The Ideal Client: Rounding up week two of interviews about what makes a good client!

14 February 2014

We’re two weeks into our exploration of what can make and break the relationship between a client and a creative with Represent Recruitment, and we’re uncovering gems of advice, understanding and knowledge faster than we know what to do with them.

Even better, this week student Josie Tucker has made an excellent illustration to communicate what the most important values to this relationship are; including biscuits, and a cushion to protect against wooden-meeting-bench splinters. Obviously.

On Monday, Mexican design agency Anagrama told us all about the troubles that can come from working with a nervous client. “Sometimes the client is too afraid of a ‘risky’ or uncommon design proposal, even though it’s why they reach out to us in the first place,” Lucia, Sebastian and Danie explained to us. They feel it’s their duty as designers to try to solve this, by taking them “by the hand, leading them and advising throughout the entire project. They must feel included in the process; it’s an enriching experience for both sides this way.”

Rob Mitchell of London based copywriting agency We All Need Words had a rather different take on it. He waxed lyrical on the value of being opinionated, the trouble with prevarication early on in the process, and his own personal hatred of mood boards. “At best mood boards give you a wishy-washy idea of what something’s going to be like. More often than not, though, they force you to copy things that are already out there – even if that’s not on purpose. And because everyone’s using the same Tumblr feeds and blogs, everything is starting to look the same. I’d outlaw them if I ran a design agency.”

"Mostly working as a small studio means you work more closely with your client, which can promote greater communication and understanding of the brief, etc… Let's just say, it keeps you on your toes!"

Teo Connor

Dave Bell of KesselsKramer told us some of the things that might scare him upon first meeting a client. “If a client had fish scales instead of skin, or travelled to meetings by ostrich, that would ring some alarm bells.” Otherwise, he’s pretty unshakeable so long as the seats are comfortable and there are always biscuits on the meeting room table. No biscuits, no inspiration! We can only agree.

Teo Connor, co-founder of No Days Off and director of her own eponymous studio, told us how respect is the most important factor in any client/designer relationship, but especially for a small independent studio. “The size of the business does have an impact on the closeness of the relationship, which has its pros and cons. Mostly working as a small studio means you work more closely with your client, which can promote greater communication and understanding of the brief. Let’s just say, it keeps you on your toes!”

Mark Shields, sales executive at printers Park Communications, was the final interviewee this week, and gave us insights into his particular creative relationship. “Everybody describes colour and print in a different way, and a lot of what we do is simply trying to understand everybody’s language,” he said. That’s why he believes face-to-face meetings are so vital. “Meeting in person is hugely important… Sometimes a picture, a phone conversation or an email can’t get to the point as quickly.”

We’ll be back with more insights into the client/creative relationship next week over on the Ideal Client site!


Josie Tucker: Ideal Cut of Client

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About the Author

Maisie Skidmore

Maisie joined It’s Nice That fresh out of university in the summer of 2013 as an intern before joining full time as an Assistant Editor. Maisie left It’s Nice That in July 2015.

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