Have you ever noticed how quickly, “it's just this once” becomes “well you did it last time”.
Personally, I hate doing those one off odd jobs that usually conflict with the original design rationale/metaphor or maintenance rules of a project.
A simple one I encounter all the time in my line of work is the text inside an image... every website I design has image areas and text area, you don't upload an image which is a bunch of text and then repeat the text in the text field. Sounds simple enough but I end up having to go through it everyday at work with clients.
Now back to my original point, how do we stop these types of cringe requests? “No” isn't a word you can use in the corporate world (as everyone who enters it has failed to learn that life isn't fair). So how do we address this issue, how to we make sure that we never have to stretch a typeface or bastardise a logo? Process!
Sign-off sheets, written agreements, whatever it takes but you need to make sure every request for your time follows a process.
No favours. The word favour eludes to a choice and if I have a choice I say “no”.
This may sound like a no, no... you can't say no to the customer right? Wrong. The solution to the favour vs. process debate (which is by no means exclusive to design) is knowing what you offer and just as importantly, what you don't offer.
A little story I can recite to help you understand this better. I was at a farmers market in Redfern a few weekends ago and there happened to be a Yalla (producer of dips, yoghurts, etc) stall, my girlfriend asked why they didn't produce Baba Ganoush (one of our favourites). The stall clerk responded by saying that they didn't have the equipment to do it properly and until they did they wouldn't produce a product below there usual award winning standards.
This makes so much sense that it is ridiculous and this is one of the key themes in Ken Blanchard/Sheldon Bowles Raving Fans. Which is a great little book I recommend to anyone interested in this topic.
Originally posted 30 May 2009 at www.lorenzoprinci.com