The prospect of winning a new client is something that leaves us all a little excited. Most clients, including the good ones, tend to send vague request for proposals or information when they first deal with us.

But what happens when your client has an idea… that’s quite… well… terrible! Do you give the client your honest opinion? On the other hand, you understand that your client pays you for your professional insight and experience; they deserve to hear the truth.

Remember, it takes two to tango, so when you’re given a bad design idea that you just can’t execute, don’t rush to blame the client, even if it seems justified. You need a diplomatic way to explain your client that something is a bad idea or won’t work. This way, you can keep your point straight and not hurt anyone’s feelings.

To get out of this struggle, I use a magic word each time I try to transform “bad ideas” into something that both me and my client will love.

That magic word is – Imagine.

  • Imagine being stuck in a room with no visible way to get out.
  • Imagine being lost in a foreign country and being unable to communicate with anyone. And when you finally find someone who speaks your language, he forces you to listen to his life story before giving you the directions you need.
  • Imagine being forced to make a decision with serious consequences when you don’t understand the choices.
  • Imagine being on a highway with so many signs competing for your attention that you can’t possibly pick out the one you need to follow.
  • Imagine you’ve to reintroduce yourself every time you see your best friend.
  • Imagine you’ve to walk around the same block every time you want to move from one room to another in your house.
  • Imagine being incredibly hungry, but unable to figure out how to open the refrigerator.
  • Imagine hiring an employee who refuses to do what you ask of him and makes you feel stupid for asking.

All you have to do is (gently) push the client in the right direction and get the perfect user experience back on track and you should certainly go for it.

The client-designer relationship is like a marriage; both parties need to pull their weight in conceiving the design. Otherwise, someone is going to end being resentful, and the design is going to suffer greatly.

You’ll likely get a lot of gratitude, stellar feedback, and glowing recommendations for going the extra mile.

Peace out ✌️