Whenever a graphic designer gets to his desk and finds a project, there is this minuscule moment in which there is hope. That hope is that they start reading about the project, and the client says the designer has “free reign”. In most cases, however, any designer who is told those two words knows that there are strings attached. It’s rare to submit a project for approval and not have some sort of kickback. It comes with the territory of the career, and working mutually is usually the best way to perfect the project.
Still, it’s hard for a designer to dismiss that moment of hope. I’ve comprised a quick list of reasons why.
Most designers have certain rules they follow. Some rules are due to industry changes and norms. Other rules like “I don’t do cute” limit the designer.
When you add a client’s vision into the mix, rules expand.
“These pictures must be in the footer.”
“Use this background.”
These are both real-life examples of rules that I’ve had to comply with in the last month. The client isn’t wrong in making these requests. My point is that each request puts a limit on a designer’s creativity and, aside from their ability to use Adobe products, they’re paid to use their creativity. When the rules outweigh the use of creativity, designers become more like a pair of hands that can place objects on a blank canvas and stylize them.
This point is often referred to as “shackles” in the industry. I’m joking. Sort of.
Maximizing Creative Talent
When a designer has a blank canvas, he has the ability to tell his own story. The shackles are off and, much like a writer, the story just starts to appear through sheer thinking.
When a designer has the ability to remove those shackles and attack that blank canvas, that’s when he’s usually at his peak. That’s usually the best of what he’ll do. It’s the perfect storm of talent.
Most graphic designers design with purpose. The client wants a project and it’s designed to help the client in some way or another. In most cases, the design can only be used for a client’s industry and, in some cases, will only be able to be used for that specific client. That creates ownership.
In the same sense, when a designer starts with a blank canvas and creates on any one of the available mediums in public view, there is the sense of ownership by the designer. “I designed that,” is what he’ll think or say.
You can only make a designer more excited about their career when you give him the ability to start from a blank canvas and utter the words, “I designed that.”
Senior Graphic Ideator
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