Design is a Funny Thing...

Without exception, every client that comes to me for design begins the conversation with something akin to the following:

"I've tried to do it myself, but I'm not a designer" or
"I need a ____ but I'm not very artistic" or
"I have a ____ but it's pretty basic. I want something that looks really sharp and professional."

Of course, I'm happy to oblige, because that's what I do. I live for this stuff. I love it so much that I study design everywhere...magazines, billboards, malls, books, bathrooms, you name it. I'm obsessed with the desire to create great designs. I'm not the best, but I'm always striving towards that goal.

All good, right? Sort of...

Because almost as frequently, those same clients will take my design ideas and tweak them endlessly, with round after round of changes, until the end result is anything but artistic, sharp and professional. Some of them are so bad that I cannot afford to post them on my portfolio for fear of being associated with such poorly executed designs.

That's not to say that clients don't ever have good ideas for changes. Sometimes, a client wants a change that forces me to think and work a bit harder and the result is a better design than I had started with. But at the risk of sounding like a snobby art guy, that doesn't happen very often. And the reason is obvious...great designers aren't coming to me for help. They do it themselves. It's those who realize that design is not their strength that come to me for help. Which is why I sometimes remind clients and potential clients that they come to me because of my expertise in design. If they want to take full advantage of that expertise, it will mean trusting my design extincts over and above their own.

Of course, having said all that, I do maintain that it's the clients call. Whether I create a design that I think is beautiful or ugly is, in a sense, irrelevant. In the end, my price doesn't change either way. I still get paid and the client is least for the moment.

So, I guess it is all good...sort of.
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About Eric Wilbanks

Brand strategist. Wordsmith. Change architect. Training specialist. DiSC Certified. Family guy (hot wife and 4 cool kids). Love my Bible, guitars, baseball, and MMA.


  1. You are definitely an artistic perspective snob. Yes, my definition of "artisitic" is losely defined so you probably have no basis in reality in which to define my statement...and I like that. ;)

  2. Oh yeah, well Mr. Stephen (if that really is your name) you're a law enforcement IT snob...whatever that might mean. :-)