We are not tools

February 27, 2014 Written By Marco Monteiro

Yes, this will be a rant. Yes, this will have a lot of cursing involved. If you have any problems with that you should remove yourself out of the premisses. Moving on.

A lot of people have this preposterous idea that designers, developers, web-designers and everyone working in, or for the creative business, are just tools. They exist to make all demands no matter what they are. well, I’m a web-developer. Sometimes I do some web-design work too. But I don’t even begin to imagine the crappy feeling my fellow designers must feel when they have to give up to the clients demands.

Let me tell you a little story, and you tell me what you think about it.

Patient: Doctor, I have a pain in my back. I don’t know what it is. Can you take a look?

Doctor: Sure I can. Let me see. Well, this looks like a real problem. Have you been lifting a lot of weights at work?

Patient: Yes, I’m a construction worker.

Doctor: Well, you have to stop doing what your doing for a while. You should rest or you’ll have some real problems in the future. Also I’m going to prescribe you this medicine and you’ll be better in no time.

Patient: Thank you so much. I’ll do just that.

This looks like a normal conversation between a doctor and a patient right? You’re right. This is exactly what normally happens. Now let’s imagine for a moment that the doctor was a designer and the conversation between them would be much different.

Patient: Doctor, I have a pain in my back. I know what it is and I know exactly what medicine I need.

Doctor: But, you don’t need that medicine, you need this one instead.

Patient: No! It’s my back. It’s my money and I want that medicine.

Doctor: Are you sure? Because your back will get a lot worst with that.

Patient: Yes, I’m sure.

Doctor: Ok then. Don’t came here complaining afterwards.

Can you spot any differences? I’m sure you can. The patient don’t even care about the doctor opinion on his back pain. He thinks he knows what he has and what medicine he needs. But you know what? The doctor would never give up to the patient demands. He would tell me to take the correct medicine and that would be final. After all, he studied for years and years for that.

See what I’m aiming here? Why don’t we as designers, developers and web-designers do the same with our clients? Well because we are a bunch of fucking pussies. We think: “if I don’t do it, someone will and I’m going to lose the client”.

But my experience (and I don’t have more than a few years) the client will realise that they were wrong. Sure you’ll lose a lot of clients on the way. But your portfolio will be better. Will attract more clients that will understand your vision. And sometimes, some of those clients that you lost will come back, because they realised how fucked up their decision was, and how it affected their product or company.

Now you see the real problem. What if a doctor were to give the wrong medicine to the patient just because he asked for it? Who should we blame? The patient, because he was being a cunt and just wanted to feel superior towards the doctor? Or the doctor, because the didn’t do his job?

The law will blame the doctor. I blame the doctor. What about you?

Next time you feel that you’re being forced to do a bad job, just think about that. It’s our job as professionals to teach our clients and most of all, earn some fucking respect.

ps: This article was directed to designers, developers and web-designers. But if you’re none of them you may be a potential client. If you are. Please, start trusting the people you hire to help you. You are hiring them for a reason. The reason is that you’re not qualified to do the job. So let us do our fucking job.


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"We are not tools" via @marcogmonteiro