“I don’t know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it.”

“I don’t know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it.”

For a creative professional, this sentence can be the most frustrating thing to hear. It provides zero guidance and almost insures that the next idea will get rejected. How on earth are we supposed to know what you want if you can’t describe it?

But it’s true, you, the client, is in search of an awesome experience and want to be impressed. You have some idea, but don’t have the tools, knowledge or skills to produce the stunning piece of artwork that is perfect for you and your company. But one thing is for sure, it’s your company, so it must be perfect and stunning, why would you settle for less on the one thing that’ll never change?

But where do we go from here? Should I show you idea after idea and visual after visual until magic happens? How will we know if we’re getting closer? The problem is that there is no right answer or formula for producing something truly unique. But there certainly are many wrong answers.

It’s sort of like hopping into a taxi and not knowing where you want to go. “I’d like to eat somewhere good” is a useless piece of information on its own. If I’m making a logo and give you a set of options, to me it’s the same as driving you from one restaurant to the next until you say yes. Even worse, I could stop at every intersection and ask you which way to turn – for me that’s like asking you to pick out a font, then a color, then a shape and so on.

Any cab driver worth his salt will turn around first and ask you questions about what you like to eat and how much you want to spend. Better yet, because he doesn’t know too much about seafood, he’ll look up what’s new before he starts driving.

That’s really all it boils down to – research. Whether it’s primary research and talking to the client and understanding their perspective, internalizing their operations or secondary research about the market, customer base and competition.

I may be providing you with a service, but we’re both experts. I’m an expert in design and you’re an expert in your business and market. Only if I’m able to understand your business and your market can I then use my skills to create something that’s perfect for it. Only then can I know what you want, and I can show it to you.

So, here’s the catch. Because we both want to produce the best solution possible, that means you have a job to do. You can ensure that an artist sees everything from your perspective by giving them as much information as possible about your vision as well as your products, services, customers and competitors. Only you have that expertise and only you can make me see everything from your point of view.


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