Thursday, April 8, 2010

Your client knows better than you?

We'll folks if you do as many assignments as me, eventually you will come across a client that thinks he knows better than you.

Some times my clients make suggestions, some of them are so good that I hit myself silently in my head thinking... "now why didn't I think of that".

Yep, sometimes they come up with great ideas but sometimes they THINK they know better when they don't and that's when it becomes frustrating.

For example, last month I did an assignment for this fellow who asked me to create a brochure. The target audience was men and women in their 70's who own their own homes.

I took his brochure text, revised it, pulled out some great quotes that really sold his product and created a kick butt brochure that was easy to read... remember, his target audience is elderly. I sent it out and waited for his response.

"It's crap" he e-mailed me. I thought he was joking. Turns out he was dead serious. He then sent me the brochure that HE designed.

All his text was white against a blue background. He chose a similar photo for the front that I used and kept most of my copy direction.... but his piece had many serious flaws.

"What do you think?" he asked.

I replied... "It looks pretty. But it will fail and here is why... please take this as constructive criticism:

Your target audience is elderly and it's a known fact that reading large amounts of knocked out text against a dark background reduces readership because it's difficult to read. You also used a sans serif font that is difficult to read in a size that is very small... you should have used a font with serifs and gotten your type up much larger. Your audience doesn't care about it looking elegant, they want to read what you have to say AND save money. They want you to help them get out of the jam they are in.

Another problem with your design is that you haven't designed any focal point. Readers like to see bold or larger introductions to sections. Your text looks like a brick wall... I would not have the patience to try to read what you created and neither will the folks you are trying to reach. You have to make it easy for them to read your message."

I never heard from him again...

Bottom line freelancers: Keep an open mind, sometimes your client will hit upon an idea that's great. Don't be defensive... give credit where credit is due. Your client will like the fact that you recogonized their creativity and that will not diminish you in their eyes. And for the client that thinks they know it all, be patient, try to teach them. If THEY don't let their egos get in the way you will have a loyal client.

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