Recently one of my clients (graphic design client) was going to make a really bad decision, based off of some really bad advice. What is a person to do?
1. Remain polite, controlled and logical. I was informed by email, so I took some time to reason out the problem and sent a “calm” (I was NOT calm when I was writing it. They will never know that though.) and logical email detailing why the idea was REALLY bad. Be very detailed, what bad things are associated with the bad idea and will the target audience go there. I also made sure to include a solution to the problem. That is problem solving 101.
2. Plan for a rebuttal. Yep they replied, with a sales pitch not even why their idea was better! I do not think they really read my initial response. No one really reads anymore, it is so sad. But since I planned ahead for the obvious “you are wrong” reply I was ready.
3. Reply, a bit less polite, but still professional, logical and remind them who the subject matter expert is. They are paying you for your expertise after all. I, again, laid out the problem and (almost) word by word explained why their idea was bad. I laid out why my idea was better. I even gave them some room to play and “improve” my idea so it would work with their plans “better.”
4. Plan for the rebuttal. I got lucky. The head cheese read my email (someone who READS!! whole emails too.) And they agreed with me. I did not have to rebut. I did have one planned though. I was going to put my foot down as the subject matter expert and pull my support for the event graphics (risky but I am working on this for “free.”)
In the end I won, which means my client won and everything is good.
I do not think you can win enough. The problem is learning which battles are worth fighting over. I know most people with think something like a event title is a small thing. It is not. It is the foundation of the event, the corner stone. This is what people will remember the event by. Search engines will take the words and title and show people this. Titles are important.
When you are working with a client and they are going to do something that damages their “name” or brand, it is your responsibility as the subject matter expert to stop them. If something is going to hurt their name and your name is on it, you get hurt too. All credibility down the tube because you would not stand up for your craft.
I am a very “go with the flow” type of designer. If the client wants it, I will do it. Obviously that comes within a limit. I am not on your team because I am a pretty face or a good chair filler. I am on your team to provide you with a service that you cannot do or choose not to do. When the laid back person tells you something is a bad idea, you might want to listen. Just because I go along with most of the ideas and plans does not mean that I am going to let you damage your image (and mine.)
Certain things work in graphic design and others work well in TV and still others work well in newspapers or on the internet. Using buzz words is great to snag the TV, radio and internet video watcher, but they are not always going to work in newspapers or on internet articles. Buzz words do not work in graphic design, when the template is already made and the words cannot be highlighted appropriately. However if you use a good graphic with intelligent words and the buzz words in your hash-tags and descriptions, you have a balance and that is what will get you the best results.
I think people forget that the words they see in a .JPG or .PNG image are not searchable. The only thing that is searchable about the image is what you have called it, the alternative title and any description you have provided. As the designer it is your job to know this, and any other rules and regulations that might affect your client (copyright laws specifically.)
*Stand your ground when it matters, and make sure you win by being prepared.
*Remember that anything bad that happens to your client because of your cowardice shows on your portfolio.
*Take the time to know your client and the clients audience. If you can show that and idea or action will damage their target audience you will probably win.
*Have a solution ready!
Winning is good.