April 29, 2016

Pinterest Perks and Perils for Designers

pinterest perks and perils for designers

I will be the first to tell you that I looooove pinterest. This post isn’t meant to be an assault on pinterest, but rather just a few considerations for use as a designer and/or clients of a graphic designer.

I use pinterest for work a lot. Every time I start a new logo/branding project, I create a secret pinterest board and invite my client to pin with me. We share inspiration, color palettes, patterns, existing logos they love, etc. It’s an efficient way to interact with clients spread out across the globe in a way that makes me understand what they want to accomplish aesthetically. It works really well, BUT…

Pinterest creates unrealistic expectations. I don’t think this is a problem exclusive to the graphic design community. It’s a problem for moms trying to plan the perfect birthday party, families who hire an interior designer to spruce up their space, etc. etc. 10 years ago in design school, I would buy Lurzer’s Archives or Print magazine and drool over the high quality creativity and design featured on each page. I aspired to be that great, knowing that sleepless nights and  and an army of design professionals were likely behind that work. Your clients just can’t appreciate how much time, thought, effort and research goes into such a project, yet pinterest shows them that caliber of design with the click of a button.

Expensive print techniques are the norm on pinterest. I find that my clients usually aren’t aware of the cost of print production techniques. It’s not that I expect them to be well versed in the differences between embossing and letterpress, but people are often disappointed when you explain to them that they can’t get the same effect from their office inkjet printer.

Styling and exquisite photography play a big role in what clients see on pinterest. The carefully arranged props and photo editing might be playing just as big of a roll in your client’s adoration as the design itself. If they’ve spent months admiring business cards on pinterest before they hire a designer, It’s hard to make a design comp emailed via pdf seem nearly as exciting. It’s difficult for non-creative people to imagine the final result when they’re staring at a flat document on their computer screen.

My main advice is to be sure that when a client send you inspiration found on pinterest, you’re clear on what it is they like about the images. Communicate with them early and often about their expectations for the project, and how much they intend to budget for printing. If there’s a technique that you’d really love for them to see in action, mock it up! Pixeden has some great cheap or free mock up tools for you to use. Pinterest can be a very valuable tool for understanding your client’s vision, but make sure your client understand what’s realistic for their project and what isn’t. Have a great weekend!

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