I blame the designer

[In which Cennydd has a downright sense of humour failure over a silly web comic.]

Here’s an excerpt of a comic that recently did the rounds in the web design community.

You know what? I’m tired of this attitude.

Clients From Hell is admittedly pretty funny. Sometimes clients say stupid things; but hey, so do designers. I’ve said lots of them myself. But this sort of thing is different. It’s not an amusingly misguided email. Rather, it epitomises a harmful arrogance and entitlement that pervades the design community. It carries a bitter subtext that clients are idiots with no design skill, and it’s a designer’s duty to disempower them by any means possible.

And I’m tired of it. Of course clients aren’t skilled designers; that’s why they had the foresight to hire us. But you know what? They know business. They’re as passionate, committed and talented as anyone. Many of them put their livelihoods on the line to make the web happen. And let’s be blunt: they also pay our salaries.

If a web design project goes to hell this way, I usually blame the designer. He wasn’t skillful enough to make the situation work. He didn’t provide the force of argument required, couldn’t handle the politics, or couldn’t convince the client of the value of good design. On the rare occasion when the relationship with a client goes entirely rotten, the designer should end the relationship gracefully rather than passive-aggressively working to rule.

Unconvinced? I suggest you read Scott McCloud’s excellent post about criticism and the equally insightful comment from Mike L:

“The most common misconception about criticism is that one has to be on a similar skill level as the creator in order to have a valid opinion. I read stuff from many different artists from many different disciplines who cannot abide ramblings of people that couldn’t compete with them in some way. If said person is not an artist, their opinion doesn’t matter. But isn’t art, all art about communication? And who is the artist generally trying to communicate with? … My #1 critic is someone who cannot draw at all. He tells me things I can’t see because I overthink them as an artist.”

(Oh, and here’s what ‘pop’ means.)

Cennydd Bowles