You Trod on Egos, Designer

Politics

From personal experience, I have to say, designers are anti-politics. Not that they don’t care about government politics, no, I’m talking the politics within a company that cause changes to an otherwise beautifully functional design.

Consider this statement:
Mr. Important-Within-The-Company doesn’t like the color purple, so can you just make that red instead?

Warnings

When you’re working with a client, be careful the names you put on the mock ups you happen to give for approval. I was in the habit of using a particular set of names on the mock designs I showed the company. However, some in the group that were to approve the designs did not like the fact that I had done this.

They’re thinking
(as much as I can tell in hindsight): This person did not represent the entirety of the group, so why is their name on the mock ups?!
(or, perhaps): Why isn’t my name on there?
(or, even): I hate that guy. His face is stupid. His name is stupid. Look at it up there on that presentation, like he’s all important. I am going to get irrationally angry about this and make a fuss!

My thinking: These names are natural for me to use, as they are my contacts within the company. They are who I am interacting with concerning the designs and presentation. They are the names on the emails I see and phone calls I receive. I associate these names with this project.

I had actually given foresight to using their names though, as one was short and the other long. I believed using these names on the designs showed that any kind of name, short or long, with or without special characters, etc., would work perfectly well within the design.

What to do, what to do?

In this case, I handled it by simply communicating my reasoning and then later, not using those names in any future mock ups.

Things like this are unavoidable. They have happened to all designers to some degree (making for some excellent stories) and dealing with them are what truly defines success as a designer. Clients in our industry are just like customers buying any product. They want customer service as much as they want the perfect end product. Sometimes they’ll trade one for the other, but they’ll remember that they had to make that trade-off.

My Solutions So Far

Be kind. This comes with emotional integrity.

Be clear. This comes with experience, both in the design world and in communicating in general.

And, finally, don’t work with clients who won’t allow those to happen. This comes with too many clients who jerk your chain and force you to talk to a lawyer to get paid.

Discussion

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