The Balance Part 3: Listen to Your Client

Today, I want to continue a series about the relationship between client and creative. You can read Parts One and Two Here.


As we move forward in this series, I want to take a look at what happens after you fight to see good art represented. After the battle, after the clarification on why you made what you made, it is time to listen.

In the end, we must follow the client's notes, if we are to have a proper relationship with them. We have to hear what they are telling us, and do our best to bridge the gap between artistic expression and client desires.

I know, I know, this sounds like the complete opposite of last week's post. The truth is, we must adhere to the client's needs before our own wants. Hopefully, after you state your case for your work, the client will concede to your design. But if the client is firm about wanting changes, we must listen to them. We must do what they ask of us.

Sometimes, we will feel like we are sacrificing true art just to make money. The truth is, it probably isn't that dramatic. It probably comes down to our tastes versus their tastes. That is why we must listen to the tastes of the client. 

We may not fully understand the story behind why a client wants work to look a certain way. We may not be able to understand the inter-office dynamics of those over our contact person's head. We may just not be able to see what they are seeing. 

That is why we must listen.

In situations like these (which I hope are few), we must be able to come to the table with compromise. I'm not asking you to sell-out...I'm asking that we bring possible solutions to the table after hearing the client's needs. Maybe the finished product isn't exactly what you had in mind, but if the client is happy, then we have done our job.

At the end of the day, the client is right. 

We must listen to the client.

Next week, we will wrap this series up by taking stock in the relationship we have with our clients. Can we work together on similar projects? Can I count on a referral from them? It is time to cut ties? 

More on that next week.

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