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Quality vs Quantity


When I first watched the documentary Helvetica, I had no idea what the world famous designer, Massimo Vignelli, was talking about. Well, I did – but not the part at the end, where he said “Never work with bad clients. Only hire the clients you know you will put your energy in. Don’t feel the need to work with everyone that asks.”

To me that meant “give up your opportunities, lose your clients and give them to other designers”. But what I realized, is that Massimo was on to something. In fact, when I broke the idea down, it made a lot of sense. I’m sure that overall, if we as designers accepted every client that requested our work (assuming our work has merit to achieve that kind of luxury) then we would probably make much more money, because we would be working with tons of clients. But there would be plenty of side-affects that would be really bad for our careers overall. Each project we accept would get less attention, and less time of its own to grow and blossom into something extraordinary. The quality of the work in general would suffer, because we would try to accomplish so many things at once. The lower quality product would make clients less satisfied. In the end, I, as a designer, would not get as much work.

Something that appears to be great for the short-term gains can have lasting long-term problems tied to it.

Because Massimo Vignelli says “no” to many potential clients, it lets him place more value on his time and overall, builds a stronger foundation for his brand and business. The clients that do get to spend that time with him will cherish it, because they will know the final product will be quality. In turn, this drives up the value of the designer, and makes him more desirable. It’s such a simple concept, but it’s something I’m sure some designer students do right out of school; getting in over their heads with work, and not knowing how or when to say “no” to people. Maybe in the long run, it pays to say no when you need to say no.

One Comment

  1. ilesiuk wrote:

    So true! I’ve always lived by this rule. That quality is more important than quantity. Just because someone designs a whole bunch if different things doesn’t mean they are all good. It’s the person who slows it down and invests his, time, thoughts, and interests into his work that makes the quality stuff!

    And I like how this rule applies to basically anything. Why would I want 5 bottles of a crappy drink instead of 1 bottle of an amazing drink? Weird example, I know, but the point still stands!

    Wednesday, October 12, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink