Frustrations of Design: Change Requests

July 24, 2017

You've waited a week and the new design has finally hit your inbox. "It's great," you tell the designer, "just a few changes..."

Sigh.

Every designer deals with this, it's part of the job. But at what point do you decline to make the changes? Never. As a designer, you don't want to say, "No," to change requests. You want clients to say, "Yes!" to your designs.

There are two sides to this story--client and designer.

The designer wants to create something useful and aesthetic. The client wants to get something useful and aesthetic.

This problem of change requests arises when either the designer isn't doing their job or the client is trying to be the designer.

The Designer

It's the job of the designer to be able to justify their choices when questioned.

Design isn't all about aesthetics. You're heading into the realm of Art with that idea. Design is meant to communicate something effectively, or cause the audience to do something. Designers won't choose something just because they "like it."

The color of that button, or text was chosen for a purpose. That color either draws the eye, or maybe its part of a carefully chosen palette. You have to be able to explain the choice.

As a designer, if you're getting a lot of change requests, one question that you should ask yourself is, "Do I truly understand the purpose of this design?"

The Client

It's the job of the client to be sure the designer understands the purpose of the design. If you're making endless change requests, take a step back and evaluate the requests you're making:

Are the changes purely aesthetic or are they going to further the purpose of the design?

If they're purely aesthetic, work with your designer on it. Ask them why they chose the offending element of the design. Ask them if they had any other options in mind (designers often have a few versions of something, even if only in their mind).

If you think the changes are meant to make the design more useful, you're going to get a better product if you discuss the changes with the designer rather than ordering them made. The conversation could be short, or it could produce changes that are better than your original idea. Let the designer design.