The start of the GAP:
You know when you start a project with a new client and there are these levels of design dreams that you build in your head, your visions of what it could be ....
the client has their own set of visions, theirs are more based around the huge results that will be seen, how customers will come rushing to their door... Thats this one initiative will change everything!
These are just the start of the tragic GAPS that are developed.
Generally, as a graphic designer, we have hopes and dreams of creative freedom, the wild and fun designs we will build, the beautiful compilations that transcend platforms, engage the audience and get recognized for their cleverness. It's what every designer wants, what every marketer hopes for and the viral-ness that every social media manager celebrates.
The GAP happens when once side sees grandiose and the other sees function, one see text & informative, while the other sees in a visual language.
When you design, provide marketing etc, you find that there is the GAP, the area that balances the client side with your own artistic, free side. Your objective is focused on helping the customer reach their goals and most times the projects are still fun.
Consider this: You hire a mechanic to fix your brakes, you don't stand over their shoulder and watch them fix your brakes. Part way through you don't ask them to reverse the order they are putting them back together and then ask that if there is any way you could see them do it all over again.
Make the most out of the GAP:
Having two opposing sides can be an opportunity to challenge yourself, to learn to re-manage expectations and learn something new.
It's a great opportunity for you to work within a new budget range, a new set of guidelines and help educate your client on what CAN be done.
For clients, its a great area to learn what can be done within their limits, they may not have seen every angle before starting the project and by providing more information, they can make a new decision or expand on their previous brief.
How to help reduce the GAP:
Starting off with great communication between the expectations of both parties, the goals and objectives and the work scope can really help manage this. Then finally, the budget.
Build a level of trust, show that you will meet the information objectives of the client while the client entrusts some of the creativity to you.
Stay on brand. There are ways to 'flex' and 'stretch' a brand while maintaining the integrity, this is your opportunity to use your creative skill to design within a brand.
Be honest but be fair. When both parties can be honest about their objectives and fair with the expected outcome, you are more likely to be excited about the results.
At the end of the day the goal is still simple: make your client happy. As you build up a rapport with your client you share a greater sense of trust, which, can lead to more flexibility and freedom down the road.
What has been your biggest design challenge?