Projects come and projects go. Some are quick and some are never-ending. Some clients want a design to be constructed based on a plan that they have in mind, while others want us as designers to decide the best plan of attack. I think there are both pluses and minuses in either situation and recently I have found that there is a very fine line between which I actually prefer.

Creative Freedom

On occasion, something will come up where I am unclear or unsure about a certain aspect of a client’s web design needs. This is usually cleared up through a quick email or phone call and then I get back to work. Sometimes, though, a client or project manager is also not sure how to address the situation and I will get a statement like: “You’re the designer, you figure it out.”

Whoa, really – I can do whatever I want? This situation while sometimes stressful can be a great feeling. Having a client that trusts, not only my design skills but also my ability to make the right choice is great. This is what I consider to be creative freedom, the ability to get creative with my own ideas in the field I have chosen for a career. I know there are a lot of workplaces out there where that would be unheard of.

Strict Workflow

On the other hand, some clients have a very strict set of guidelines and don’t want to hear any ideas or suggestions that I may have. This situation sometimes forces us as designers to design/build websites that aren’t done in a way that we would actually consider to be a great design. Of course, I do understand that as a designer it is my job to educate clients as to why something may not be the ideal way to do something, but in a few cases I have been told, “stick to the guidelines pixel pusher”. (not in those exact terms of course, but basically.)

Now that is not always the case and sometimes guidelines/instructions prove to be an invaluable asset. Having an outline or guide with all the details allows for a workflow that is not only quick but also very precise. This usually results in a very quick turn around and a project that was just what the client ordered – minus the freedoms and trust that is enjoyed with creative freedom.

Which Do You Prefer?

While I do find both positives and negatives in both situations, I have to say it really depends on the client and project as to which I prefer. The more laid back clients tend to enjoy coming up with ideas together and the more strict clients want their exact requirements done to specifics and on time. I guess overall this could just be part of the trials and tribulations of being a web designer, but I would love to hear which one other designers might prefer.

So, do you prefer to have some creative freedom or a strict set of guidelines when working on a web design project? Drop a comment below and thanks for reading.

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