*Disclaimer to the following dialogue: assume that the professional and intellectual capacity of the participants is unquestionable. In other words, on one side of the table we have a design professional with experience, knowledge, preparation, talent, and willingness to work (this is the minimum requirement you need to work, at least it should be, shouldn’t it?) and on the other side, a businessman with 35 years of experience in the metal industry.
Design professional: …so, here it is. Here is our proposal for your company’s visual identity.
(His face shows a clear expression of satisfaction and unease at the same time. Yeah, you know which expression I’m talking about. All creatives have a similar expression when we present something.)
Client: Hmm, OK, yeah…OK, let’s see. Honestly? I don’t like it.
Design professional: You don’t like it? This is the perfect solution to the brief. It’s exactly what the company needs to grow, what your clients want to see, what the employees need. It’s months and months of research, analysis, and work.
Client: Yes, it’s true. I do believe it’s all of those things. But I don’t like it. I imagined something else. I don’t know why.
Design professional: OK, well we can create another version.
Client: But didn’t you just tell me this was the best alternative?
Design professional: Yes, but if you don’t like it, we can always come up with more alternatives. Shouldn’t I be navigating under the assumption that the client is always right?
Client: You are the branding professionals. I fabricate screws and bolts. I don’t know anything about design. I only said that I didn’t like it, not that I was discarding it. Is it necessary to look for other alternatives?
Design professional: Well, that depends on the type of client that you are. There are lots of different types of clients. There are clients that always impose their taste and style. There are clients that don’t know how to listen. There are clients that will not trust the professionals. There are clients that always have to be right. Then there are clients that work with agencies who have their complete trust and therefore the client allows for the agency to lead with their experience, instinct, and talent. What kind of client are you?
Client: It depends on the type of agency that you are. There are agencies that always do what the client says. Without any push back whatsoever. There are agencies that look to find a middle ground, even knowing that those are often nearly impossible. There are agencies that are only in search of awards and recognition. And there are agencies that understand that the most important thing in this line of work is to know how to find the right client as a result of what they want and what they need. What kind of agency are you?