A Good Studio Will Fight For Good Design
“The customer is always right.” It’s the first rule of customer service. The housepainter does not critique the customers paint selection, the chef will serve the steak with ketchup. These are preference based decisions that are meant to please no one other than the whims of the customer themselves. To argue against customer taste would run contrary to the whole purpose of the profession’s existence.
There are of course service based professions that don’t follow this logic. A doctor for example won’t amputate your arm just because you ask. A CPA won’t round down your earnings on your tax return based on your preference to pay less. Both of these professions have organized governing bodies to dictate ethics and accuracy. Customer satisfaction is prized only in so much as that the jobs are performed successfully based on the standards of the profession.
Graphic design walks an interesting line. A primary function, and the end result of which is an artistic creation. Quite unlike many services, graphic design results in something undistinguishable from a product, albeit a made-to-order one. Which Is why it’s probably often confusing for clients; are they buying graphic design the final product, or the service that leads to it?
It admittedly would be much easier if we were selling final product. That would remove the most costly and taxing part of our profession -personal preference. There are so many right answers to any graphic design problem, but what every client searches for is the one right answer that feels like the right one for them. Which is why we, and so many of our competitors sell graphic design as a service rather than a product.
It’s a function of the best types of professional services to council as well as produce. The best graphic design studios are able to listen as well as talk. It’s important to find compromise, _and- success. It’s important to be able to stand up for what you know to be true about a project. Keeping quiet about a project off course is to sin by silence. It’s the lettuce in the teeth, it’s the unzippered fly. As uncomfortable as it may seem, you know everyone will be better off if you speak up.
So, a good agency will fight for good design. Not as a function of pride, but as a result of conscience. To allow client preference to prevent a successful project would run contrary to the point of our profession.
The client is most decidedly always right in their intent to seek great design that sells product. The client is always right in their want to be heard, and included in their projects. The client is right to want a customized solution that fits their own individual needs. But if occasionally the client is not right on some specific portion of the artistic, or sociologic vision of a project, and if you know it in your designer’s bones, and with every year of experience in your body, then it’s the duty of your profession to speak up. We don’t need a national governing sovereign committee for that to be true. We only need to look across the conference table at the hopeful eyes of our clients to know it’s our most important responsibility.