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Small by Choice, Whether Clients Like It or Not

(Originally posted at PSST!)

We really enjoy the work that we’re doing and we don’t want to cheapen it. Consciously or unconsciously — probably both — we’re trying to create a manageable way to earn a living and still maintain our sanity. We value time as much, if not more so, than money.

This article in the NY Times Business section this morning really hit home for me. Is there a way to do design and animation in a small and sustainable way? I’d really like that.

Edit:
Frank Chimero was answering questions this morning on his blog, so I posed this to him as well. He’s a fantastic illustrator, an instructor and seems to have his head on straight.

Here’s what he wrote back:

growdesignwork asked: Hi Frank:
I was wondering if you’ve read this, today?
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/14/business/smallbusiness/14sbiz.html?ref=business

Is there a way to stay small, sustainable and connected as a designer? Not by giving the customer what they ask for, but by what they actually need?

Hope that makes sense …

I did read that this morning. And I think it’s great. I agree with the higher ideals they put forth, but being stubborn about principles is a lot easier over a $10 pizza than a $10,000 design project. Them’s the facts.

That’s incentive for design studios to stay small. The less overhead we have, the more picky we can be about the work we decide to do. We can say no more often, and set proper expectations for what our clients can expect of us. Saying no seems novel these days, but I think it’s foolish to enter every new relationship without asking some questions to make sure there’s the potential of satisfactory results. I think Tibor Kalman had a point in saying we should try to work for clients that are smarter than we are.

These days, I don’t think it’s how quickly you go, but maybe more about how nimbly you can maneuver your ship.

Tags: business, sanity, Small is beautiful

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