Thursday, May 7, 2009

Allow me to do my job

Those of us in creative fields have a cross to bear.

That cross is clients. Or those crosses are clients. Or something.

At certain points in our careers, we will end up being hired by people who know jack shit.

But then the idea that clients are idiots is a dangerous one for those wanting to stay in work. When it comes down to it, they are the clients and they are paying for what they want, not what you want. You have to do what you can to please those you are working for or with. It's not only good business but it's just common sense. Why would you want to deliver work to a client who is unhappy with what you've done?

But there are limits.

When someone hires a creative, you would think they are hiring them because they like the work they do. Because they are good at what they do. They may even be an expert in their field.

If that is the case, why would someone then do everything in their power to prevent that person from doing their job? We've all had it happen. A client asking for this, that or whatever when you know, from your years of training and experience, that what they are asking for will either look awful or simply just can't actually happen. I'm sure many of us have done work we know will look shite simply to prove to the client how bad it is, terrified they may actually like it.
You've done that, right?

It's frustrating. And, sometimes, even insulting. They are the clients so it is their brief that should be followed but, if they respect your work and what you do, you would hope they should listen to you. Take on board the experience, knowledge and judgement they are paying for. And, together, you can create something that fits the brief in the best way possible.

Rather than end up with a train wreck.

I worked in advertising for many years. In terms of clients, if you've worked in advertising yourself, I probably need say no more. But I've had some really good clients too. Some who either knew exactly what they were doing or were willing to take advice and trust in the people they hire. It's great when that happens.

But there are limits for those of us in the creative businesses. And where people draw those lines is down to themselves. I don't think there is a real right or wrong. But, eventually, we'll be placed in a situation where those limits are tested. It happens to all of us. And, sometimes, the choices we make in those situations can haunt us.

That all assumes, of course, that a client is actually a client. They are commissioning work, paying for a job. Right now, I'm in the midst of what I call a personal test of character. From someone who is not a client. Someone who barely registers in the process.

Let's see how it turns out!


Red Pill Junkie said...

I hope you manage to succeed in whatever it is you're at right now.

There should be some clause or something in the contract between the professional and the creative, that if the client fails to follow the advise of the creative and insist on something being done like he/she wants, that the creative won't be accountable for the potential failure of the project.

Sometimes we do that in Architecture. If a client insists on something that it's bound to be a disaster, you ask the client to sign the project plans, to leave a statement that they're exactly what it is requested. Like a legal insurance.

Immi said...

Oh lord, do I know. Good luck!