Educate Your Customers (Please)

Sometimes I catch myself sharing technical aspects of graphic design with more clients than usual. Would that more of us had the willingness to take a moment to explain the work of our trade.

How much compensation have we forfeited because we wouldn’t provide a brief technical lesson? Upon contemplation I’ve come up with two sinister excuses:

First, clients don’t care to know. They’re so busy and important; they have no room in their brains for type fitting, photo resolution, color mode, image cropping or print specifications. I was needed to dig the trenches of the project, and don’t irritate them with dirty details. 

And/or …

The information is secret, that if revealed would release bad design into the world willy-nilly. Good, experienced designers will lose business, as horrors are unleashed by clients attempting to do the work themselves.

I have a theory this unconscious reasoning became deeply-rooted working in big media production support, shut out by insecure “creatives” who conveyed the attitude that real talent is beyond comprehension.

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I’ve learned that creating good design is work, and to honestly disclose that fact is better. It spreads an appreciation of what exactly we do. More clients might adjust to compensating us according to the worth of what we produce, and less likely to put up with someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing.

It’s past time we opened our mouths and let everyone know, a design doesn’t magically appear on their proof when we wave our creative wand (Photoshop tools notwithstanding.) There is work involved, therefore they must be engaged in providing what we need to get the job done. It’s not only OK, it’s right and just, for people to compensate us for the real legitimate work we are doing.

I look at it this way – I now give my clients credit for being intelligent enough to understand a bit of technical information. From what I’ve seen they actually appreciate that it’s not magic after all.

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