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Design is done when the problem is solved

Jul 5, 2017 Design

Image source: ShutterstockImage source: Shutterstock

As a Designer or a client, what does it mean to design or redesign something? What does our client want from us, and how can we as designers make a meaningful impact and amplify our work’s worth?

Most times when we talk about design, most people think about artifacts, graphics, and some sort of image(s) consisting of text and colors.

Well, we’ve also heard a lot about how design is problem-solving, and bla bla bla about problems.

Yes, it is! But most of us Designers still don’t get it. When a client hits us, what comes to mind is I’ve gotta be creative”. We want to wow the client to justify the fee, and validate our skills. But that’s not how it should be.

Let me jump out of the product design soup now, and plunge into Graphic Design which is largely what most Designers” here (in Nigeria) do, and what most clients around this part of the world seek.

A client who happens to own a restaurant comes to you and says: Hey, I want to redesign my menu list. People don’t order much when they skim through it.” We’ve all been there; clients assume, and most times tries to tell us the problems and even how to solve them.

Now, a typical Designer that I know will say: I can do it. Discusses price, timelines, and deliverables, which is how it ends most of the time. It ends that way because most of us still think Design is what you see on screen or paper.

Design is about Identifying problems, understanding problems by asking the right questions and ultimately eliminating the problems. It isn’t about the I” (The Designer), it’s about the we”. It’s about making something to change and make an impact on people’s lives.

Great design materializes when there’s a collaborative process, and its results are remarkable.

So how about working together with the client, and seeking to know why they need a menu list redesign. What’s wrong with the current one? Are people complaining? What exactly about it? Could it be the Menu list? A food problem? Space, or the service? What does the business want to achieve? And most importantly, working with the client to get customer feedback and input in the process.

Doing these things might seem a long rope, and most of us will say how much is the client paying for just a menu design?” But if we Designers understand that the client isn’t paying for menu design, but for a problem needed to be solved, and that the problem might not be the menu, then I think we will realize our value and our work’s worth.

And trust me, If Designers have this knowledge, clients will begin to understand, realizing that you aren’t just manufacturing a Photoshop/Illustrator/Corel Draw product, but a representation of the solution or need.

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