Recently, I had a debate with a less-than-desirable client regarding the amount of work that he perceived me to be doing. The issue in debate regarded a logo design that we were working on together. The process involved several logo concepts that I provided for him, for the purposes of encouraging ideas and discussion.  The ideas varied in color and style, and were intended to help determine the direction of his brand.

One fine day, the client approached me with a moment of inspiration. He had seen some visuals out in the world that really excited him, and he was positive about what he wanted the logo to be. He showed me the idea and – apart from some cleaning up – I didn’t dislike his suggestion. The design was clean enough and would serve as a good foundation to build on. I believe that as important as a logo is, the quality of the brand will establish what the logo reflects in the eyes of the consumer. I went back to work for the client, and after a few more tweaks and concepts, we had settled on a design that was similar to his suggestion.

Flash forward to a discussion about the remaining fee on the project. “But we ended up using the logo that I thought up! Why should I have to pay for the entire thing?” Naturally I was stunned at this suggestion. I clearly explained to the client the fallacy of his argument and he begrudgingly paid.

There are many in the world that do not respect design. They do not respect the expertise and mindset that we bring to the table. Moreover, they do not respect the process.

A designer is not hired to create a logo. He is hired to create a mindset for a brand. He is hired to analyze a business and determine how it should be viewed – and view itself – and how best to translate that viewpoint visually into a logo, website, etc. Finding this viewpoint is done through a process of discussion, experimentation, and concept work.

My client would not have arrived at his visual inspiration were it not for the hours of work and discussion that we engaged in prior to that moment of clarity. That is a large portion of the service a designer provides. Many people in this world will not understand this reality, but the designer himself should not shy from reminding people when necessary.

As designers, we cannot always expect clients to appreciate what we do, but we must at least be conscious of our own value and defend it when the moment arises.