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please don't work with me if..

APRIL 30, 2022

Every single one of us has experienced conflict in our lives, whether there's an acquaintance you'd rather avoid or a co-worker you simply can't see eye-to-eye with, but it's how you react when issues arise that show who you really are as a person.

It's taken time and maturity for me to learn not to instantly react to something I am frustrated by and instead to take a step back and see the other person's point of view instead. Sometimes it's an innocent case of miscommunication and other times it's a disagreement that cannot seem to be rectified. We can't control someone else's behaviour, but we can control our own and as long as you approach difficult situations in a kind & respectful manner, you'll never look back on it with regrets.

So, after discovering my work, following me on Instagram and having a look around my website, I'm hoping you can see lots of positive reasons you'd like to work with me, but perhaps you shouldn't work with me if..

You have no empathy.

Through the pandemic, I home-schooled two young children on my own (or tried to) whilst also working a full-time job that suddenly was at the peak of it's success. I did all of this as a single parent (their Dad is involved, but he was a key worker and at the very beginning, we'd agreed it was safer for him not to see them) and though we all got through it, I think eventually the mental load of 'doing it all' finally got to me and in March 2021 I was hit by (what I later realised was) a crippling bout of depression & anxiety.

I didn't want to do any of my normal activities, including work (which is highly unusual for me, I adore my job) and I put myself in survival mode for a while, simply doing what I needed to do to get by. I communicated to my clients as best I could at the time that there may be a delay in their project start dates because I was experiencing some mental health issues, and thankfully they were incredibly understanding and supportive. I started to heal and after a few weeks away I was able to resume working, but one of the clients who had previously been sympathetic informed me that they considered me unprofessional, that my lack of communication was unacceptable and that they no longer wished to work with me.

The client was running a business that focused on a course for, would you believe, mental health. I was extremely saddened to have my reputation attacked so quickly after coming back to work but I stated my case as best I could, refunded their (non-refundable) deposit and that was that. Now I see it as a blessing in disguise, because I'd always rather end a project that wasn't going to serve both client and designer at the beginning, rather than half-way through when lots of time and energy had been put into it.

90% of my projects run within their deadlines and if there is ever going to be a delay, I will always get in touch with the client and inform them (most delays are days, up to a week at most) and if there is an issue or a strict deadline the client needs to hit, I will go above & beyond to prioritise their needs and make sure I am able to hit that for them because I am running a business that I love, and I would never want to do anything to jeopardise that, or the client's opinion of me.

However, as a single parent, sometimes if my child is sick (or I am sick), I have no choice but to prioritise our health and wellbeing and I make no apologies for that. The grind has been glorified for too long and I stand with the new generation of businesses who treat themselves and their customers/clients with respect, understanding that life happens and that breaks and self-care are integral to a happy, fulfilling existence.

You lack enthusiasm.

If you can't get excited for your brand, your designer is going to struggle to get excited for it. When someone fills out my enquiry form with one-word answers, it's an immediate no. Firstly, because I know they haven't read my terms properly (just above my form it states to please fill out in as much detail as possible) and when this is ignore, it doesn't bode well for future communication and secondly because moving forward I know there may be issues with gathering enough information from the client so that I fully understand their business and can ensure I can do my job to the best of my ability. Designers would rather their clients word vomit in their questionnaires than share the bare minimum, we need to essentially get inside your head!

The best brands come from a strong collaboration between both client and designer. You hire us to bring your brand to life and give it a face and personality, but we are unable to do our job without full cooperation from you, because you're the one who knows your business inside & out, from who your target audience is to what you want to achieve and why you started. Most importantly, we need to feel the excitement you have for your business because that is what we aim to transfer into the visual identity for you, because the businesses that succeed are the ones fuelled by creativity, love & passion.

You're not going to trust me.

The perfect brand is born from a strong client-designer relationship and that includes your designer advising you from start to finish and beyond! Just like anyone who is adept at what they do, we have been building brands for long enough to know what is or isn't going to work for your audience. We can utilise trends and create something timeless or unique, but all of those ideals depend on the kind of product the client is offering and who they're offering it to. As well as all that, we have to ensure the client loves it (no one wants to work with a brand they don't like the look of, even if it does work particularly well for their audience) and these are just a small number of the things we need to onsider throughout.

I've had past experiences with clients who have been extremely picky about the typography or colour scheme they want to use (down to exact fonts and colour codes), and this can have the negative effect of inhibiting our creativity as designers. Our job is to take on board everything you like or suggest, but sometimes during the design process when something just isn't working, it's important for us to be able to flex our creative muscles and be allowed the ability figure it out in whatever way we can. You'd be amazed how fantastic one business name can look in a particular font and how awful it can look in different wording.

It's incredibly important that you research your designer and their work enough to know that you are going to be able to fully put your trust in them. It is difficult when you're making a big investment and you have a strong vision, but we're only ever trying to play devils advocate and to push you and your business to the next level and to stand apart from your competitors. Some of the clients who really put their faith in me have become lifelong friends and we continue to boost and support each other's businesses as much as we can.

You can't be respectful & kind.

Wouldn’t it be great if everything in life went swimmingly with no issues? Sadly, that's never going to happen, and there are always going to be circumstances where you may disagree with your designer or even feel as if they’re not getting your vision and that’s ok! It happens!

But, please don’t be rude or sarcastic. As designers, we really do want to do an amazing job for you, but sometimes things happen, whether it’s because we feel a certain direction isn’t going to work or because communication hasn't been quite right and we can't fully grasp your vision. Of course, it's ok to express that you aren't feeling things and you'd like to have a further discussion or even perhaps terminate the project, but there are plenty of ways to do so without becoming aggressive or sending passive aggressive hints. We are all human, after all.

The best way to combat this is to ensure your designer is right for you before you book with them (scour their portfolio, check out their social media and have a good old chat with them). But if things happen once you're already in the thick of it, simply express how you feel and that you'd prefer to try another direction or and the majority of us will always try our best to be as accommodating as possible, even if it comes to parting ways completely.

If you're a business owner reading through this post and still want to work with me, that's great! I can't wait to hear from you. I hope you have gained a better perspective of how we work as designers and understand that we really do want to give you an incredible identity to take and grow with.

If you're a designer who is nodding along, I would always recommend having a firm contract in place at the beginning of every project and to consider putting a welcome guide together that offers your clients all of the information they'll need to know when working with you (such as acceptable times and means of contacting you and a timeline of how things will work). The less confused the client, the happier you both will be and the more time you can put into creating an incredible brand that you both will love!


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