The most difficult client – You!

As freelance designers we tend to complain about difficult clients quite often. Sometimes I just go to Clients From Hell just so I realize things could be worse.

The fact of the matter is that the most difficult client is you. Maybe its just my problem and then this whole post goes to waste, but I don’t believe I am the only one, why else would designers change their image so much? As you work on more and more projects you feel the need to make sure your image reflects some of the new skills you have learned along the way and the design style you are developing as you progress in your career.

Now this may be embarrassing to announce on the web, but I actually spent months working on this website, never really committing more than an hour or two a week, but I kept trying none the less. Every design I ever did I just threw away. Really once I came up with a design it only took me about two days to build, but coming up with a design was more painful then that root canal I had last year. (It’s amazing/sad to me that this is all I came up with).

Recently I completed a full rebranding, redesign, user experience overhaul, and front end dev for an extensive website in just a month. This got me wondering, how can I pull off a website 50 times the scale in a month, but can’t pull off a simple design to display my work?

I think as designers we go into projects with lots of energy to make something awesome for the client, but at the end of the day you can finish up that project and move on. There is not the same level of emotional attachment as when you design for yourself. You design for your clients based on how you read their brand or image. When you design for yourself you try to create something that speaks who you are, since you know yourself at a personal level (let's hope) instead of just a business level the design becomes increasingly difficult.

"Do I show my clean web 2.0 style, or do I go organic looking, I really love the outdoors? I can’t use #C6001 for my site, I used that for my clients website, I need to look original. Do I try to be a nerdy techy guy, or a hip apple loving designer."

Note: All those things didn't run through my mind, they were just supplied as examples

Okay maybe they did

In the end you need to display yourself as a business, not a personal profile. How would you display the services you offer? Put personality into the design and copy, but don’t put your personal life into it. Step outside yourself for a second and be a really good client to yourself so you and your client are happy.

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  1. Vivek Sagi

    Good article. I know you are not saying that you strive for perfection for yourself but not your clients :-) . It’s always easy to execute under deadlines and to an existing brand than it is to create one for yourself.

    Nov 15, 2010 @ 2:26 pm


  2. Nick Sorrentino

    Good point, I do strive for perfection with all my work, its just trickier to define when doing it for yourself.

    Nov 15, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

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