I passed by a store the other day. On the glass doors was a sheet of paper. Handwritten in large letters with a black marker pen was:
NO PETS ALLOWED.
NO FOOD AND DRINK INSIDE.
NO PICTURE TAKING.
I didn’t even try to see what was behind those glass doors. I have no idea what the store was selling. I couldn’t see beyond that unwelcoming note (even if I didn’t have a pet, food or camera with me). They might as well have written, “go away!” because that’s what I did. I didn’t see people flocking into the store either.
While it’s understandable – the shop owner may be allergic to animal fur or doesn’t have staff to clean up messes or doesn’t want her shop advertised (!) on Facebook – if the first thing the eye is drawn to is something that pushes people away, then it will push people away.
Have you checked your portfolio/website lately? You may have a section in it that’s meant to frighten away the clients/projects you don’t want (I subtly say this in “What I will not do for you”), which is perfectly okay. But if it’s the first and most obvious thing that potential clients see, they won’t care to look beyond that.
A few reminders that keep me doing. Might work for you too, pick one or more.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – (Philippians 4:13)
If it can be done in two minutes or less, do it now.
Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. (Yoda)
The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet. – (Lao-tzu)
The other day, I was informed of a client’s final decision on their logo (not done by me). I was baffled by the color choice, knowing a little about the organization (I was working on another project for them). Of course, I had no say on the matter.
The thing is, designers are often quick to judge others’ work, imagining we could have done a better job. It’s natural. But what I think is improper – if not amateurish– is to show the whole world your unsolicited design, it’s like subtly saying, “Hey, I did a better job, you should have hired me.” (I’m sure you’ve seen those design “redesigns”, probably did some yourself) or worse, telling the client they could have had it for much less (think design contests, $5 logos, etc.).
While the designer wannabe has full creative freedom (actually, he need not think beyond the aesthetics), the designer or design agency hired by the client has a broader view of the project from the major down to the minute requirements. He knows and respects those limits and he has justified his design choices to the client. He does not need to justify them to you or me, nor should he care to. And if the client is satisfied? End of story. At least, it should be.
Do you sometimes feel the urge to redesign something new and popular? Go ahead, do it for your training. But keep it to yourself. Or better yet, pour that energy into creating something new and making it popular. The world needs those more.