He Said, She Said, But Watcha, Whatca, Whatcha Want?!

A COMMON frustration faced by many design studios, certainly by ours, is when our output is approved by our primary contact at our client’s office, only to be rejected and critiqued by other bodies late in the process of development, rendering valuable time all but a waste — or so it often feels. Something tells me this will always be a problem, but there are ways to at least lessen these kinds of situations.

When possible, we like to know the names of the possible approving bodies written on some form of an official contract, whether that be on a brief, on a job order form, or maybe even a billing/quotation statement. At the very least, it tempers our frustrations to know that the person who is very fickle is actually a true approving body and not just someone trying to push his or her weight around. Also, having these names on record serves as a piece of evidence if things escalate to a point of unreasonableness (“Mr. C requested requested this and he’s officially an approving body, so…”).

When possible, we also try to get all pertinent stakeholders/approving bodies involved early in the process of developing these designs. There’s psychology involved here: the earlier someone is involved, the more invested he or she is in the process, ergo the less likely he or she is to go against what’s already been done.

Lastly, our charging scheme plays a its role. Charging per study is a deterrent in and of itself. At the very least, this could encourage all the powers that be on the client’s end to speak with one another so that what is requested of the designers is a collective decision, not an individual’s.

All these could work, and yet all these could may very well be useless. It really depends. Regardless, I think it all goes back to doing the best you can to empathize with the client and to allow them to empathize with you and your process.

And there’s always something to be said about after-work de-stressors.

Martin Villanueva

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