“Clients don’t have design problems and goals. They have business problems and goals. Always keep this in mind when you conduct project discovery.”

Andy Rutledge

Picture the design process as a voyage, a gripping expedition, teeming with potential but fraught with uncertainty. Just like setting sail across the vast seas, it’s not just about the port where we dock, but the exploration, the discoveries, the journey itself.

We, as designers, take on the role of seasoned navigators—guiding the ship through turbulent storms and calming seas alike. Our compass? It isn’t mere intuition or trend-chasing whims; it’s tethered to the unyielding anchor of our client’s business goals.

Think of our clients. They approach us, often drawn in by the inviting glow of our portfolio, our client list, or maybe even our design philosophy. But the reality? They aren’t just buying our style. It’s not our aesthetic they need—not at its core. They need solutions, clarity, understanding—the removal of the clutter that hides the real gem.

Good design is not the shiny veneer on an antique dresser or the sprinkles on a cupcake. It’s more like the lighthouse guiding ships to the shore, or a map that unfolds to reveal the path to a hidden treasure. It’s the response to a problem, a question that’s been asked, or sometimes, the ones unspoken. It carves out confusion, leaving in its wake, clarity and understanding.

When we remember this, we don’t just draft aesthetically pleasing solutions; we sketch the blueprint for success. Every curve, every line, every color holds the potential to not just embellish, but empower. The magic happens not when design just pleases the eye, but when it steers businesses toward their intended goals.

So let’s not just create designs—let’s be architects of achievement.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.