To say yes or no, a designers dilemma.

When you get trapped dealing with disagreeing clients.

I recently had a meeting with a a client who wanted re-branding of their retail store business. This wasn't the first meeting we were having. It was the second meeting. Just the second, you think.

Let me talk briefly about the first meeting.

In the first meeting, I met the businesses’ managing partner, who we shall call Nim and the head of marketing . Nim was pretty much as clueless about branding and marketing as they come, but they wanted something that wasn't very different from what the competitors were doing. Although I wasn't very glad of this, I had done my homework and presented him with a detailed document on the industry and the competitors.

We started by first asking about the business, their mission, the whys of the re-branding, the brand attributes, the target market and many other aspects. We then proceeded on brainstorming on the logos, colors and general direction for the brand, using the industry analysis document as a guide obviously. After what was around 3 hrs of deliberating, we arrived at some concepts which I later implemented and gave to the client. Nim was happy, and his partner was happy too. However…

After some time of the client going quiet, the partner calls. Let’s call her Lala. So Lala calls me and says she really liked what we had arrived on with Nim and the head of marketing, but she wasn't very happy with the business name they had chosen. She didn't like the colors the managing partner had said they had chosen. But she liked the logo so could I keep the look and feel but change the name and colors to several other options? She had unbelievably ridiculous ideas that I simply told her to talk to the other parties and call me when they agree. So after several back and forth exchanges of her lying that she has consulted the others and me calling the head of marketing and finding she didn't know of it, I asked for a meeting.

So we had the meeting. And there we were talking of developing a totally different product out of one persons whims. So I decided to keep quiet and let them come up with the ideas and simply advise when I see a mistake being made. So they got mad that I was not contributing, that I was just saying fine or no but not telling them what to do. It was annoying actually.

So I ask, what do you do when you find yourself dealing with such clients who seem to be having an internal leadership struggle and no common goal?

Say yes, no, or to hell?

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