When we do video or voice calls over Skype (most clients are foreign employers) and they finish giving a very vague brief of what they want done, I go over what they’ve mentioned. An example would be if someone wanted an animated video done, ‘with pictures and a character in it’, I go back and ask what they mean. Is it a video that’s 2D, or 3D? What’s their general idea of “pictures with a character”, and so on. More often, all they want is an infographic with “moving pictures”, and not a fully animated character. Again, we go back to item number one - communicate.
3. Understand where both parties are coming from.
We tend to get impatient with others who don’t understand what we’re saying, and that happens even in normal conversations, right? More so in this dynamic. Often, clients who want some design work done have no idea how to call something so trivial to us, and we involuntarily widen the gap between us and the client by perceiving them as idiots. We’ve got to understand that they didn’t study Fine Arts or get a degree in Design to learn the jargon. They wouldn’t know the difference between “raster” and “vector” images even if they went to the best University in the country. It’s not their chosen discipline.
This is the same for us designers. If we’re employed by a businessman, we also wouldn’t know jargon related to their field. If they looked like idiots to us for not knowing Color Theory, we’ll look like idiots to them for not knowing simple business terminology. We’ve all got our strengths, and the reason why they come to us for design help is because they know we know what we’re doing. We also go to other professions for help in their related areas, like a doctor or a veterinarian for example.
Patience goes a long way in making relationships work, and that applies to the work dynamic too. Don’t get tired of interacting with your client or your designer. The more you start getting fed up by the other, that emotion will rub off on them. It’s a cycle, really. Be more understanding of each other’s short comings. Give it time, as long as that time doesn’t hurt the deadline.
Have you ever experienced anything like this in your career? How did it go? How did you make your relationship work?