Great Design Serves the Audience
Imagine you made a thing, and that thing is blue. Sometimes the person writing the checks will say something like this when you show it to them:
It’s good, but can you make it green? I like green.
They like green. Okay. They’re paying you to design this thing for them, so it’s your job to make it green, right?
In fact, there are two wrongs here.
The first thing that’s wrong has to do with who you’re designing for. Most of the time you are not designing for the person writing the checks. They are paying you, yes, but your design isn’t for them. Your design is for the target audience, and the person writing the checks is usually not a member of the target audience.
The second thing that’s wrong pertains to your job. As a designer, your job is to communicate well, solve problems, and accomplish goals. If you’re good at your job you made the thing blue for a good reason, not an arbitrary one. Does the person writing the checks have an objective reason for wanting it to be green? A good reason that will have a positive impact on the outcome of the project? Or is it just an arbitrary choice defined by their personal preferences?
It’s probably the latter. That means it’s your job, as the designer, to do two things:
- Say no.
- Explain why blue is, objectively, the best choice.
Do not be afraid to say no. As a designer it is often your job to say no and explain, politely, why no is the best answer. No is powerful. No can protect the integrity and efficacy of your work. No is critical component of great design.
Remember, design is not about personal preference, what looks nice, or what people who aren’t in the target audience would like to see. Design is about creating something that works, and works well.
If it works better blue, don’t make it green.