I’m working towards a career change. I’m a good artist, but I’ve found that this does NOT translate into being a “good designer”. Recently I took on a couple of jobs to test the water. I did two logo design projects and one web design project to see if I really liked this line of work.
I found that I LIKED the work, but the customers had mixed feelings about me. One logo project was awesome and I knocked it out of the park. The next one took me about 50 iterations to finally make the customer happy. (I would never recommend working with committees now…)
On the website I used some of my own philosophies in what I like in web sites and web apps and what I thought would look and function good, but the customer didn’t seem to like certain things and we had a rough time seeing “eye to eye”. It was a hard experience for me after putting so much of my heart and soul into the project. In the end I had to use a template and they were happy! It was horrible in that regard.
What I came away learning from these is that I clearly need to get a better grasp of what is actually expected of me. If I (obviously) don’t think like other people, then I need to learn to think like them, or at least fake it, so I can produce expected results.
Unfortunately I can’t afford course work like bloc.io’s 8 month program. I have to figure it out on my own: methodology, best practices, tools and all.
Does anyone have an outline of the steps to follow in a pragmatic fashion to go from effectively a learner to practitioner?
I feel like this topic has been discussed a lot (such as here or here), but to be frank, most of what I see online both here and elsewhere in the form of tutorials are just click bait and talking heads. I want some real meat and potatoes that can guide me on a quest or comprehensive learning process instead of just getting inspired and ending up back to confusion and missing a solid platform for growth and really understanding the psychology behind this field in both the actual design goals, workflows and customers’ minds.
One thing to remember: I don’t need help to become a good artist. I’ve got that. I’m pretty gifted when it comes to art – I need to down and dirty grind/practitioner side of the skill development.
“Committee” clients are always a nightmare. I avoid them as much as financially possible.
It’s not you.. it’s the fact that there are multiple people with multiple visions and multiple opinions all trying to get what they want. You simply cannot please them all. And it’s up to them to determine whose opinion or vision is less important.
If you have good rapport with individual clients and make them happy, then there’s nothing wrong with your communication.
If you find you aren’t getting clear direction with individual clients, then there may be something at fault with your overall communication skills. Rest assured though, it’s all about communication.
I can’t specifically tell you how to communicate with clients. everyone is different and I have no clue about who you are, your experience, your skill set, your preferences, etc. So there’s no feasible way to give specifics.
In short, you need to ask questions and have a conversation with clients in order to get a general understanding of not only the specifics of what they are asking for (as in size, color, production/delivery method, etc), but to get a “feel” for the unspoken.
- What is the economic demographic the piece is being designed for? Wealthier viewers will be more sold on a higher-end, more professional, “corporate” design. Whereas high-end/professional may not sell well to the “Monster Truck Rally” audience. Knowing the demographic should greatly influence the overall design.
- What is the nature of the item being design? Is it a healthcare product/service? A financial product? A consumable? Color, type, etc may all be altered due to that. This again, should influence design.
- What is the size of the client’s business? Is this to be designed for a national/international demographic or merely a local “mom and pop” business?
- This one is merely perception and not really anything you would ask the client. How does the client come across to you? Do they seem overly serious, perhaps a tad pretentious? Are they aloof, often using slang or swearing in conversations? You can’t design something “hip, modern, loud, and exceptionally dynamic” for overly serious clients much of the time, unless that is specifically what they are asking for.
It’s things like that which will lead you to seemingly intuitively get close to a client’s vision from the start. Much of this you may not need to ask the client directly. Rather you merely pay attention to the type of person the client comes across as and their description of their business or their customers.
In the end it’s really, really, really difficult to “design X” with no information about who the design will be read/used by. You are shooting blindfolded at a target if you don’t understand the audience (Both the client and the consumer).