"If I knew all the words, I would write myself out of here." MRAZ

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Promise

I have a pact with my designer.
Maybe it is more like an unspoken promise.
Either way, it will make both of our lives so much easier.

I've asked one of my good friends to design cover art for a handful of books that I am compiling content for.

The promise I've made to him: I will not be like so many of his clients that contract him for design because they say they trust his design-sense and approve of his portfolio, but end up ruining the design process because along the way they forget themselves (they forget their lack of skill and expertise) and decide that they want to be the Designer (in-charge, can I say) instead.

I've been in the position to manage several scopes of work where design is involved. When the client has an idea that is well thought through (for their business model) and appropriately conveyed to the Designer (list of objectives, colors, sample ideas), things work well. The Designer is free to create a within the scope and the client can comment on likes and dislikes in order to narrow it down to the "chosen" look.

But when the client doesn't have a list of objectives, things get a little rocky. Instead of having a clearly defined scope (set of boundaries, as it were), the client likes this, but also ...and can you add a little of that...and maybe in this color too?

These types of clients have often done a lot of looking around, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but when it is combined with a lack of objective forethought, they've turned themselves into a kind of design zombie. There is no reason or cognitive thought. There is only the obsessive end-goal...which remains illusive, because, again, there are no real objectives...only, "Well this is nice. Why can't I have this?"

(I could spend more time relishing in the zombie analogy, but we've all seen the movies...and I will let you imagination make the connections.)

As Project Manager, I've heard the whining (zombie grunts and moans) and I've dealt with it...nicely. And I've sworn never to be that kind of client - ever.

And, so now I find myself on the other side of the table (much earlier than I would have thought). With experience under my belt, I've presented my plan to the Designer. Provided several themes that are related directly to the work(s). I've said please and thank you. And I've waited for brilliance to occur. (I wouldn't have asked this particular friend to help if I didn't trust his ability to provide the type of "look" that I am going for.)

The promise I've made to him (to me as well) includes another detail...
I've got enough experience "designing" and trusting in my own "eye for colors" that I know I could fall into the zombie-client role. I could spend hours looking at images and design ideas, pelting him with emails full of links to each one...oh, isn't that pretty? and wouldn't this look just right?...(don't laugh, there are plenty of clients out there like that - maybe you've had your own?)

I decided not to look.
I'm going to trust in my Designer and the list of objectives that I've already submitted. I will not waste hours of time on reviewing what my cover art could look like....instead, I will wait for brilliance and make my comments.

No comments: