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If I hire a plumber to install a new sink in my bathroom, can I tell them how I want the pipes run?  If an electrician is running a new plug to power up a bigger air conditioner, can I tell them where to run that line down to my basement?  When I go to the doctor, am I “allowed” to self-diagnose?

Then how can clients tell us how to do X – with X being anything we’re a professional in producing?

More often than not, clients tell us how to design their business card, website, etc. – and aren’t flexible because they want it done their way, usually because “they know their business and know what works”. Unfortunately, it may not be the “right” way, or dare I say, a new way.  While they may know their respective business (i.e. plumbing, electrical, etc.) they aren’t a design professional.  Like the plumber and electricians, we too have “rules” when it comes to visual design.  How can we help the client understand that we have their best interest in mind?

  1. Tell them!  This is especially good advice if you’re new to the freelance world.  You might be a bit nervous about asserting what you know because you don’t want to upset the client or even lose said client.  Give them solid reasons and offer up your own ideas to back up the method to your madness.
  2. Break out of the norm.  So, you say this has worked well for this many years…could something else work better or different?  Maybe doing it differently would allow the client to stand out from his competition just a little bit more (especially if they are in a customer-centric trade like the electrician or plumber.)
  3. Create two ideas – theirs and yours.  Timely, I know – but if you can show them an A/B comparison, you might have a stronger argument when it comes to showing them your ideas vs. theirs.

For the clients reading this – please keep this in mind: you hired us to have your best interest in mind.  We’re not going to steer you wrong – that’s why you hired us.  Please give us a chance to do our job.  We won’t let you down.