Why “fluffy rationales” are not a solution

It is an ongoing battle for creatives. Ideally a creative knows what looks good (that is what we are supposedly paid to do) but the issue occurs when a client wants a tree inside a whale, with three golden buddhas supporting the whale’s tail and at least twelve lotus flowers being blown out of the blowhole.

While the majority of people will recognise that this is an unreasonable and ugly request, to someone who works for a company that needs 9.5 different peoples’ approval for the logo and they all have to get to say their part, this is the designer’s only option.

So as a creative how do we politely say “That is a worse idea than Cheesy Vegemite”?
(Like that, that is exactly what we say. )

People naturally try to rationalise and fluff the absolute living daylights out of their designs.

An example of a completely real and not fake rationale is: (it’s fake)

“The obtuse circle reflects the circle of life that is the tree. The squiggly line is the whale; that is where whales thrive. The gold colour around the squiggly line is representative of the buddhas as we do not wish to offend any Buddhists and finally the flowers resemble the letters of your brand because your brand will bring life and purity to all who engage with it.”

By *Insert Vomit Emoji

We often see branding fluff as a great and effective solution. Why? For the dollar dollar bills of course! That is the main goal after all. We think it’s about time creatives cut the bullshit and be honest with clients who come to us with a concept that isn’t going to meet their goal.

Why is this important? Firstly, most of us actually want to create something that will have an impact for the people we work with. It is never a good feeling creating something you know will not help the client achieve their goals or for their brand to not live up to its full potential.

Secondly we hate creating garbage. Not only does it slowly eat away at our soul, it ruins the passion we have for being creative. If we continuously do jobs just for the money then we have ‘sold out’ and we fail to deliver on what we have promised, which is creativity.

Does it seem worth it if you have to work so hard to sell a shitty idea to meet a clients expectations, while at the same time trying to be creative and force a shitty idea to work? I would assume, if not hope, that your answer is ‘no’.

That is not what, as creatives, we are paid to do. Our aim as creatives is to get the a brief, get to know our clients and discern if their brief is exactly what they need.

The saying “The customer is always right” can be a load of bullshit. If you have ever worked in retail you know this to be true. A part of being creative is making sure we give the client the best answer to their brief and the best design for their situation.

As creatives our goal is to be creative, not to be a tool with skills who can make any old thing look pretty.