Sometimes the creative process gets shut down unwittingly by the client. As a creative marketing agency, we want to provide the best possible service and product for our clients and this includes the best creative that yields the best results. Here are 4 ways the client can derail the creative process:
1) Don’t provide clear objectives at the beginning of the project.
There is no better way to dampen a designer’s enthusiasm than wasting their time and efforts. To prevent this, every design project should begin with a clear and concise creative brief. The brief should include a list of design objectives and design criteria that the agency and the client judge the designs against. This will keep the creative process on track. Many times a project begins with a simple statement like “we need a brochure”. So the agency goes off and provides their best guess of what is needed. Only then can the client provide more concrete input because you showed them what they didn’t want at all. “Oh, I forgot to mention it has to fold to 3 x 9 so we can mail it in a #10 envelope”.
2) Get too many different opinions and try to incorporate them all.
Many designers have heard the dreaded words “let me get the teams opinion on this and I will get back to you.” Design by committee never works. In addition, you run the risk of ending up with a Frankenstein design that nobody ends up liking. More often then not, the piece is presented without the benefit of the creative brief and of course the team is going to have an opinion. Generally, the client tries to let everyone’s voice be heard. If possible, have the design team present the concepts. This way they can field questions and defend their decisions. We aren’t advocating that opinions not be solicited but don’t make it include the janitor and his wife.
3) Tell the agency how to fix the creative not why it isn’t working
This is probably the most important advice because nothing stops the creative process faster than telling the art director how to fix the design. The designer’s job is to solve a problem not to be a wrist for the client. This mutual respect will always have a better result. For example, don’t tell a designer to move things or make them bolder, etc. Tell them the message isn’t clear enough and then give them a priority of the message. The client may be surprised with the fresh perspective the designer comes up with. It is good to challenge and push a designer. Just don’t take their design and cut it up, then paste it back together, and email it back, their job is done.
4) Have an internal designer “fix” the agency’s design
Many of our clients have internal art departments and many have very talented designers. A client will often take the design to their internal department because they want to save time and money. However, there can only be one art director on a project and their job is to keep the creative process on track and true to the creative brief. If the client steps in as the art director with their own staff, you create a very uncomfortable situation. The agency won’t understand why you didn’t come back to them with your concerns and the creative team will feel deflated. Although, a designer doesn’t own their work, they take their job seriously and want to work with the client to provide them with the best possible work. We know time and money is a concern and if you must take a project in-house, let the agency know. Honestly, this will keep your working relationship better in the long run.