(Providence, Rhode Island) When coming back to the office (or setting up your laptop for the first time) after a weekend, it can be hard to get back into the swing of corporate life. Often our Monday’s begin with a mixture of optimism and dread, excited for a new week, but anxious about the possibilities it has in store. For one designer, Maria Steck, the case of the Monday’s hit hard when she went to rename a file she was working on for a client and added the moniker ‘FINAL’ to the document, only to then proceed to do another 4 hours of work on the document after hearing back from the client.
“I should have known better,” Maria told us at 7:30 as she continued to make adjustments. “Clients are never satisfied, I should have known that. Instead, my hubris got the best of me when I thought I was done. I won’t make that mistake again.”
If you aren’t a designer or have never worked on a creative project for a client without design experience, you may not understand why this is such a pain. Allow Maria to elaborate.
“It didn’t hit me until my first internship sophomore year,” she recalled, cleaning up her desk for the evening, finally heading home. “Up until that point, I’d only really worked on my own creative projects, which while difficult, were at least still my own. But then I started working for clients who have no design experience and understood why you never set anything in stone.”
At this point Maria had cleared most of the things off of her desk into a cardboard box, including her family photos and paper weights. We continued our conversation as she took the elevator to the parking lot.
“For example, I once had a client who told me to make my design ‘more elegant.’ Do you know what that means? I sure didn’t. Trust me, you don’t know true frustration until you show a client something you worked on for half the week only for them to say ‘Oh this isn’t what I meant,’ even though you built exactly what they asked for.”
“It was then that I realized how to approach these clients,” Maria told us, loading the box of stuff into the trunk of her car. “You give them something truly awful to begin with so they can tell you how to improve it and when you do, they think you are a genius. I used to start with something really nice and we would end up dumbing it down, so I just flipped the process. Again, I should have known better.”
With that, Maria got in her car, merged onto the highway, and never looked back.