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Clients and design

I spotted this list of rules for being a better client last week;

White space is your friend
No, you can’t watch us work
Be open to things you didn’t imagine
Be confident, not arrogant
Nothing takes a second
Don’t be rude
Tell me the problem, not the solution
Decide who will decide
Have clarity of purpose


These are from a new book called Dear Client, This book will teach you how to get what you want from creative people by Bonnie Siegler.



I’m looking forward to picking the book up even though I am a designer on the other side of the audience she is primarily aiming at. I have a few thoughts on the creative/designer relationship with clients that may be helpful. Go get the book too though…


The issue that informs the list above is, I think, trust.
I’ve had clients who trusted me 100%.
I’ve also had some (plenty) who, it would seem, didn’t.
Maybe they didn’t trust themselves. Maybe they were indecisive. Maybe they have poor taste.

Or, maybe I was at fault. I don’t always get it right.

When you hire a creative person or designer though, you need to trust them.

Building relationships

If you work with creative people consistently and build relationships over time then, you should get to know each other and, these issues should become easier to navigate. If you jump around from one designer to another, never settling, never building, then you can expect these issues to keep coming up.

I know it’s not always possible but, the benefits of long-standing relationships in business far outweigh leaping from one person to another. You aren’t choosing the cheapest diesel for your car here.

I think this goes a long way to solving lots of the issues that may arise between designers/creative people and clients. Get to know each other a bit better. Be loyal to people when they do a good job. Respect someone else’s knowledge and experience. Build real relationships.

Of course, even with this, there will always be the potential for tension between creative people and clients. Let’s see what the book says then eh?