13. 06. 2016


Is it really so?


This Milton Glaser quote is one of many thoughts on design I came across during my studies. After graduation, I started working with a creative agency and soon enough had the opportunity to test the quote myself.

We designers are notorious for being quite tough when it comes to taking suggestions. Immediately I’ve pictured a client making us put “a bigger logo”, the most famous commonplaces in the world of advertising. Although I’ve heard such a request only a dozen of times, I am under the impression that there is limited place for love from the get go.

Far more realistic is the fear of clients, making them not trust us creative guys.

In a small market like Serbian we are pressed between high expectations (because we see all those super-awesome stuff on the Internet) and a constant fear that we do not do anything “too progressive”. The budgets are slim, the stress runs high and the chain of command is far too long. These circumstances make building some sort of a more personal relationship with a person sitting across the room quite a tall order. And we are supposed to be on the same team.

To top it all, there is far from perfect reputation our branch has in itself. I’ve had the chance to see a research arguing that one of the most common uses of the word “marketing” is when combined with the adjective “political”, in other words, when people want to say that somebody is lying to them.

Such a situation poses a challenge for creative agencies, not only to sell their ideas, but also to sell their services as relevant and necessary.

It is probably not the matter of the Serbian market only, so we get loads of tools that are used to show the work methodologies to our clients. But, more often than not, the end result is a ton of generic slides that cram the presentation before it reaches creative ideas, while the clients stare blankly in the flickering canvas.

Having tried out most of those tools myself, I claim that the key is to start from ourselves and honestly ask ourselves what would we do if we were the person hiring us- the one selling a product or a service. And then, we should put ourselves in the consumer’s shoes and see if we would actually try the product, eat the food, wear the apparel, etc…

This is the crucial condition to meet and only then can we let our imagination run wild and start brainstorming.

The ideas then start evolving, the trends we like become locally relevant, and we grow as professionals.

Experience have made me see that when you put it like that, it turns out that often we reveal some qualities to the client, that the client did not know it had in the first place.

It becomes a source of contents, insights and concepts and all the tools for creative thinking are there for us to test out what we have learned when talking to our clients and consumers , and come up with ? in our creative minds.

Because everybody will say that they are not in this business just because of the money, and this is probably true. Our job is to understand why our clients are in their line of business.

In my mind, Milton Glaser is not a person whose thoughts you should question, but as long as we are here in Serbia, maybe it would be better to start from the concept that it is possible to work only for the people we understand.