Sometimes A Faster Horse Isn’t The Best Solution

“If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘Faster Horses.’ ” — Henry Ford

Clients come to me and ask for faster horses all the time. If I gave them faster horses they would probably walk away mildly satisfied. But they might wonder if they really need my services. In their minds, they’re doing the hard part by coming up with the solution. Never mind that it might be absolutely wrong for them. If it does go wrong, who gets the blame? The designer.

I rarely give clients faster horses and only then if it is the best solution. Instead I delve a little deeper and try to find out what problem they’re trying to solve that faster horses is their solution. Once I know the problem then, and only then, can I create an innovative solution that will be the best fit for that client. That’s what the client is actually paying for.

The above quote always reminds me that my job as a designer is to find out what the client’s true problem is and provide the best solution, not just the solution they asked me to create.

Remember that your value as a designer is that you have the training and experience to pick the best solution for your client’s problem. What client is not going to come back to a designer that—when asked for a faster horse—innovates and creates a car!

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