The second in a series of five rules to make you a better designer.
My inner critic is warning me to not tell this story. But we've all been through this...
I have a project on my desk right now that has been in development for nine months. I wish I could say this is unusual, but it isn't. Complex projects take time. And that time means that people change their minds. Project teams evolve. Objectives morph.
I vividly remember my professor in college telling me the hardest part of design for him was remaining enthusiastic. But I urge you to be more than enthusiastic. I want you to be tenacious. Part of being a good designer is not seeing these changes as road blocks but instead as a normal part of the process. It can be really hard. We naturally take things personally. As a designer you need to find the inner strength to continue to step up to the plate at every stage. Be engaged. Do your best work.
Back to my project. We've been through many iterations. We were creating brand new content—we wanted to tell this portion of the client's story in a new way. We worked with an outside consultant to pinpoint appropriate research. We looked at competitors work and how they told their stories and sold their products. We worked with an illustrator to develop illustrations. The content is fairly detailed—so we expected lots of copy changes. The construction is challenging—incorporating varied finishing techniques. So we know to allow time for the printer to experiment. We have gone through many, many, many drafts—and I'm sure there are a few more in the future.
It would be so easy to become discouraged. We have been talking about this for a long time. I'm a little bored. The client is a little bored. But it is imperative that we all address each round with a fresh commitment to moving it forward in the best way possible. And pay attention to craft throughout the process.
It is so tempting to just get something done. Your juggling a lot. And sometimes that is all your client wants—to move it off of their to do list. But if they have hired you for your creativity and your mind then you owe it to them to bring the best you can.
So be tenacious.
Pay attention to craft.
Take the time that each step requires—don't cut corners.
Communicate the value of each step to your client.
Pay attention to production.
Don't let pitfalls derail you. Think long haul.
Write the design brief.
Keep meticulous records.
Watch your bottom line.