Do you have a dribble account, share all your work to social networks or constantly ask for critiques of your work from other designers?
Non of those things are bad in and of themselves.
They could however be symptoms of a much bigger problem.
Designing for the wrong audience.
We all want to do work we are proud of. Earning praise from other designers, who might offer a more educated opinion, can be especially affirming.
However, if you let that become your main goal and give less priority to your clients opinions, your work is going to suffer. The work will not perform for your clients and they will go looking elsewhere for their next project.
Your work has to function the way the clients want, and speak primarily to their audience
Clients pay your bills; your design peers do not.
Unless you are working for a designer, the opinion of other designers doesn’t really matter.
How to avoid it:
Communication is key
Honing in on the correct target audience starts before you ever touch pen to paper. It begins with a clear and complete creative brief from your client.
Make sure to ask:
- What are your goals for this project?
- What demographic should it speak to primarily?
- Who is your main competition and what sets you apart from them?
- How would you define a successful outcome with this project?
With these details figured out it is a lot easier to evaluate your work as you go to make sure it fits with the clients goals.
Keep yourself in line
The drive to try new techniques, or pull off something innovative is what keeps us growing and improving, so don’t stifle it. Instead, ask yourself; “Am I doing this for me, or because it fits really well with my clients audience?”
Hopefully the answer will be both.
If it’s not, it may be a good opportunity to evaluate.
I know I personally have had a lot of breakthroughs on difficult projects only after realizing that I’m trying to force my own concept somewhere it doesn’t belong. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying for hours to fit a square peg into a round hole, only to realize the round peg had been right beside you the whole time.
Don’t overwork it
Dieter Rams said it best (he usually does.)
“Good Design Is Honest : It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept”
The essence of good design is the ability to communicate the core kernel of truth it represents.
Don’t worry about trying to impress anyone, and your client work will start to impress everyone.
What do you do to make sure you are always designing for the right audience? Leave a comment and let’s talk!