A Designer’s Credo

As a designer, I’ve noticed one fact that seems to encompass every area of design. It is simply this: “Graphic Designers are terribly misunderstood in business.” Talk to a designer and he will tell you the hardest part of the job is dealing with clients. To remedy this problem, at least between my clients and myself, I’ve written the following to articulate a designer’s point of view.

Before you hire me, you should know. . .

I am a designer. I am not a set of hands. I am not a tool. I am not someone who simply knows how to use graphic software or how to program a website. You are hiring me for my ability to send specific messages and communicate through visual media. How I do that and what I use are subordinate to that fact.

I may dress casual, but that does not mean I am unqualified or uneducated. Nor does it mean that my craft requires any less amount of discipline. When I read a book, I observe the margins, the leading, and the typeface selection to evaluate its readability. I stare at magazine advertisements for several minutes, understanding their form and hierarchy without reading a word about the product. I reverse engineer the best brands and advertising campaigns whenever I am exposed to them. While I pump my gas, I stare at the pump and decide what changes should be made to improve its user interface. You might leave work at five and be yourself for the rest of the night, but not me. Design is not a career path; it’s a way of life. I am a designer all day, everyday. Taking that out of my life would be comparable to stripping someone of their religion.

Yes, design is a big deal.

What I want

If you are looking for a one night stand, you’re in the wrong place. Design – good design – is not object oriented. It is not about making a ‘logo.’ Instead, it’s process oriented. It is about visually communicating the attitude of your business to a specific demographic of customers. Logos, brochures, websites – these are only physical manifestations of that process. So if you simply need a ‘logo’ and aren’t worried about any of the deeper process (which I’ll admit, sometimes that is the case) then don’t come to me. Go to a crowd sourcing company. They have plenty of designers working the corner that will get you the quick fix you’re looking for.

I’m here for the real thing. I want the relationship. I want to understand your brand, your business, and your consumers. That understanding will be the foundation for the correct and most effective graphic design.

We will disagree

If you’re looking for a graphic designer, chances are that you’re an owner or, at the very least, someone trusted to make important decisions in your company. It’s likely that you’re in that position because you are assertive and take control of situations. You are bound to disagree with some of my decisions, and your instinct will be to ask for revisions and to take control of the project. I challenge you to suppress those tendencies. Trust my knowledge and my experience.

“Your wife’s favorite color has nothing to do with your company’s corporate identity”

This doesn’t mean I’m opposed to change and revisions. All I ask is that those changes are grounded in solid and unbiased concerns. Your wife’s favorite color has nothing to do with your company’s corporate identity. If you want a change, you better have a good answer when I ask you ‘why?’ Likewise, you are entitled to ask me why I did something. A successful designer knows why he does everything.

Do your homework

I don’t like meetings. I don’t want to waste my time while you figure out exactly why you need a designer. Make sure you know those things before I get involved. Understand what your company is good at, why you need graphic design, what your goals are, and who your customers are. The more those things are articulated, the more effective the design will be.

Still interested?

If you’re thinking, ‘yeah, this makes sense,’ then we should talk. You are the client that I am looking for; a client that understands the importance of visual communications and of entrusting those decisions to a specialist. If you’re thinking ‘Who does this guy think he is? This is a load of bollocks,’ then I’m not your guy.

But we can still be friends 🙂

Scott Jensen

Hi There!

I'm Scott, and I love writing things like this. But I spend most of my time working as a designer.
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