spend a lot of their time learning and understanding the impact of color, and layout. A great layout will make your website look expensive, well thought out, and easy to use. Often times people with little design experience, have trouble understanding why things like “white space”, “perspective”, and “scale” matter so much to designers. We don’t expect you to understand the principles of design before you start a project with us, but if you have a question as to why something is the way it is, ask. We more than likely will have a completely logical and thought out explanation. Stay open minded and try to understand that LESS is MORE.
This is one of the harder parts of being a designer. It is really hard to tell a client “no, that doesn’t look good” but it has to be done. Try to trust the talent you’ve hired, and choose a designer with a portfolio that you love.
- Being told you copy someone else’s work.
If you were a writer, nobody would ever ask you to commit plagiarism. Nobody says “can you just write what this guy wrote?”. But as designers, we are constantly hearing “can you just make it look exactly like that?”. The answer is, of course we can, but we don’t want to. We can usually look at the sample that you love, and make something similar to it that would fit your brand better, that you may like even more. But please don’t ask your designer to copy someone else’s work, for obvious reasons.
- Spec work.
The concept behind spec work is simple: you don’t trust that I’m a good enough designer to do what needs to be done, so you want me to just do a bunch of free work as a test. It’s like if you went to a dentist to have a few cavities fixed for free, just so you can judge his work against that of some other dentists. It’s not fair to the designer. As designers, no we are not selling a physical product that cost us money to supply etc. But out time does cost money. And the time that we spent working on your “free test”, could have been spent on paying clients.
- The backseat designer.
Standing over your designers shoulder is uncomfortable. It causes us stress, and stress causes mistakes. Nobody likes a backseat driver “slow down” “use your signal” etc. Trust that we know what we are doing, and what you were about to say, maybe we were about to do.
What drives the rest of you nuts?
– Maha El Khoury