Some clients ask me for a boat, when actually what they need is to cross a river.
Ronald Shakespear, FSEGD
Diseño Shakespear, Buenos Aires
Working in design for half a century, I have always found it difficult to tell my clients how the project will look, so my sketches give them a general idea. I usually sketch on pieces of scrap paper or whatever is at hand. Many of my preliminary drawings later prove to be true.
Our professional value as designers is not only about good ideas and mastery of form, but also about understanding complexities. In cases like wayfinding systems, of our many daily obsessions—vandalism, erosion, perception of distances, placement, type, color or technology, to only mention a few—our relationship with the client has always remained our main concern. Building a reasonable relationship with a client and the people involved is also an act of design, a part of the project that surely defines its future.
Some clients ask me for a boat, when actually what they need is to cross a river. Defining an audience involves deciphering their codes. As Gilbert Chesterton said, it isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It’s that they can’t see the problem. Sketching is a way to communicate ideas and decipher the codes.”
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