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Anonymous's picture

Designers have Egos?!

I recently heard this from someone can you discuss cos i looked up ego in the Apple dictionary and here it is

Ego :noun ( pl. egos)
a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance : a boost to my ego.

noun
the defeat was a bruise to his ego - self-esteem, self-importance, self-worth, self-respect, self-image, self-confidence.

Everyone has an ego of some sort but do designers have an ego problem?

Commenting on this Forum topic is closed.

plugz's picture
1245 pencils

Designers generally don't have an ego problem.
The simple fact is that we know better than 90% of our clients.

While that may come across being egotistical, there are rules to design that need to be followed in order to make something a success which is why people hire designers in the first place and don't do it themselves in MS Word.

I don't think I'm better than anyone else, I don't profess to know how to run my client's business, but I do know how to do my job and do it well (most of the time).

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

The simple fact is that we know better than 90% of our clients.

Wow, it doesn't get more egotistical than that. Do you really know more than 90% of your clients? Or do you just know different ways of communicating than the client has probably thought of? They've probably got a list of ways to communicate with their clients that you haven't thought of either.

Let me put it another way. If your client has more money than you do personally, then without question they know a LOT more than you do.

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Visit Creative Guy for graphics and Mac OS tips, tricks, tutorials and commentary

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ReidDesigns's picture
1283 pencils

So I guess we are egotistical!

When a guy asked me to quote on some Business Cards for him, when I gave him the price he said that was way too high for what he wanted. I asked him what he wanted, he said he really didn't know, but he DID know it was too high! lol So I guess I knew 90% more than he did, he just didn't want to pay for it! lol

"Try not, Do! or do not, there is no try."
-Yoda

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

It's the 'I don't know what I want but I'll know it when I see it' gambit. Grr. Should ask him what his budget is and then tell him what he can get for that much money.

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Natobasso

plugz's picture
1245 pencils

Put it this way, I come from a strong marketing background, and have had a finger in a pie of most industries that I now work with. I don't see my job as a designer just to make the pictures, I also have to take on the mindset of a media planner to work out exactly what will work for the client and how it's scalable not just for the current job but also for the future.

Having written and collaborated on brand and marketing guidelines for several companies, from small start-ups to national chains, I know what I'm talking about. If that's ego then fine, but I just see it as being good at my job.

Most of the clients I have are referred from previous client in the same industries I've worked in for the past ten years, so I know the markets that they are targeting and therefore can come up with the goods they are looking for.

When I say that I know better than 90% of my clients, I mean only in terms of the design, marketing and brand values not their core business. it's my job as a designer to know the markets I'm appealing to and both the proven strategies and emerging media trends and that's something that I will spend my spare time researching before during and after starting a job, so yes, I will know more than the person who hires me.

I don't buy in to this bit by the way:

Let me put it another way. If your client has more money than you do personally, then without question they know a LOT more than you do.

They have more money because they are large companies with large staff, resources and pools of knowledge. They also do something that I have absolutely no interest in doing for a living. I don't do this job for the money, I made that mistake years ago after taking a job as an Analyst because it paid well, while it gave me more invaluable experience in business it was a soul destroying job. I work in design because I enjoy it, when I started I took a pay cut of almost 50% my salary, but now I'm earning more than I was before, doing a job I love, it doesn't get better than that.

Surely you can't believe that having lots of money makes you smart?

onegirlcreative's picture
1090 pencils

The man is a total imbecile and he is worth over $7 million. Explain the brainpower behind that one if he's so smart??? It's called, being born rich.

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"I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint." ~ Frida Kahlo

www.onegirlcreative.com

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

CreativeGuy, you have a point, but why are you so bitter all the time? Is it your ego talking? ;)

Most clients don't have a clue about what good design can do, or how it works to further sales and marketing goals. I'd say the 20/80 rule applies still rather than 90% of clients being clueless (so we just gained another 10% of good clients right there).

The state of the design industry is that it's becoming a commodity in the minds of business leaders and clents since the advent of the personal computer. What used to be an artistic, lofty and ethereal artistic process is now viewed as simple button pushing and mouse clicking that anyone with a computer and Power Point can do. The 'Powerpointization of Design' as I like to call it has devalued what Designers do. The printing industry suffered from this shift first in the early '90s thanks to PostScript.

In my opinion, 'Ego' is usually a designer who hasn't yet come to this realization and is reacting to this Powerpointization effect.

'Ego' happens when you offend a designer who's spent his or her money and/or time to learn a profession, only to come out the other side wondering why everyone and his dog thinks he can just do graphic design without the same experience and training.

However, 'Ego' also happens when you get a designer who's finally made a name for him/herself and decides he isn't going to take any more 'silly directions' from clients and starts telling THEM how things should look, regardless of the money he/she is being paid. This isn't necessarily good as it puts designers in a bad light in general.

Why would a company hire a designer to do work for them and then tell them how to do their job? Unfortunately this happens every day, and I have yet to have a client or employer who doesn't act this way. This doesn't happen to Lawyers, Accountants or any other professional contractor the way it does with Designers. This is what makes my Ego stand on end; but I guess I just have to deal with it or move on to a new profession.

I guess I'm a little bit bitter too. ;)

harrison's picture
173 pencils

Let me put it another way. If your client has more money than you do personally, then without question they know a LOT more than you do.

surely you can't be serious. I know a LOT of rich people - I went to school with a lot of rich people, I know a lot of their families very well. Whilst a fair few of them are very intelligent, even more are not intelligent in the slightest. There is definitely no concrete correlation between pay packet and intelligence [though i'm sure people with more money than me would disagree :)]

Back to the original question:

I think that we are in a profession that is very underrated and under-appreciated, and I get the feeling from a lot of people that they know how to do our job and we're just there to use the computer to put it all together.

I'd say the biggest reason we're seen as having large egos is that people often come into a discussion with a designer with an idea of exactly what they want, and when we disagree with whatever they have in mind, we're seen as egotistical because "We know better".

This is dichotomic [is that a word?] with a lot of other professions, for example a lawyer or a doctor. Most often when you are discussing something with a lawyer or doctor, you are hiring them because they definitely know better than you, and just sit back and listen to their advice. You don't often go into a doctor's surgery with a firm idea of what is wrong with you - you think you might know, but you wouldn't think the doctor is egotistical when he disagrees with you and gives his own prognosis. I'd say that kind of attitude is true for a lot of professions, but not so for anyone in the creative fields.

I've learned that a better way to deal with clients that want something done their way is rather than just flat out saying "no that won't work" is to ask them "why do you want it that way" and then suggesting other methods. Most of the time, they'll be satisfied that you're asking their opinion whilst you give them suggestions that they know are better than their own

andrew harrison
http://andrew.harrison.org

plugz's picture
1245 pencils

Dichotomic isn't a word.
I know what you meant though...

plugz's picture
1245 pencils

I think that we are in a profession that is very underrated and under-appreciated, and I get the feeling from a lot of people that they know how to do our job and we're just there to use the computer to put it all together.

It's very true and symptomatic of the fact that there are lots of people who will torrent a copy of photoshop and do a few favours for mates for free which is a lot of people's first experience with a "graphic designer". A lot of the time people don't want a designer, they want a Mac monkey to make their bad ideas printable.

onegirlcreative's picture
1090 pencils

"A lot of the time people don't want a designer, they want a Mac monkey to make their bad ideas printable."

How true that is, how true that is.

I'm sorry, but I spent my college education learning this creative stuff, so I'd like to believe, aside from my degree and my experience, that I kind of know what I'm doing in this arena. Although I don't have nearly as much experience as plugz, but I do have that artistic sense when it comes to putting a design and/or logo together.

Like you said, if that makes me egotistical, then so be it. Nobody seems to call architects egotistical when they do in fact, know better than their clients in order to properly sketch their future home or business.

Maybe I'm wrong....

suzanne maestri-walters :: graphic designer

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"I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint." ~ Frida Kahlo

www.onegirlcreative.com

bayhaus's picture

Thanks so much for letting me know i am normal! I think one thing is that clients come with preconceived ideas and they expect the

Mac monkey!

( That is extremely funny!!) to get down and do it. I Have totally refused to do some work and explained exactly Y, only to have these guys come back later. The accused had said to the accuser, i only do work that i lke doing. I agree with a lot of what has been said above.

I think that we are in a profession that is very underrated and under-appreciated, and I get the feeling from a lot of people that they know how to do our job and we're just there to use the computer to put it all together.

The doctor is my all time example you dont go to the doctor and tell him i have a stomach ache and i know its appendix so please CUT here and STICH there. Which doctor in his right mind would just say okay! I lectured for two years at a Technical College and i warned my students about clients like this and my advice to them was (1) They dont know better,

The simple fact is that we know better than 90% of our clients.

Plugz
so you have to educate them. (2) Once they know, they are now making an informed descision (3) If they still refuse depending on YOUR need and urgency for work you can either continue or decline. Coz some jobs are not worth the hassle sometimes i just make the cost of being a Mac Monkey prohibitive, if they are willing to pay for it, i will clench my teeth and be a monkey for a day!

plugz's picture
1245 pencils

Plugz
so you have to educate them. (2) Once they know, they are now making an informed descision (3) If they still refuse depending on YOUR need and urgency for work you can either continue or decline. Coz some jobs are not worth the hassle sometimes i just make the cost of being a Mac Monkey prohibitive, if they are willing to pay for it, i will clench my teeth and be a monkey for a day!

I agree completely.
Part of the reason I don't often have to look for work is because of the relationship I build with my clients leading to many referrals both inside and outside the company. Once you have explained things and proven yourself there is a level of trust there it's fine.

I used to get it wrong a lot of the time, companies wanted a Mac monkey and I'd go in and do what they asked, present it to them and they themselves within that department would be thrilled.
The trouble is, when time came for brand approval it wouldn't pass.

These people didn't know they had brand guidelines, let alone what they were or why they were there, once their supposedly great idea was refused sometimes only hours before the print deadline they gain a new respect for designers after a few panicked phone calls and a record breaking revision from me (fast enough to hit the deadline, not too fast so that they think it was easy).

When I say that we know more than 90% of clients, I'm talking about the people within a company department, a middle manager who has these "great" layout ideas based on their experience of "Insert Picture..." in Microsoft Word. These key people are the foothold into a company door and the ones with whom you build trust and understanding so that by the end of your relationship they have learnt some of the basic principles, know their brand inside out, and instead of asking you to do something, they ask you how they can do it.

Respect is the most powerful tool in the workplace.

Digiguru's picture
1 pencil

I do not believe that my client is smarter than me when it comes to my job. If he was, he would not be coming to me to do the work. I have trained in this area of expertise for years, instead of running and building his business as he has. He probably knows his business alot better than me, so there is certainly something I can feed off from him, but I know best how to present it online as I have trained to do so.

Designers/Developers probably work harder than most people I know as they not only work rediculous hours to complete projects, we are constantly learning and researching techniques, skills and readiing up to the minute information. Now while I do not disagree that we have ego's, it stems more from self pride and respect than over inflated self worth. We are certainly under appreciated, but the world would still turn without us.

Craig Jamieson | Digiguru
http://www.digiguru.co.za

bayhaus's picture

than over inflated self worth.

There is the problem i think our self confidence, in our work and ability is misread by people as being egoistic'.

thornysarus's picture
930 pencils

Just shut up and make the logo bigger.

hehe

Terrell Thornhill

e-zign Design Group

plugz's picture
1245 pencils

...that sums up the response of any client who's reading this thread.

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Terry

Did you hear that song on underconsideration.com? ;) Awesome!

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Natobasso

thornysarus's picture
930 pencils

Hilarious. :)

Terrell Thornhill

e-zign Design Group

wahit's picture
85 pencils

I think Egos have Designers.

onegirlcreative's picture
1090 pencils

suzanne maestri-walters :: graphic designer

--------
"I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint." ~ Frida Kahlo

www.onegirlcreative.com

wahit's picture
85 pencils

Why do you keep writting stuff at the subject and no content on the 'comment' area?! heheheheheh

Respiro's picture
10 pencils

Yes, I have EGO: when it comes to web design, I want to have the final word, as I am the PRO. I can let my client "to tell me", but he/she will have to loose...

wahit's picture
85 pencils

I'm an industrial designer. My ego is bigger than yours! :D

mara06's picture
2750 pencils

It's not how much you have, it's what you can do with it.

;-)

Mara

bayhaus's picture

See some of the clients attitudes towards design.

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

I just went down the bad client rabbit hole. Thanks bayhaus! :)

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Natobasso

Flub-Dub's picture

excellent post!
i always thought about the comparison with lawyers and doctors.
and i totally agree with the MAC monkeys. lol, well put.

i think the problem comes from the fact that
most people do not understand what design means.
its fairly easy for them to understand what it means to be a doctor.
the amount of work, study and responsibility that is involved in medicine.
pretty much the same with being a lawyer.

but when it comes to design,
you often hear comments around like "that car has a great design!"
or, "that is a very nice design for a mouse".
Most of the time they did not even drive that car nor did they held that mouse. For 90% of the people, "the design" is a word thats more hip and more precious than saying "the way it looks". And to me, thats an unforgivable mistake.

first, understanding the general notion of design,
then understanding why design has so many branches
understanding that form, most of the time, follows function,
that there are always scopes to be met, before judging the looks, could make clients better. and a lot of designers better too.

we need to explain all these to the client and broaden his horizons a bit.
he will then understand that he has a choice between a designer or a MAC monkey.

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always outnumbered, never outgunned

bayhaus's picture

i think the problem comes from the fact that
most people do not understand what design means.

I faced this problem when i decided to go to college to do design. I had to convince my parents, they were not sure about the decision but fully supported me and i spent a lot of time explaining to them what it is all about, until they understood. To make matters worse in Zimbabwe high school level architecture is called Technical Graphics so when ever i tell someone that i am a Graphic designer, they say oh you guys do plans for houses...! So yeah education will make our lives easier. Usually people who want one-offs at a low price are usually the biggest problem.

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