I ❤ Michael Bierut

I love this talk. It’s, seriously, one of those things that made the light go off in my head the first time I watched it, and here’s why:

  1. “Educating” Clients is patronizing bullshit – Clients don’t need to know what font it is, or what Pantone color, or what the fuck Kerning is. They hire you to know that stuff. All they care about is whether or not they accomplish whatever they set out to accomplish. Most of the time I hear people talking about “educating” clients, it’s because the client didn’t make the decision they wanted them to on some thing that’s fairly arbitrary. Here’s the thing: Clients ALWAYS make the decision that is in their best interest. They’re selfish like that, thankfully. If they don’t like the same font as you, it’s because they don’t perceive a strategic value. In order for them to perceive a strategic value, there must BE a strategic value. You LOVING whatever gorgeous H&FJ font you just spent all your pocket money on doesn’t count. It has value to you, but not them.
  2. They hire you to do things they’re bad at – Good clients know that they didn’t hire you to make the thing, or to conduct the software, but because you know about things like color theory, typesetting, and information architecture.
  3. The best clients don’t give a shit about design – Mr. Bierut says in his talk that there is a continuum between clients who love design and clients who don’t give a shit about design, but know that it’s valuable. He says that he tends to find that people on the ‘not giving a shit’ side of the spectrum tend to make better clients, because they’re less likely to mistake their own personal taste for what a good solution looks like. There are great clients who love design, and trust you to push them and make them uncomfortable, but they’re rare.
Anyway. There’s lots more great stuff in the talk. If you see something that you think is noteworthy, leave it in the comments.