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Designerly Respect

In my 12 or so years in the Creative Management landscape, I have become all too accustomed to working with clients who have very specific, highly subjective ideas about how they want their website to look.

Adam D 26 August 2010
Use our experience and knowledge to your advantage! (Image: Miika Kumpulainen)

In my 12 or so years in the exciting, yet often wild and rugged terrain of the Creative Management landscape, I have become all too accustomed to the regularity and reality of working with clients who have very specific, highly subjective ideas about how they want their website to look.

Being a former business owner myself, I completely understand the intense relationship one can have with one’s business. There are undoubtedly certain parallels that can be drawn between owning a business and having a baby – particularly if it is your ‘brain-child’ and the recipient of a large proportion of your life savings, the new and likely unwieldy tenant in your house or the relentless force responsible for keeping your brain ticking away throughout the night.

That said, as a Designer, I do feel an obligation to stand up for and vocalise the virtues of my vocation, just as any other trained, experienced and knowledgeable professional would and should.

Whilst it can be argued that ‘design’ is in itself not a skill that can be officially labelled or accredited (although I personally believe the introduction of an official, widely recognised accreditation program for Designers would be worthwhile) in such a publicly resonant way as say that of a Doctor, Accountant, Solicitor, Chef or even Hairdresser, being a good Designer involves amassing an awareness of, and an ability to do a multitude of things.

We are so much more than technically-apt personnel through which creative solutions are realised, and can and do often wear multiple hats including those of psychologist, philosopher, business advisor, anthropologist, mathematician, problem solver and project manager, amongst many others.

Design is all about finding the right solution that will help an individual or business exceed their clients expectations. And in doing so, it is fundamentally important that the solution is not just highly functional, but that it delights in delivering to the client or user an innovative experience, or a means of communication, that not only takes them where they want to go but inspires them to want more.

It is this amassing of experience - of searching for, experimenting with and exploring new ways of resolving communication problems, that provides us with the expertise that you – the client – come to us seeking. It is also what we pride ourselves on offering you.

Next time you come in to Salsa, I’d recommend coming equipped with three things to ensure you get the most value out of our expertise. Firstly, do develop your own ideas about what sort of interactive design solution you’re looking for. In doing so though I suggest you ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does this tie in with my branding?
2. Will it resonate with my target audience(s) and make clear the objectives of my business?
3. Will it differentiate me from my competitors? If so, how?
4. What is the functional basis for my aesthetic decisions? (Ie: If you think pink should the predominant colour used throughout the site, why?)

The second thing would be to adopt a willingness to be challenged. After all, you are paying us for our expertise, so get the most out of us. We have worked with clients with requirements and demands similar to yours time and time again, so keep this in the back of your mind. We also have a thorough understanding of the bigger picture – what design trends might be better to steer clear of and what other creative approaches might be worthwhile investigating.

Thirdly, have fun and remember good design has been proven to place you in a position of significant competitive advantage! I highly recommend checking out the Design Victoria website for a great (and practical) read on how this does so. Amongst many other resources and tools, you can also assess how well your business is embracing innovation.

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