We live in a world of instant gratification, so is it any wonder that clients expect their projects to start yesterday and ship tomorrow, irrespective of how long the work actually takes? Clients usually don’t know—and often don’t care—about the intricacies of our business, and why should they? Instead they rely on our feedback to assess their schedules.
Unfortunately we’re in a market economy so there’s always somebody willing to work harder, work faster or cut more corners. It’s hard to sell a considered solution when everybody is saying it’ll take half that time, so projects inevitably skew faster than we’re comfortable with. It’s not a race to the bottom but it’s definitely against the clock.
I remember reading about an artist who would get paid for commissions but only do the work when the mood struck. The paintings took as long as they needed and some patrons waited years. Sometimes I daydream about this level of freedom, but in truth it would be a curse.
Good design takes time—more time than most of us are allowed. In fact I’m often shocked in interviews by how little time people are given to do their work. Sometimes as little as 5 or 10% of what we’d allocate. This allows you to keep costs down and win the work, but at what price?
Sadly we see too many potentially amazing designers stuck by the glass ceiling of time. So they settle on the first solution that looks viable and are never allowed to sweat the details. They are forced to rely on 1% of inspiration without the benefit of perspiration.
So this is the dirty little secret in our industry. The best designers and developers rarely have more talent. They simply have more time.
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