So Your Client Has This Idea…

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…and you think it’s a bad idea

You think it’s a bad business move on their part. It’s going to cost them a lot of money and you don’t think it has a snowballs chance in hell of making any money back.

I mused this (totally hypothetical) situation on Twitter a few days ago, and quite a lot of people had something to say about it. I was actually quite surprised, most people said do the job. My initial feeling was definitely don’t do the job, but now I’m not so sure.

Thanks to everyone who responded. I kind of amalgamated the responses and feelings from the responses. Let’s take a look…

What the hell do we know?

It’s their business, it’s their customers. Sure, we think we know the web, but do we really know if this idea will succeed or fail? A bad attitude up front may kill a potential job before it ever has a chance.

It’s about integrity

Aren’t we doing clients a huge favor, and saving them lots of money, by saying no to a bad idea? Shouldn’t they appreciate that? How many big design studios do you know with a bunch of failure websites in their portfolio? Doing right by your client gives you integrity, and that might be why they come back time after time. Integrity can be one of our most valuable resources.

Are we just robots?

When we walk into a hair stylist with a picture of a crazy haircut, do they turn you away? Does a pop machine second guess your choice of Mountain Dew when you put your dollar in? We provide a service. We design websites.

We got billz to pay

Saying no to jobs is saying no to money. We have kids and mortgages and buckets of popcorn to buy at the iMAX. Is this any place to get philosophical? Do the job, take the money.

Can a great design agency make any idea succeed?

That’s the business we are in, isn’t it? Making ideas happen. Many design agencies, if asked what they do, would say that they help other businesses succeed. Isn’t it kind of like giving up or turning tail and running by saying no to a “difficult” job?

How deep will the failure be felt?

Is this company going “all in” on this venture? Make it or break it? This should surely factor in to our response. If you knew people could be potentially losing their jobs on this failure, that would be a lot harder situation than a little side project going under in a huge company.

Where is the blame going to land?

If this idea really does fail, what then? Does it flutter away in the wind? Does the company blame themselves? Or do the fingers come pointing at you?

Do we tell them?

Take it or don’t take it, do we let it be known how we feel about the idea?


Food for thought.