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Guest rodanx86

How To Handle Differences In Opinions In A Design

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Guest rodanx86

First, a disclaimer: I am not currently having a difference in opinions with any of the other employees at my design firm.

 

Having said that, I was wondering what tactics and strategies you all use when the boss or teacher looks at your work and doesn't like the way it looks (Or when your boss or teacher shows you and example that looks quite ugly in your opinion)?

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First, if someone doesn't like my work, I would like to hear the arguments immediately and to judge whether the arguments are stronger or weaker than my design arguments.

Secondy, I would like to hear the opinion of another colleague or teacher to get more insights.

At the end I should find out whether I should change the design or try harder to convince that, with the opinions of others, it is the best design.

Hmmm..I can't remember when I had such tough situation.

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Guest rodanx86

Its interesting because, when it comes to a boss, he is essentially paying you to make good designs for the company. Sometimes, your style direction won't coincide with the direction of the company.

 

If thats the case, then I sometimes just say to myself that since the boss signs my checks, he gets to make the decisions.

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Ok, seems like we are talking only about aesthetics in this topic.

If the styling direction of a company is very well documented, then I guess it shouldn't be a big deal to judge a design.

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Guest GYOKO

good topic...

i have always been in situations like that..mostly with teachers. in cases with collegues. I do it like this..

if I respect the persons background and I think that he has a solid knowledge, I accept the comments. If I am explained in a logical and rational matter, ofcourse, I will change my designs... I am not stubborn. If somebody proves me wrong, I'll try to learn from it.

 

if I dont think that the person who makes the comments has the sufficient background or knowledge, than I am not really interested in hearing their opinions, as arogant as may sound.

 

If my client is making the comments, than I go based on that, how much the client is paying. The less is paying, the less he has the authority to make comments. After all, if he asked for my expertise, then he needs to respect it.

If the client is persistant with his comments, and pays good... then he will get exactly what he asked for.... even if he dont likes what he gets. But no refunds. it was his choice.

 

If I am working regularly in a company, and if my boss makes the comments, I will obey them.. after all , thats where my money comes from. If I think that I have better ideas, I will try to present them as good as I can, but I leave the boss to make the final decision. Then again, thats why he is the boss. Somebody needs to take the blame for the wrong decissions, or the glory for the good ones.

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Guest rodanx86

Good points, gyoko.

 

How would you cope with a boss's pet project, that, in your view will almost surely be an abismal failure, if made like he wants. And he is persistant. So, your name will be going on a design that you in no way respect.

 

I am thinking Pontiac Aztec. How did the junior designers go along with all the changes? How did they keep there mouths shut when they new bad decisions were being made up the ranks?

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Guest GYOKO

i have been in situations when I have been delibiratry disobeying my boss when I was thinking that he is wrong. By doing that, I was risking my job, but I figured out that if the project is done the way he said so, it will be disaster, and I will lose my job anyway. So what the hell... Fortunatly for me, I got it right my way that time. The boss was angry that I didn't listen to him, but after he cooled down, he figured that I did the right thing.

 

I have put my self in many situations like that. Because of strongly stating my opinion I have barely graduated. But if I know that I am right, I go for it.

When it comes to work, and not study..that goes to how dependant I am on that job. So far, I could have afford it to quit if I am not satisfied. I only fear the moment when I would be depending on my job so much, so I cant afford to not obey. Unfortunatly for me, those moments are aproaching more and more, as time passes... So far the Academy is paying for my expenses, but my contract is ending and I need to get a real job..

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Guest helman

Difference in opinion is wonderful...

 

Sometimes it's frustrasting that other people don't see that obviously the designer is right! (please note sarcasm)

 

Ultimately, designers are not always right. It is the very nature of this job that results in many possible outcomes and it is all these possibilities that lead to a solution. I think that it is a positive sign when others disagree with my work because it means that we are getting closer to a solution. Before everyone can agree, we first have to disagree!

 

One skill that sets designers apart from others is our ability to collect information, filter it and propose an outcome. One of the best inputs for this is other peoples opinions. Unlike Gyoko, I think it is important to respect everyones opinion. The value of an opinion is not based on whether or not the person has studied at 5 different schools. An opinion is just a personal insight on a particular issue.

 

The value of an opinion is that it is often not tarnished by design knowledge and so can remain completely separate from it.

 

A critique is different. In my workplace, I try to make it very clear when I am providing a critique of a project and when I am providing an opinion. A critique will often be business related and will always be based on my design knowledge - does this product fit in with existing lines? Will it sell? Does it achieve the desired results?

 

In contrast, when I provide my opinion I might comment on whether or not I like the product? This is personal.

 

At the end of the day It is important to hear others. You will never learn from yourself.

 

An answer to bosses pet projects - BAD IDEA - do not get involved! At the end of the day it is up to the individual to politely disagree and step aside if need be.

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Guest rodanx86

Helman, its tough when the bosses essentually mandates that you work on his or her pet project. Not being involved is sometimes not an option at all.

 

I think it is important to note something I learned in school. Often times, the teacher will present a certain design challenge that has little appeal. Though I didn't particularly think that the assigment was cool, or that it might be an abismal failure, I still was motivated to work because I love the design process more than I love the end result.

 

I guess, in some situations, where one may have a difference of opinion, one could still get the satisfaction and sense of accomplishment from going through the design process, even if the end result will inevitably be a dud.

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Guest helman

Yeah I agree, the process is really important. And, yes, even if it will be a dud you can say that you tried your hardest.

 

You could look at this whole issue another way...

 

As designers we are employed on the basis that we have alot of opinions about alot of things. You could argue that designers are actually very good at dealing with opinions. I guess this comes from the fact that the work we do ultimately revolves around whther or not people like the thing - this comes down to each and every individuals opinion.

 

With regards to your bosses pet project...

 

I have been in a similar situation and I actually questioned my boss like this:

"Boss, do you think it is a designers responsibility to inform a customer when their idea may not be a good one or in a situation where the client is clearly misguided in terms of the design possibilities?"

 

My boss didn't understand my question - I subsequently decided that that job was not for me.

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Guest abhishek

process..this is what we say..and trust me listening those stupid sounding arguments or comments helps u most of the time. like i have this stupid friend of mine. in product design only..he loves pulling my leg pointing out the stuff i generally have missed out or left. though i am the one who has done the research n all so i know where my concept stands..but taking those comments from someone else point of view(who knows the basic of product design) helps a lot most of the time.

i know..no one likes to listen those hard words about his concept..but take the feedback..be it negative or posetive..its going to help u only..

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Guest GYOKO

today I just had a talk on the similiar topic with an art historian... we were discussing the art critics. There is wide understanding among the general public, that are critics are unsuccessful artists, which is absolutly not true. They are just people who found a different interest in arts, than the artists. And, they are much more competent to give opinions than the artists themselves.

What I was trying to say, is that not anyone is competent enough to give an opinion.

 

For an example, I will not ask a car mehanic what he thinks about picasso!

..but I will ask him whats wrong with my car.

 

so, helman, when I was saying that I am not interested in the opinions of just anyone, I was thinking of that.

When I was designing bar interiors, I had bartenders around me, so they can test and give opinions about the ergonomics and the functionality of the bar's serving area. I didn't even asked other designers for opinions. Because these guys should be in this case more competent.

ultimatly, you need to question your target group. designers dont work for themselves, they work for others. artists work for themselves..

 

differences in opinions is a good thing, but up to certain extent. only if it comes from the right people. if you are not able to distinguish who is the right person to ask for your project, than you are doing something wrong.

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Guest rodanx86

Sometimes, having someone like a boss or teacher to make a bad decision regarding a design could actually be a good thing. I know of indecisive designers that are caught in a state of "paralisis of analysis" where they are so concerned with all there constraints that they cease to move forward.

 

In situations like this, even a wrong opinion is sometimes the only way to move forward to a point were the right decision can be made. Take the following example from a friends childhood:

 

He and his dad were on the back roads in the middle of nowhere. They came to a fork in the middle of the road and they could not remember for certain which way to turn. After consentrating on their route for a while, they decided to turn right. One mile down the road, the came to a dead end. So, they turned around and went to the fork and went the other way.

 

Sometimes, decisions in designs might lead to a dead end. But, that is better than either not making the decision or second guessing your decision several miles down the road thinking that maybe you should have went the other way.

 

Sorry to be so philosophical! But maybe this is an outlook that can be adopted

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Guest newkillerstar

So I agree in part. Your employer does hire you for your skills and design sense / opinion. Tho I don't agree that you should simply bow to him in a difference of opinion simply because he signs your check. And "arguement" is rather negetive. Always have a story. have a reason for something being a certain way. Also always have an openmind.

 

That being said, I've dealt with this a lot, with mixed results. If you feel strongly about your position then be prepared to defend it, but be open enough to see that another way may be just as good or better. Many times if both parties feel strongly, then both will get presented to the client.

 

True the client really pays the bill at the end of the day, but they have hired you, once again, for your design opinion. I'm not saying to be some primma donna here, but sometimes you need to save the customer from themselves. If they knew design then you would not be needed. It becomes your job to show them better solutions and be able to explain why they are better.

 

With co-workers, you really do have to weight their opinion based on the person. Do they have a good design sense? Are they familiar with the project / client / design goals? Are they completely inept and exist in some BS position where they think they are somehow important? (never happens by the way). Everyone is entitled to an opinon, but saying things like "I like that one" or "well, we decided to do this" with no real reason or story behind it is absolutely worthless and only muddies the water.

 

look at it as more of a debate. Be open to criticism. And sometimes you do get stuck in the role of an implementor, and that sucks. Know your role, and if it sucks then get out of it and tell your boss to take this job and shove it.

 

Oh and rodanx86 -

Cheers on the "paralisis of analysis" annalogy. This is very true as well.

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As a source of idea, industrial design is about exploring, which involve making both mistakes and innovations. Lets stereotype managers as guards and designers as explorers. Guards just basicly just sit around and follows rules and plans in running a place. While on the other side designers are explorers who specialise in searching beyond the horizon, looking for things that is not already exist, sometimes they find it, sometimes they dont, but it is a risk to take to find something really-cool and creative that has never been experience before. This is essential as the more experience and knowledge a company has the more powerful the company is.

 

 

So yeah, mistakes is all good but it is something new.

Hmm went abit off-track. =/

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