Last week I walked away from a project that on the surface seemed to have immense potential. It was hard, but necessary. Not just for our office, but for the client. It just wasn’t the right fit. I wish I knew it after the first meeting, or after the second and third meetings, when I had a nagging voice in my head telling me this wasn’t going to work out, but I ignored it. Not until 15 minutes into the 4th meeting did it finally become clear, and even then, before I closed my computer and packed up, I thought, “Can I afford to do this?” Then I realized I couldn’t afford NOT to do it.
Maybe I’ve been reading too many posts on Mule’s blog, but that mental check list of a good client should be on a constant loop during your initial meetings. Mutual Respect? An understanding of what we can provide? A realistic set of goals? Willingness to pay for your services? Add to that a nebulous gut feeling about how your personalities mesh and you’re about half way to analyzing the situation.
Too often we as designers are seen as a desperate lot. Willing to take any project that walks by and shows us some leg. Not only does that place us in a vulnerable place professionally, but it completely ignores the reality of client / designer relations – which is even more taxing for a private residence, where you are deep in the trenches collecting personal data on someone’s life.
It’s necessary to have the confidence that there are other projects out there to be had. Better projects.