The Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson features a great anecdote about Paul Rand, the legendary designer who created logos for IBM, Enron, UPS,  and ABC, among others.  Jobs hired Rand to design the logo for the first company he started after leaving Apple, NeXt.  Rand, who was in his 70s at the time and had earned the right to work on his own terms, charged Jobs $100,000 to produce the logo.  Rand refused to show Jobs more than one logo option, or to make edits to the work after he produced it.  According to the book, this is what he told Jobs when he agreed to take on the project:

“I will solve your problem and you will pay me.  You can use what I produce, or not, but I will not do options, and either way you will pay me.”

Rand’s “you will take what I give you and you will like it” stance is a bit extreme, but I certainly relate to the sentiment.

When we do design work for clients, we put time in on the front end to understand the design needs for the project. The initial designs we produce represent our recommended solution.  These initial designs can certainly be made better by feedback from the client.  However, at a certain point edits can become destructive and compromise the integrity of the design.  At a certain point, the design starts getting worse instead of better.

While I don’t advocate Rand’s extreme approach, I think it is our job as a creative agency to make sure all of our work maintains a certain quality.  And sometimes the only way to do that is to push back on client edits.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.