Transform design limitations into design success

Imagine you're in charge of making the next generation of laptop computer that will revolutionize the market forever! You know that your boss has it all planned out, but you know you could do it better and integrate more features. Heck, you might even integrate less features; that guy goes crazy, and thinks he needs just about everything, when he really just needs a really, smooth simple interface! The nerve. So what should you do?

You've Got to Do What You've Got to Do

In the world of package design, there's a lot more to a package then just a cool container. There's a lot more to making a product than just pretty pieces that all fit together nicely. If a brand really wants success, what they really need is a combination of different pieces of a puzzle that fit together until they eventually are seamless. You have to consider safety, materials, usability and fit, as well as user convenience, legal concerns, environmental and social considerations, marketing, branding; until basically there's a long list of things that change things step by step until eventually the product works. The same is true with web design; you can't just follow your own tune and expect for your client to appreciate your disregard for their opinion. In the end, no matter what you think; you represent your work, and if the client doesn't like it because it's not their idea; you're out of a job. No matter how terrible you think your client's design is, you simply have to figure out how to find the line between the best of both worlds. If it's not exactly your taste; so be it, you're a servant to your client's needs.

Break on Through- To the Other Side

As a producer of ideas; naturally you're terrified of working for a client. You're worried about not getting paid, losing your valuable time to eventually worthless material. This is where it's important to meet your client's wishes, even if you think they're the absolute worst designs you've ever seen. You have to get into their head; look even deeper into their wants, figuring out do they really want that? You get the room to tinker and move stuff around, seeing design in conjunction with their business. Then you send them a copy, and wait for feedback. It's all you can do. Often, flaws in design requests from a client are because the actual instructions got lost in translation. Either the designer or the client get caught up explaining their information in "design terms"; and get everything garbled.

And if you end up telling them "I told you so in the end", so be it. At least you followed their wishes. Often, we get so caught up in our own opinions that we forget to consider the opinions of others. Instead of dragging people's wishes down, maybe the better scenario is to rid oneself of the power struggle that we put ourselves in because of a creative ego. It's important not to let you personal problems get in the way of what needs to get done; because interpersonal, one-on-one relationships that we have with a smaller client are overshadowing how we view their opinion.

Another reason that a designer should be more creative instead of conniving is to understand that a client may have establish their own limitations for their own good reasons. The client's belief in themselves and their product may very well be the reason their expectations are set where they are. Often, another challenge that people may face is that the challenge designs aren't always very clear, and often designers end up trying to be more visual than specific and they end up being just as confusing to the client as the original designs were to the designer. The fact is; clients know more about their audiences than designers do. Maybe a client actually knows more about what they want than the designer originally thought?

What to do?

Understanding a client's wishes and taking the limitations as challenges and looking for a unique but sale-able solution, that makes you a great designer. Coming up with absolutely perfect designs and meeting the needs of the clientele; then you're doing your job; because functionality wins over form. Living with limitations meets every design. Nobody ever means, "go crazy". They mean explore, and still stay within the lines of what you think they would want; and this is why you should push you imagination without fearing about the boundaries. The most important thing is figuring out about your limitations, and learning to stretch and bend the lines until you create something that not only makes your insight as valuable as the clients, but also makes everything work the best for everyone.