Ok so I have a new job delima here.....

I just got my first design position. My employer wants me to “design” an aftermarket bumper for a particular vehicle. At first I threw myself into the project completely excited about it, coming up with a few different concepts. Today I get a pic of what he was thinking…and it looks a lot (almost exactly) like whats currently on the market. Do I point this out and offer my suggestions, or just make it work and do what he wants? Maybe it’s a dumb question but I guess I’m asking if i should voice my opinion about it or just go along with it. I really don’t want to do the wrong thing, so I guess I was just wondering what someone else would do in my shoes.

I would figure out a way to politely discuss the amount of differentiation from the existing part you should be striving for in doing so you can voice your opinion and you have the opportunity to learn atleast one of a few things.

  1. If your boss is receptive to this type of dialogue
  2. Potential subtleties and nuances of his thoughts that you may have missed if you have not spent a ton of time in working in that market
  3. What level of differentiation you should be striving for in this particular exploration :smiley:

Exactly my thoughts. I had a boss that wanted very candid responses to speed up the decision making process. Others can be quite sensitive and you need to really construct your dialogue carefully. It would be a good example to discover your working relationship and ways to approach design discussions.

I did have a similar experience when I moved into my current position as I thought everything looked alike. Whilst this is true to a certain extent, the longer I have spent in this position (4 months now) the more and more I can see the differences in design. Good LUCK!


Congrats on the job!

I agree with IDiot. Also, sketches are cheap. Do a quick sketch of what he is asking for, then render up several options of what your talking about and clearly show how you want to make it better, move the market, and connect with the consumer.

A lot of times my boss(es) will send me pictures of something they like and say do it like this. But in reality they don’t want it just like it is, but as a non-designer that is their only way of showing you inspiration. I agree with the above statements, draw something similar and then start making incremental changes from there. They key to dealing with non designer bosses is knowing they don’t know what they like until they see it.

Oooo… that’s so frustrating! I deal with that on a weekly basis. But, with enough experience, you start to see what they like and you can slowly turn them to liking what you like.

This sort of thing happens A LOT.

Your best bet is to do what the others have outlined above. Think of it like this though, not every project your going to do will be earth-shaking design, and perhaps your boss just wants to see if you’re competent and follow directions well. Designers have big egos and sometimes that’s good sometimes that’s bad. If you showed him some concepts and he handed you an image of exactly what he wants, he probably ran it by a sales guy/marketing guy/etc. and knows ‘this is an item we can sell’ and maybe you weren’t designing the right item for the customer.

The best thing you can do is compromise: give him what he wants, then do a variation say 5-10% different, and then try a third where you’re doing your own thing. I think that would show initiative, creativity and a willingness to follow directions.

Openly telling someone they’re wrong is a move you save when you’ve got about 20 years of experience over them, or a successful business, or are if you’re independently wealthy.

If there was a LIKE button I would press it. :slight_smile:

I’ll settle for a smiley face. :mrgreen:

Ok thanks for the tips everyone. I would never just straight out tell a potential employer or client they are wrong of course. I guess I feel like I have been told “You can make this ANY color you want.” Then added three hours later “As long as it’s black.” haha. Oh well thanks for the advice as always.

Unless you can do so tactfully. As one of the very first design interns at a Fortune 500 company, I had to explain to many higher ups why they were wrong. You basically have to fashion your response in the manner of “I hear what you’re saying, but if you want to make even more money, this would be a better route and here is why”. Most of the time they took my suggestions and ran with it. I was even hired on as freelance after the internship was over.

The key is you have to make sure you sell it as a way for them to make more money, not just put a prettier object on the shelves.

Good responses here, but I have this horrible tugging feeling inside of me that wants me to say something even though I know everyone’s gonna hate me for it.

It’s dilemma, not delima.

Well that is a very valid point Tangerine haha. What the hell is a Delima anyway?

It’s when you take out the essence of what makes a female lime a female lime. :laughing: