Clients are right to mistrust designers

Letters to the Editor should be sent to Design Week, 50 Poland Street, London W1V 4AX. Fax: 0171-734 1770.

I constantly read articles which clearly show that clients feel designers should only be app-ointed to create concepts. They are not regarded as having a valuable contribution to make – either as part of the implementation team or as being involved in the roll-out of a programme based on the designer’s work.

Having worked on behalf of a number of clients and found myself in a similar situation, I have come to the conclusion that this has occurred as a result of designers being guilty of unnecessary involvement in work. The desire to find additional fees by extending the remit of the designer is a temptation that can be difficult to resist, especially in a competitive environment. Over a number of years this has led to an understandable mistrust by clients.

Clients will only value ongoing input when a competitive advantage can clearly be seen. Designers must stop being precious about the purity of their work. They should be tempering their desires with a clearer understanding of their clients’ design requirements, the aim of which is to enhance the client’s business, not that of the designer.

Only then will designers be seen as an integral part of the team with a valuable commercial contribution, rather than a necessary evil.

Mark Fanthorpe

Umbrella Design

London E14

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