It can be all too easy to dismiss non-designers and instead focus on impressing our creative peers. However, no matter how geeky we get about design, it’s crucial to respect the end-user, and have proper conversations with the client, on their level. This episode looks at how to communicate effectively with non designers, to ultimately make you better at what you do.

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Meet Your Hosts

The Honest Designers Show started when our founder Tom found he was regularly chatting and sharing tips with top designers; Ian Barnard, Lisa Glanz and Dustin Lee. We soon organised a weekly call where we would help each other with areas we were struggling with and try to give each other actionable feedback. Soon we realised that the collective experience of the group was proving so valuable for each of us, that we thought ‘why not share these conversations with the world?’.

And so, The Honest Designers Show was born! This podcast is an insight into how to succeed in the creative industry, as well as giving you a totally transparent, under the hood look at some of the tougher, less glamorous hurdles to overcome! We also tend to get a little goofy along the way, so this is a chance to get to know each of us a little better :). We’ve loved recording this show for you, and we hope that you find value and enjoyment in listening to it.


Please find full show notes for this episode below:

[1.00] Getting in touch with non-designers can make us better designers, having more empathy for the end-user.
[2.40] Dustin talks about ‘vanity design’ – trying to impress other designers on Dribbbble
[3.15] You get so caught up in the process you forget you’re designing for an end purpose
[3.30] It’s like trying to impress the cool kids at school – you want the admiration of those designers you respect
[4.20] Is the customer always right? Often their insights are better than we imagine.
[4.50] Often the best design isn’t the most beautiful or attractive
[5.30] Putting ego to one side in your design projects
[6.30] Tom remembers about the flat design trend hitting, and feeling stuck in this trend, even if it wasn’t always suitable for the client
[7.30] A designer’s artistic license can often cloud over the original business’s ideology
[9.00] Ian was admittedly a ‘boring’ designer before he found his groove in calligraphy
[11.40] Trends are fleeting, but clients and the general public don’t care about that stuff
[12.00] You need people who are obsessive and extreme about a creative medium. This then filters down to the general public in a more diluted way.
[13.30] Big stores like Target are only just using stuff that has been a huge trend in the design community for a long time
[14.00] Just as designers become bored with trends, the general public also do eventually
[15.25] Try not to be so precious, and focus your attentions on the client and end-user instead
[18.00] Separating our inner designer selves, and our non-designer selves. We can’t expect our friends and loved ones to really understand how our designer mind works.
[19.00] The struggle of explaining to non-designers what we do
[21.30] Designers can get precious about the kind of work they take on. There’s nothing wrong with taking on straight-forward, foundational design jobs.
[22.50] Put yourself into the shoes of the end-user. Mundane, simple design jobs can be perfect for this.
[23.20] Dustin doesn’t care about coding, just like clients don’t really care about design
[24.15] Often there is a difference between what people think we do for a job, and what we actually do
[24.45] There are so many parallels, with the end user not being aware of what goes into creating theatre, photography, TV shows etc…
[26.00] The end-user doesn’t need to know how we do what we do. They just need to like the outcome.
[27.00] Should client’s get a custom design done, rather than a cheap template? Should we try to convince them otherwise?
[29.00] As designers, we should only do the work if it will genuinely benefit the client’s business
[31.00] Showing potential clients results is one of the easiest ways to justify your pricing to people who don’t ‘get’ design
[32.00] Matt, our Creative Director also saw an uptick in conversions for his agency site when he started to show client results and testimonials
[33.00] A look at the stereotypical designer
[35.30] Often the more mundane jobs can be elevated, and lead to more fulfilling work
[36.30] How do you balance your geekiness with a normal person’s lack of caring?
[38.30] How do you engage with a seemingly ‘boring’ project?
[39.30] Go to forums where your end-users hang out, and geek out over THEIR thing, to deliver a better design
[40.20] Pretend to be a customer for the end product or company, to get inside their head
[42.00] Going deep into audience research
[44.20] How to gather intelligence for clients on their customers
[46.00] Observing can teach you so much!
[47.00] Look at joining Facebook groups for those who geek out over the thing you’re designing around
[48.30] Think about this like entering a tribe. You would learn their culture and best-practices before entering
[51.00] Would you be willing to design something other designers thought was hideous, if it was perfect for the end user?

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