Crazy Design Story

A client asked me to submit idea samples for a project.  They were going to be getting other samples from additional designers and they would use the designer with the best concept for the project.  So I worked up four design ideas including covers and a few inside pages to give them an idea of what the publication would look like.  I was happy with the samples that I submitted but I was told that they were going with another designer’s concept.  I am not new to this profession so, while I was disappointed, I am used to this type of thing.  What happened next however I was not used to.

A few days later I get a call from the client asking me to take a look at the concept they liked and give them my opinions on it.  I was reluctant but what was I supposed to do?  If I didn’t talk to them about the designs I could miss out on the opportunity to work on the project in any capacity.  So I took a look at the designs and to my surprise…they were terrible.  The designer did not take the time to clean up the design, there were some of the worst masking I have seen by a “professional” and the overall layout was generic and frankly I did not see what the client saw in the design concept…of course I didn’t tell them this.  I told them they were alright and I was unsure about what they really wanted me to do about it.  Then they asked me if I would collaborate with this designer to finish out the project…I reluctantly agreed with the stipulation that the other designer had to agree as these were their concepts.  After the other designer failed to successfully carry out their own concept the client then asked me to use their concept as a sketch of what they were looking for and take over the project.

This was really hard for me to believe…how can a designer submit a concept that they can’t carry out?  Well their loss was my gain.  I took as little from this design as I could in my next submission to the client and pulled together a nice looking design.  The client loved it and we are moving forward.  After the five different versions of this project that I mocked up I am about 20 hours into the project.

Today I got another call from the client asking me how much time I think it would take to mock up the samples that the other designer submitted…how do you answer that question?  I pride myself at delivering quality projects in a short amount of time, most of my clients repeat business with me because I am pretty fast at what I do.  There is no way that I can give an estimate on how long it would take another designer.  I simply told them about how long it took me to submit the samples that I had.  Apparently they were not happy with the amount of time the other designer had submitted to them.  Only one person knows how much time it takes to do that person’s work.

Moral of the story here is that if you are going to submit a design concept to a client make sure you have a plan to carry out that design over the course of the project.  Also if you are doing a mock up for a potentially large-scale project, take the time to make it a quality sample with clean artwork ready to go to print if the client wishes.

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