Designing with Ears


I find this post’s title funny. My mind conjures up images of ears “holding” my pencil, Wacom pen or mouse. But then I decided on it as a memory aid for myself and maybe it will work for you too. To further reinforce my memory, I am even posting this ear I drew despite my very beginner drawing skills.

What’s the point?

Recently, I caught myself getting carried away during a project’s design process developing an idea I wanted despite the nagging thought that it wasn’t what the client “asked” for. It wasn’t the first time. I say “asked” (in quotes) because it isn’t often that clients specifically tell us what they want. Dealing with people usually teaches us to listen for things others can’t or don’t say. I heard but refused to listen. Then I suddenly imagined myself talking to my best friend but she wasn’t listening. It’s not a great feeling to be un-listened to.

Good listening skills are not only important in our personal relationships but also in our design businesses. Clients are satisfied when they feel and know that we listened. I’ve had to redo a project before because I didn’t listen and I don’t want it to happen again, even if I have to use a memory aid.

And here’s something to think about from Robert Schuller—“Big egos have little ears.”


Have you ever caught yourself not listening to your client too? How did the project work out?



  • June 21st, 2011 /