Designing for who…?

On the 15 Feb, Paul Boag, who I respect and admire wrote this tweet.

…We need to realign our thinking. Job satisfaction should come from producing design the client loves, not design we (or our peers) love.

This got me thinking.

Job Satisfaction – To love what you do as if you don’t class it as ‘work’, it’s just that thing that you love doing and that thing which you do best. At happiest, I don’t go to ‘work’, I go to a room which some people call an office to do the things that I love doing. If I roll back to previous places of work and answer these two questions;

  1. Do I get job satisfaction from producing design that the client loves? No.
  2. Do I get job satisfaction from producing design that my peers love? No.

For other people it probably depends on the type of work you’re doing. Generally your client isn’t your end user, the end user is effectively the clients client. Design is heavily subjective so designing to the personal requirements of a client is dangerous ground. I believe any good designer can research and plan and then communicate in detail to their client as to why the design need not be right for them but will be for their clients.

My thinking on this is that job satisfaction need not come from producing design the client loves, but more that you’ve created great tangible design that delivers the requirements of its purpose. It could be there to delight, to provide intrigue or as most designs are, to make money.

I think I understand where Paul is coming from, and believe if this is directed to the likes of dribbble et al, then yes, getting the most ‘likes’ isn’t effective design at all. Whilst getting feedback from your peers is recommended and I implore you to do so it doesn’t mean we should be designing for them never mind seeking our own job satisfaction to do so.

I would suggest we all take a sit back and think before we start our next piece of work and think about who we are doing it for and then go from there and communicate that effectively and enjoy what we do for the right reasons.