I write about design, freelancing, product making, and more. I also post some of the articles from my weekly design newsletter, Critique, here. To get all my articles, sign up for the newsletter.
Sometimes a client/boss will change your design for the worse after the project ends. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
You have bad designs floating around with your name on them.
Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:
What’s the ethical thing to do when a client is messing up a design you made for them?
Here’s what you can do when a design changes behind your back.
Why is designing a website for yourself or writing your professional bio so much more difficult than client work?
Why are there so many designers with terribly out-dated portfolio websites?
Why are there so many articles on the web about “Personal branding”?
The answer for each of these question is the same: humans have a blind spot.
When I was a kid, I’d use words like “sellout” when a band I liked found bigger success or when other people started listening to them.
Looking back, of course, this was a childish and arrogant way to think. More people discovering great art is only a positive thing.
As an adult and having been a working designer for over a decade, I still see that same attitude directed towards other creative professionals, not only musicians.
Every few months all the tech blogs brag about a new thing that will replace designers.
But we designers are still here.
Why is it that technology has proven unable to replace us? The answer is simple and has everything to do with our history.
I write about how designers can establish ourselves as experts,
persuade people to follow our recommendations, and build trust so that we can avoid revisions and other frustrating aspects of working with non-designers.
But sometimes you have to do what they say, and there’s no avoiding it.
You are only reading this sentence because you are angry that I called you petty.
*cough* petty, not pretty. *cough*
And you should be angry. Because, if you are a designer, many of the people you work with have thought you were petty at one time or another.
If a guy’s necktie width or a gal’s skirt hem length is wrong, each is the object of scorn.
People think your tie/skirt is horrible and therefore you are a horrible human. They hate you and your shamefully narrow/wide/long/short cut of fabric. Go hide in a hole, so they don’t have to witness your awful taste.
This is exactly how many people see design.
How excluding others from the design process prevents them from respecting and appreciating design.
Your client is the lion hiding in a bush, and you are the gazelle.
You’re having a great afternoon, grazing and soaking in the sun. Doing your gazelle thing.
But pop, out leaps the lion, and that nice afternoon turns gory and painful.
You were making a design for your client/boss, and it was going great. Then they leaped from the shadows with new information and eviscerated your design—after you’d already spent a ton of time working on it.