Firstly, let me start by describing what graphic design is and what it entails.
Wikipedia defines graphic design as the process of communicating visually using text and images to present information.
In other words graphic design is communicating a client’s message to their targeted market through usage of text, images, shapes and colour.
An ideal project starts with a meeting between the client and the designer, where the client would introduce their brand and what they would like to achieve from the project, the designer should use the meeting to ask whatever questions they have regarding the project and consequently compile a design brief.
A professional designer will research the client’s industry, products, clients and competitors.
The second stage is normally brainstorming, where ideas are generated and the most appropriate ideas that answers the brief are chosen. The final step will be to execute the ideas and transform them into a digital format.
Personally, I’m only happy to work with clients that agrees to what I always remind my clients before I start with their project: “I know you’re a client to me but it’s not about you, as you still have your own clients to please. So let’s not be personal, let’s make your job easier by putting what appeals to your clients’ first not you”.
I know it sounds a bit harsh but it helps to be realistic and focus on the end-users.
The client might like the colour pink but that doesn’t make pink an appropriate colour to use on her cosmetic products for men.
Back to the subject, we are hired to communicated the client’s message. But today all one sees is a lot of designers forgetting to communicate and rather getting lost in trying to ‘show-off’ their technical skills.
Most designers turns their poor client’s project into their canvas to showcase their ‘artistic’ abilities, this is mostly done by art directors and graphic designers, both print and web.
One often find awarding winning print advert that has visuals and copy that is well crafted, but looking at the advert’s target market and intended effect you’ll get to see that most of the adverts are only awarded for their creativity not on the creative team’s ability to have had achieved their client’s objectives creatively.
And I found somebody who thinks the same:
“Great designers seldom make great advertising men, because they get overcome by the beauty of the picture – and forget that merchandise must be sold.” – James Randolph Adams
Don’t get me wrong, creativity is a beautiful thing and it should be rewarded and celebrated but only if it’s within the client’s brief.
Designers are meant to utilize their technical skills and creativity to communicate a message not to decorate!