Trust and Collaboration
Design by committee has destroyed many a great project. You might be thinking, “But, Chris does that mean working with others is inherently dangerous?” Not as all! Effective collaboration is one of the bedrocks of delivering awesome work. Specifically, collaboration that is based on mutual respect for all party’s expertise. I enter all projects trusting my client is a subject matter expert in their field and I expect them to feel the same about me. Some of this has to do with correctly qualifying your clients before the project even begins and proving value over the course of it (as expertly described in Brennan Dunn’s Double Your Freelancing article here), but most importantly is has to do with how you view yourself.
Don’t Doubt Yourself!
Recently in an impromptu project review with a colleague, we veered into a conversation about a new client’s reaction to our direction for their project. While he, like me, has no respect for design by committee, he wanted to submit a softer or split presentation due to his perception of the tastes of the client. My argument was that engaging in this speculation was basically design by committee, but the committee was in his head! Don’t become your own chorus of doubt. While keeping critical eye on the quality and direction of your work is important, doubt will kill your designs. Especially doubt based on guesses. Later, as a compromise, we gave the client a pre-presentation to get his buy off, and he loved our idea! So it all worked out in the end and further proved that we have to trust ourselves and our talents.
The American poet Don Marquis once famously said “Ideas pull the trigger, but instinct loads the gun.” This holds true for us designers as well. After downloading the project brief, our instincts lead us in idea making. It’s imperative we trust those instincts along the way.