I was having a discussion with a friend yesterday and it really got me thinking. How do you define the line between client and friend and, on the flip side, designer and friend? How do you manage the expectations you have from a client or designer when you have a personal relationship with that person?
If a client isn't happy with my work (unlikely scenario, I know), it isn't challenging to move on from that. If I somehow disappoint this stranger, then maybe they don't work with me again. If I disappoint my friend, though... well... then what happens? Working with a buddy has it's pros and cons, but it can be challenging to overcome the cons!
I'm sure many people have horror stories about this sort of thing and I've heard a lot of advice about avoiding this exact scenario. I have had awesome experiences with this in the past because the stakes were never high for me personally. That's something that's changed for me recently. I want to excel as a designer and artist... but I also need to pay bills. If I don't hold friends to the same standard as clients, where does my dinner come from. Again, this is a two sided coin (like most coins that I have seen, actually). What if your friend is outside your price range but desperately wants to use their talent to bring your project to life?
That's the very reason I was having a discussion yesterday. Adventure IN has it's hiccups but is going pretty smoothly, but what about future projects? The best thing you can do is exactly what my friend and I did yesterday... put it all out on the table. Start the dialogue. Times are changing but a lot of people still hesitate to talk about money, expectations and feelings. I like to say "Knowledge is Power" and "Information is Currency". If you aren't talking things out with your clients and friends, then you are probably sacrificing both currency and power!
The problems you are afraid you will cause by bringing something up seem to pale in comparison to the problems caused by not bringing it up. Talk stuff out and address all your concerns! And if you feel like you can't discuss these issues with your friend, maybe you should avoid working with this friend.
Article contributed by yours truly, Noble Valerian. Feel free to leave comments or share your stories in the comments below.
Digital Arts Instructor