Thursday, November 26, 2009

Take a cue from the master!

This interview by Tom Geismar is very eye-opening. He is a master graphic designer and has known for many years what we as artists may just be finding out: graphic design isn't just about making things pretty or functional; rather, it's a problem-solving discipline that provides a solution for a company's identity, report, training manual; for a writer's book cover; for the new business owner's stationary. The process has not changed drastically over the years - just enhanced (and sometimes held back) by technology advancements. Our perception of what the process is has changed but is slowly coming back to the realm of problem-solving.

In this interview Mr. Geismar spoke briefly about design concepts his clients chose over concepts he thought were much stronger. I think back on my short career as a graphic designer, both working in a position and in my own business, and remember clients also choosing representations I thought were not as strong as my primary choice. How do we really know what the client is looking for, what's in their head when they see a design? We can get close and usually hit the mark in most cases after a couple of meetings and comps, but there are always those clients who aren't sure what they're looking for - even if they have identified the core of their business. Even after a thorough investigation into all the solution possibilities, we may come up slightly short on the client's vision.

The only way to continually overcome this consequence is to continue practicing our work and take note of what didn't work well, where we might have missed communicating, make sure we investigated every option, and move on to the next project. In the end, the client is always right about their choice - even if we don't always agree with it.