Build a partnership instead of biting the hand that feeds you

I was so frustrated by the ‘bad clients’ article (Design Business, DW 27 July) that I scribbled my own notes across it before passing the issue to colleagues in our studio.

I am amazed that our industry continues to regard clients as a source of confrontation.

Surely we need to work in partnership with those who commission our work – they are people, not monsters. We need to demonstrate how a mutual understanding will benefit them; that taking time to develop a working partnership is a worthwhile investment.

I spend a fair percentage of my time talking to new members of our design team, explaining that empathy is the key. We want to work with clients (not just for them) so we do everything we can to define and then exceed their expectations.

Of course, if the client doesn’t want to work in partnership, then we aren’t the right consultancy for them and we explain that, but that is a real rarity.

Michael Smith, Director, Cog Design, London SE10

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