Logo Ideas: Trusting Your Client Over Your Own Gut
I had an interesting situation with a very recent client which helped me reaffirm that what I may believe to be right, or most appropriate, for my client may not be right or most appropriate after all.
It was not so much about my choice being wrong or even inappropriate, but that in this case my preferred choice was not the clients choice.
Herein is a lesson in not being an arrogant twat.
A little background
I was approached to work on a highly secretive logo project—it’s still under wraps at time of writing—with a rather tight time frame of 2 weeks. The thing that intrigued me was the name of this new company, and that it would provide a very challenging project in terms of how best to visualise their brand.
I gladly took the project, and spurred on by a generous budget eagerly set to work with my pencil and sketch book.
The agreement was that I would provide the client with all my sketches, thoughts, ideas when I felt I was fresh out of juice. At this early stage the client was not really sure in what direction to take the branding so wanted to see a selection of polar opposite ideas so that the most appropriate one would jump out.
I don’t often do this, but in this case the client was very sure about being able to work through rough idea after rough idea without getting confused or overwhelmed.
Skip 2 Weeks
Time to scan in all the pages of sketches and prepare any digital mock-ups that I had done to send over to the client.
There were a few clear favourite logo designs with one leading design that I felt summed up the brand as well as being a totally awesome play on their tag-line. I was sure that when the client saw all the ideas against my personal favourite they would agree. To help with their decision making I also took time to better prepare my idea to show it in context, and basically push it over the others.
I was so sure they would see the reasoning I put behind this logo idea which was logically conceived as well as having a quaint and visually charming logo mark.
Given the title of this post it would then come as no surprise that they didn’t choose my idea, but in fact choose a variation of one of my other preferred solutions, but this variation should not have been shown to the client. It slipped in and I was kicking myself for being such a dick head.
Truth be told I was slightly cursing under my breath whilst trying to plan my return strike so that they would ultimately have no choice but to listen to me.
Should also come as no surprise that although the client agreed that my reasoning was very sound they simply liked this other idea much more.
Internally I just could not get behind it, but on the exterior I acted like a rational adult.
A Week Later
A week had provided me with some time to get over myself, and accept I was not in control, and we progressed with the project.
The next stage was the design of the business cards so I was determined to do what I could to pull all this together in a way I could be pleased with.
With the business card taking shape I realised my whole opinion of the logo design was changing as I was imagining certain print effects being utilised. Two sheets of 180gm uncoated white card stuck together would give us the chance to emboss both sides with this very minimally designed logo mark.
All of a sudden I could see the finished result and a renewed sense of excitement and enthusiasm came my way. No longer did the logo suck, but it now totally owned this business card.
Even though you may feel a client is not listening to you on the choice of final logo design, it can lead to a happy ending.
I was so caught up with my own sense of what I wanted for them that I almost totally neglected to see it from their side.
I think the extreme rushed nature of the project as well as the rather unorthodox prep and presention of the ideas contributed to loosing sight of the bigger picture.
The Client Was Right
In this case the client called it totally right, and I am so very pleased they didn’t buckle under my protests.
Ironically I always tell clients never to rush into making a decision the moment they see the first batch of logo designs. I ask them to sit on them for a few days before analysing and making rushed decisions. If after a few days they are still unhappy then we move on.
On more than a few occasions I have sensed their unhappiness at seeing the first ideas, but to then see a change in their opinions 3-5 days later resulting in a positive reaction, and a keenness to proceed.
I could have/should have listend to my own advice instead of becoming ever so slightly stubborn, and saved myself from some internal head butting.
The client was right, in their final choice of logo design, and for that I am happy because I can totally see that they were.
And The Moral Is?
If you find yourself in a similar situation, where you are doubting the saneness of your client after seeing them choose what you feel is the the worst possible design, then take a breath and give it a chance.
You could help yourself by only showing the client the ideas you feel are worthy, but we are not always in that position. As much as I swear on the ideals of only giving the clients the best of the best we can find ourselves giving in and showing EVERYTHING we have done.
We can be our own worst client.
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