Do you prefer to work with clients who know exactly what they want or clients who want anything? Do you think there is such a thing as too much freedom?

Adam Tickle
Too much freedom is a very difficult brief, very rarely (from my experience) a client will always have something in mind, they usually just don’t know what to ask for.

Adrian Shaughnessy
I like both kinds, but generally I think most designers have a gene that means they HAVE to have restrictions. Artists don’t need a brief (they write their own) but designers do.

Andrew Blauvelt
Yes. Design is about limits and constraints.

Dan McCarthy
I like to have the freedom as long as the client is open to anything. I’ve had clients who know exactly what they want and it can be tricky. They usually look at proofs too critically and nitpick about minor details.

Ed Fella
I was not interested in clients who would want anything. Tell me what you want to do. When I was an illustrator, I would draw what they wanted. If they wanted a bike, I would draw them a bike. I’m not interested in figuring out what you need. Don’t ask me to do that. I was an honest commercial artist. I did what was needed and I worked on my own stuff. I wanted to solve the client’s problem. If they needed something within the conventions, I tried to do the best possible job.

Eric Karjaluoto
I prefer working with clients who know their goals well and then allow us to concentrate on doing our job. Those who simply want us to make pretty things to meet their personal desires tend to be tedious and not receive good value for their investment.

Evan Leake
I would prefer to receive a theme, possibly a few preferred colors, and some examples of work the client likes. This way I can develop the work to my liking, but still touch on the things the client is looking for. Sometimes a client will tell you that they don’t know what they want, but they always know what they DON’T LIKE. This makes the design process very frustrating. And sometimes a client will know exactly what they want. Sometimes they will be so specific that there is basically no challenge at all. Sometimes they know exactly what they want, but its ridiculous...for instance, I was been asked to produce a flash introduction to a website with a depiction of a “hip hop” evolution of man, with a grand finale of a “hip hop” Statue of Liberty dancing with a hip hop” Jesus who is also wearing a gold “Jesus piece” necklace. (true story, I can’t make this up) Needless to say, I passed on the project.

We prefer to work with clients that give us 100% freedom, that let us start from scratch and do our work. If your wise and talented enough, there´s no such a thing as too much freedom.

Flip Flop Flyin
Yes, there is such a thing. It usually means the client has a vague idea and will likely never be totally satisfied. I love it when a client knows what they want, it makes everyone’s life easier.

Friedrich-Wilhelm Graf
No. There isn’t too much freedom. Best situation is mutual trust in client relationship.

Both is fun! Both is an adventure. The more creative freedom we have the better we perform. When you are being paid to dream, its best if the client just let’s you dream freely. However sometimes the client ants you to help them carry out their dream and that is always rewarding as well!

George Lois
As for being given too much freedom – everything you do must be ith the attitude that anything goes. If a client knows “exactly what they want”, they’re a lousy client looking for traditional work. Anything and everything you create for a client should be a great surprise to them – and knock them on their ass.

Hula Hula
I prefer working with clients that know what they want but expect me to add my interpretation. If a client expects me to be the hands moving the tools only to portray their idea then I’m out the door. There is no such thing as too much freedom.

Ian Stevenson
You can never have too much freedom. Fun free my mind... run free and let see what the voices say...

Jeff Domke
I prefer clients who have a clear challenge and leave me alone to solve it for them. Too much freedom is just another way of saying “poorly defined problem,” which is a problem. Another way to look at it: if your clients want anything, then you are making fine art. If your clients know exactly what they want, then you become a production artist. I prefer the balance between these extremes.

Justin Ouellette
There’s no such thing as too much freedom. In my experience, clients who want anything usually have a pretty good idea of what they want, and clients who know exactly what they want have basically already designed it. Clients who want anything don’t just want whatever you dream up, they want you to analyze the problems they don’t even know they have and solve them in turn. That analysis is half of the design process. A client who knows exactly what they want is implying that they’ve solved those problems before you’ve even started, which often isn’t the case.

Lance Wyman
I think of a client as my partner in getting past initial attitude and being able to explore the best design options. I think it depends on how you use your freedom. Often restrictions are helpful, and there’s no shortage, but I’ll take freedom.

Milton Glaser
The worst charge from a client is “Do whatever you want.” The best client is an informed one who trusts you.

Please Let Me Design
It’s basically the same. You have to learn to listen your client, find out what they need and find an idea that fits.

Rick Valicenti
I prefer to work with the smartest and most seasoned design-oriented clients possible. The freedom comes when the difference is fully understood. There is not a such thing as too much freedom in the world of design and certainly not in the world we share.

Wolfgang Weingart
If the client always knows the problem better, I prefer not to work with him.

Zoe Bather
The worst scenario to be in is one where the client says “do anything”, but really they want something very specific. They might not know what it is they want, or how to verbalize it, but nothing you do fits the bill.

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Fill/Stroke is a collection of three individuals who have always been good at collecting content, but never really good at sharing it. We formed in early 2008, and have been honored to interview some of the greatest designers of our time.

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