Ok I admit the title of this article may be a little misleading, however I am hard pressed to think of a better one (and I thought about it for a long time). What I am actually talking about is during the creative process. I no longer will be supplying my client’s with what they are expecting, and for a number of good reasons.
Since when has doing what is expected ever been enough? Our culture is obsessed with those who go “outside the box” or “above and beyond”. The existence of these common phrases is proof that doing what is expected is the same as not doing enough.
It undervalues what you do
Just as it is expected, giving the client exactly what they asked for also makes your job seem easy. In reality this may not be the case, but the client won’t see it that way. They do not see a creative solution, only what they have given you. In this situation you are no more than a tool, not a valued team member.
It’s safe and easy
Frankly, it is easy to give a client exactly what they asked for. Instead of taking the time to think the problem at hand through and develop a solution you can give the client the solution they supplied you. This however is not the road to innovation and creativity. Critical thinking is something that takes effort and skill, avoiding it only leads to complacent and risk-free solutions. One of my favorite quotes that summarizes this idea is by Carlos Segura, who says, “Communication that doesn’t take a chance, doesn’t stand a chance.”
They are going to pick it apart anyways
When is the last time that you have shown something to a client that they just blindly accepted without mentioning revisions? If you are lucky enough to have this happen, then I am in envy. Most likely though a client will make you “adjust” your work, so by avoiding giving them something that may already be water down in anticipation you ensure that as much creativity and passion is present as is possible in the final product.
Don’t get me wrong…
I am not saying that you shouldn’t listen to the demands of your clients that would make for a very quick trip to the unemployment office. What I am saying is that you should present the most well thought out and effective solution you are capable of. If this does not exactly fall in line with what your client has asked for, then you have a responsibility to propose what you believe is the most effective. If they don’t agree then that can be addressed, however selling the project short upfront only leads to bland and expected work, something you client won’t benefit from.