Back in 2005, when I was a wee budding graphic designer, I had a ton of clients that all had the same problem….
They ALL expected ME to read their mind.
Yet my client’s minds were often jumbled messes of contradictory information. “I want this! No wait, I want that! NO WAIT”....
(Kill. Me. Now.)
Now, I’m a pretty intuitive gal, and I love to help people get what they want, but it was the same thing over and over and over again.
I’d get a client, they have some great project I’d be thrilled to start on, and and then it would turn into MONTHS of…
I'd hear things like: “Move this picture here, change this font to this color, make this bigger, or my personal favorite...
"Can you MAKE IT POP!?...”
...followed by “Why is this taking so long?” “The deadline was a month ago!” “Did you do that huge list of corrections done yet?”
Sometimes after months of this, I wouldn’t even charge them for the extra updates because I wanted to make sure they were happy.
I mean I’d actually think:
“It’s not their fault that I didn’t get this right on the first try.”
How sweet is that?
My thoughts were that other designers were PUNISHING clients for not knowing what they want by charging for these corrections.
A designer calls this “respecting their own time and value.”
I would have called it "screwing over the customer."
But in reality, I was definitely screwing over myself by doing this. I basically became a martyr to the creative process for my client’s well-being, and ultimately no one was REALLY happy. The designs were eventually great, but only after months of frustration.
THEN there were those times… sometimes hundreds of emails later, the client WOULD go with the FIRST design iteration I would do.
I would think..“How can this happen? Why wouldn’t the client, be happy with my work the first time?....”
And the answer always is... Because often times they don’t know what they want.
I would call this “Playing.”
A client would call it “I want to be sure I like what I’m paying for.”
As this was happening, I kept thinking
WHAT IF… What if I could get my clients exactly what they want, quickly.
How much faster would I get these projects done, if I could improve my process? How much happier would they be if they COULD get exactly what they wanted?
So I went to work, for four years of investigative academic and professional research, on how I could STOP trying to read minds and making myself crazy in the process, and help entrepreneurs figure out exactly what they want…. and actually help themselves get what they wanted…
More importantly, how to help entrepreneurs understand what they NEEDED (you know actual effective designs, instead of just pretty ones…) and help them avoid playing creative ping-pong with their poor designer. (AKA, lil’ ol me.)
Where things are today…
As you know, I help non-designer (and aspiring design loving) entrepreneurs learn how to design for themselves.
I don’t hear ANY “waffling” from my student’s trying to verbally communicate, to something that should strictly be a visual process.
I witness these newbie-to-design entrepreneurs producing beautiful things from their mind.
“Cutting out the "minder reader” is what I’d like to call it.
I’m not saying hiring designers is a bad thing, Actually the things I discovered help people work better with designers….
I am saying relying ONLY on a designer (or any creative for that matter) to decipher what’s in your mind, is a terrible idea. It has to be a collaborative effort.
The truth is... the reason why cutting out the mind reader works better is because...
No one knows what you love, more than you do.
In the next few days, I’m going to show you what I learned in my years of research and it might just change your approach to working with designers and your own design process.
Have you experienced something like this before, as a client or a designer?
Tell me all about it in the comments below!