Paradoxometer prototyped by Adrian Shaughnessy.
01: There’s no such thing as bad clients: only bad designers. We love to blame our clients for poor work. When projects go sour, it’s always the clients — never us — who are at fault. Sure, there are bad clients. But designers treating them badly have usually turned them into bad clients. As designers, we end up with the clients we deserve.
02: The best way to learn how to become a better graphic designer is to become a client. On the few occasions that I’ve been a paying commissioner of graphic design, I’ve learned more about being a designer than by anything else I’ve done. It’s only by commissioning graphic designers that we discover that most of us are not very good at articulating what we do and how we work. For many clients, designers seem to operate on the principle expressed by the architect hero of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead: “I don’t intend to build in order to have clients. I intend to have clients in order to build.” As part of their training, all designers should be obliged to spend a sum of their own money on graphic design.
03: If we want to educate our clients about design, we must first educate ourselves about our clients. When I hear designers say that “we must educate our clients”, I want to break out in hives. Instead of educating our clients, we must educate ourselves in the ways of our clients. Then — and only then — will clients take us seriously.