All posts tagged “Designer”

Interview: Paul O’Neill of Levi’s Vintage Clothing: We speak with the sublabel’s Senior Designer on selecting pieces for reproduction, finding inspiration in music and his favorite 501s

Interview: Paul O'Neill of Levi's Vintage Clothing

As the originator of the classic American blue jean, Levi’s is a brand built on quality and function with a steady vision of the past, present and future of apparel. Though our sights are most often focused forward, towards the latest in innovation……

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Link About It: Cinderella’s Glass Slipper Goes Designer

Cinderella's Glass Slipper Goes Designer

In anticipation of their upcoming live-action film inspired by “Cinderella,” Disney called upon nine luxury designers to dream up their take on the glass slipper. Ranging from Paul Andrew to Jimmy Choo, Salvatore Ferragamo, Stuart Weitzman and more……

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How To Prevent ‘Sudden Client Designer Syndrome’

We’ve all been there: a client really, really wants to make a change to your design that, as a designer, you can immediately tell will result in disaster.

It happens to every designer, and, as far as I can tell, there’s no real way to avoid it. However, there is a method you can use to mitigate the problems caused by what I like to call “Sudden Client Designer Syndrome.” It has to do with User Experience (UX). Contrary to popular belief, UX is useful not only to web developers, but to any designer who designs any kind of product, information, or experience with a “user,” “consumer,” or “customer” in mind.

Create Objectivity

The reason why clients develop Designer Syndrome in the first place is that design is almost universally seen as a subjective discipline. In many ways, that’s completely true. Designers are called upon to navigate the fine line between marketing and art to develop creative solutions to problems.

It’s all very romantic, and clients can get to caught up in that mythology that they lose track of the fact that there is actual knowledge, experience, and quite often training that lies behind those decisions their designers make with seemingly no effort at all. People forget that it only looks easy. That’s okay; they’re only human. But if you’re the designer caught in the middle of this tangle, it can make your work quite frustrating and emotionally draining.

Businessman interactions by social media with business partners - vector illustrations

However, if you play to your clients’ true desires, you can often get them to understand the inherent objectivity that lies at the heart of what you do. What are your clients’ true desires, you ask? Well, if they’re anything like my clients, their true desires probably have something to do with generating maximum profits for their businesses.

This is an objective goal that you can use to your advantage. Your client may secretly wish he or she were an art director or a designer themselves, but the reason they’ve hired you is because they want to generate the most lucrative product, service, or information possible.

Your primary task when dealing with a ‘wannabe designer client’ is to remind them of this fact as often (and as politely) as possible. The easiest way to do this is to make sure you always talk about your design decisions in terms of the user, rather than isolating the visuals or the mechanics and selling the client purely on your design’s technical merit.

Whether your client is selling shoes, a personal philosophy, or organic dog food, he or she can always be persuaded to put their users first. (If they can’t, it’s probably time to find a new client.)

Do Your Research

Here’s a trick you can use to automatically boost your desirability to clients, getting them not only to trust you for every project they give you, but which will also make you a sought-after expert to other prospective clients in the same industry: figure out the target audience your client is targeting, and focus your effort on getting into the head of the ideal example of that audience.

When you zero in on serving a particular market through your clients, you automatically raise your desirability as a designer, and you make your career less about your individual clients, and more about the industry that needs your services.

Vector illustration of web analytics information and development website statistic

You can spend a lot of time being a “generalist” and go after any kind of design job you can find, or you can narrow down your services to a few key markets and spend some time getting to know exactly what goes on in the psychology of those types of consumers.

For example, if you’re a freelance branding designer who does work for start ups, take some time and think about exactly what kind of start ups you’re targeting. What do they sell? Who buys their products or services. Those are the people you want to please – not your client.

And, phrased just the right way, this will become evident to your client as well. Of course, you should never be rude or condescending to a client, but if you make it clear that you are an expert on your client’s target market, they will trust you that much more, and they will also recommend you to their colleagues in the same industry that much more frequently.

Be the Client

Creating user personas is an excellent technique that business owners use to gain insight into the psychology of their target market. Designers use it as well when they are developing content or products on their client’s behalf. However, you can also use this technique on your clients themselves.

As I said before, your career will be much more streamlined if you focus in and get to know the target demographics you serve most often with your designs. But it’s also a good idea to spend time getting to know the clients you serve most often. Clients are your target market; as such, they can be dissected and studied using business savvy and marketing psychology.

It might sound cold and mechanical, but believe me, it’s much simpler than going into a design meeting completely blind, attempting to figure out each client individually. Doing several hours of research in your spare time will eliminate the guesswork from your freelance business, and your clients will be immensely grateful that you can seemingly “read their minds.”

Flat illustration of communication by social media - vector illustration

So, how do you go about doing this research? By finding the types of people you’d most like to work for, and contacting them about their wants and needs in a designer. Email them, call them up, invite them out for a chat over coffee.

Gather enough of this data and you’ll start to see patterns emerge. These patterns are the basis for your client persona – they are what you can use to generate a bulletproof knowledge of nearly every client you serve. There will always be exceptions, but by gathering research, you can dramatically reduce the likelihood of getting a client that you absolutely can’t deal with. And if you do get one of those clients, well, you know what to do by now (hint: it involves running).


It’s important to actually do these things, rather than just think about them. The reason is that what you think your clients and target users want is often very different than what they actually want. This is why so many business ideas fail before they even get off the ground. People don’t do their research; they don’t communicate directly with their market, and so they fail to realize what others are really looking for.

To position yourself ahead of all the other lazy, mediocre designers out there, it’s important that you actually take the time to get into the heads of your market, whether it’s clients or users.

What Do You Think?

Do you spend time getting to know what your clients or end users really want? How has it helped your design process?

All images from Max Griboedov’s potfolio on Shutterstock.

The post How To Prevent ‘Sudden Client Designer Syndrome’ appeared first on Speckyboy Web Design Magazine.

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Aardman designer encourages kids to get creative in art TV show

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Ricky Martin works at both Aardman animations and CBBC

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Who’s your designer Valentine?

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Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is almost upon us and, this weekend, loved-up couples all around the globe will be celebrating their affection for each other in all manner of ways. But who’s your designer dream date? Well, now you can find out…

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Poppy Lissiman + Hattie Stewart Collaboration Clutches: The Australian designer and British artist join forces to create a seriously playful bag

Poppy Lissiman + Hattie Stewart Collaboration Clutches

Perth-based Poppy Lissiman has been making her clientele happy for some time with her super-bold and bright clutch creations. Relying heavily on striking motifs—eyeballs, dollar signs, lips and love-hearts—and plenty of metallics and sparkles, Lissiman……

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Interview: Designer Hugo Passos: Discussing the importance of functionality and purpose in furniture creation

Interview: Designer Hugo Passos

By Adam Coghlan

At 32, Hugo Passos is one of London’s most exciting young designers. With a refreshing purity of purpose, he exists slightly outside creative London’s esoteric clique.

“When I was growing up, Portugal was a traditional place……

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Valentine Goods for Apple Products: Using unique skins like ostrich, stingray and cobra, this NYC designer makes iPhone accessories that are a cut above the rest

Valentine Goods for Apple Products

Awash in a sea of iPhone accessories, Valentine Goods is a step above most. Valentine Goods first caught our eye in May 2012 with a set of premium leather iPhone backs made using an original selection of uncommon skins such as ostrich, stingray and……

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Nick Barclay’s Abstract Movie Posters: The graphic designer breaks down classic movies into simple circles

Nick Barclay's Abstract Movie Posters

Sydney-based art director Nick Barclay branches outside his traditional covers and spreads for international magazines and political campaigns for something a little more playful. In his latest endeavor, the designer has re-imagined classic film……

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Name your own price iOS designer bundle

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Designing for mobile is becoming a key strategy for every creator. More and more people are viewing content through phones and knowing how to design for those users means making your work all the more accessible. This bundle will give you the know-how and assets you need to be an iOS designer, and it’s made for your budget.

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