The Ideal Client: What makes the ideal client? Five creatives tell us their opinion!

Posted by Maisie Skidmore,

Rounding up the penultimate week of our month-long investigation into what constitutes the Ideal Client with Represent Recruitment, we’ve got five more gems of insight for you from industry professionals including Wieden + Kennedy and Marian Bantjes. Get stuck in! You’ll be a better collaborator for it.

On Monday, designer, typographer, writer and illustrator Marian Bantjes astounded us by telling that she very seldom meets her clients: “It’s very rare, but I did once fly to Chicago for a job and I was astonished by the time wasted in ridiculous, useless meetings; going over PDFs that I could have looked at myself in a few minutes.” Uncompromising this might seem, but as Marian went on to explain, it makes for far better work in the end. “From all of this it may sound like I am difficult to work with, but actually I get along very well with most of my clients. We have fun, I’m clear with communication (and expect the same), I don’t have fits or tantrums; generally it is very easy and pleasant. That’s the way it should be.”

Creative director of London and Paris-based agency Praline, David Tanguy spoke to us about the effect that the economic crisis has had on the client and designer relationship. “I actually think designers and clients challenge each other even more now as projects have to be more relevant, efficient and successful. But the financial downturn creates a situation where some clients take less risk when they are choosing a designer,” which in turn, he explained, encourages the designer to lead clients in the exploration of new ideas.

Mag Culture’s Jeremy Leslie has 25 years of experience in editorial design behind him, so he’s well-placed to offer a few words of wisdom. “Chemistry is everything. That doesn’t mean a love-in, it means mutual respect and that includes tension and arguing from both sides at point.”

“Chemistry is everything. That doesn’t mean a love-in, it means mutual respect and that includes tension and arguing from both sides at point.”

Jeremy Leslie, magCulture

Jeremy also spoke about the importance of being allowed space to get on with the matter at hand: “The process should be entirely collaborative in terms of developing the brief and scope of a project, but then the client should be prepared to walk away and let you get on with what they’re paying you to do – design.”

Managing director of advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy Neil Christie gave some fascinating insights into how values can shift as a company grows. “The value of a client to the business of an agency like W+K obviously influences the relationship, but value is measured in many other ways than just the size of the fees: the quality of the work, the enjoyment of the team working on it, the opportunity afforded to learn new things, the feeling that you’re doing something worthwhile, and so on. There’s little value to us in having a big account where the creative output is poor and on which nobody wants to work.”

At the other end of the spectrum, freelance designer Alberto Hernàndez described the issues that can arise when working with clients who try to control every stage of the process. “I think there is sometimes a very fine line between direction and creative freedom. I don’t think there’s a single designer who feels good and appreciated if he senses he’s being used by the client and that he’s just obeying their order with no room for initiative.”

Pop back next week for insights from our final five creatives into what makes the Ideal Client!


Posted by Maisie Skidmore

Editorial Assistant Maisie joined It’s Nice That fresh out of university in the summer of 2013 and has stayed with us ever since. She has a particular interest in art, fashion and photography and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.