The Customer is Always Right, Right?

We’ve all heard the phrase “the customer is always right”, and in most cases it’s very true. Short of the customer jumping up on the shop counter and screaming in your face, you’ve pretty much got to fulfil their every desire – regardless of how unreasonable that desire may be.

In design, it’s a bit different.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we always have to respect the client’s opinion. But, unlike retail and similar customer-facing professions, we don’t always have to agree.

Imagine you worked in a clothes shop. A customer is trying on an outfit, and they think they look absolutely fantastic. The customer then gleefully asks for your opinion and, while the voice in your head is saying “take it off and burn it immediately”, you would always agree with them and tell them they look great.

Now imagine you’re sat in the design studio with a client, and they’re looking over the designs for the business cards you just spent the day designing. In this particular composition you’ve followed the brand guidelines and positioned their company logo in the top right of the card -modestly sized, leaving just the right amount of empty space.

Immediately, the client’s reaction is to have you ‘blow up‘ the logo to fill all of that ‘blank space‘. That voice in your head returns, exclaiming unfiltered rage at the client’s lack of understanding of design and their own brand guidelines. Unlike the customer in the shop, you don’t necessarily have to agree with this opinion.

This would be one of those moments where you need to employ the art of selling your idea with tact. As a designer it’s not just your job to create good design, your job is also to champion your own idea – and this sometimes means politely challenging your client’s opinion and trying to sway them to your point of view.


An Interview with Kara Clifford

We interviewed self-proclaimed feminist and graphic designer Kara Clifford from Huddersfield, UK.

Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you study?
I have just finished 6 years of studying graphic design. I first found my love for design and in particular editorial design whilst studying an Extended Diploma in art and design at Leeds College of Art. Afterwards I did a BA (hons) degree at The University of Huddersfield, where I was then offered a scholarship to complete a Masters degree in graphic design. I have been interested in design all my life, without really noticing. When I was younger, I used to rip pages or elements that I liked out of magazines and stick them all over my wall. I get my inspirations from everything around me, and I believe that working alongside people from different courses such as fashion and textiles students on my MA degree has definitely made me a stronger designer.

“I had noticed a rise in people talking about feminism on social media. I wanted answers for why women or men felt that they couldn't admit to being a feminist, when the dictionary definition is 'equality of the sexes.'”

What came first, your interest in feminism or design?
Definitely design. Up until last year I didn't even call myself a feminist. I was pretty ignorant to it, which I have found that a large majority of people are. There is a pretty awful stereotype of what a feminist is. Some people instantly hear the word 'feminism' and think of mad women running around burning bras and hating men. I remember even on my MA degree I had male tutors asking me 'Oh you're doing your project on feminism, are you a feminist then?' and me being hesitant on saying yes. This was literally because I didn't want people to think that I fit into that false stereotype of what a feminist is.

Click here to read the full interview with Kara Clifford in DEZINE Issue 01