Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) was considered to be one of the greatest artists of his day, and has been considered so ever since. Some of his most famous works, the Pieta and David, were made when he was only in his twenties. His crowning achievement, though, may be the work he did not want to do.
In 1508, Michelangelo began painting the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel at the request of Pope Julius II. Michelangelo maintained that he was not a painter. All he wanted to do was sculpt statues. But the Pope was pretty persistent, and eventually Michelangelo agreed to paint the ceiling “for God.” It took him four years of physically exhausting work to complete it.
One thing that Michelangelo insisted on was that he would only do the ceiling if the Pope let him paint it in his own way. In fact, the Pope had hired five other skilled painters to come be Michelangelo’s helpers. Whenever they came to the chapel, though, they found the doors barred and locked. Eventually they gave up and went back home.
This is a common characteristic of many great artists. You can tell them what you want done, but don’t tell them how to do it. And they don’t want any help with their art.
Great designers operate the same way, because they are artists. Great designers are emotionally invested in their work, because good design IS art. Art with a purpose, yes, but art nonetheless. If you want to control the process of your web design, don’t hire an artist. Hire a run-of-the-mill graphic designer. There’s a place for that. Sometimes you just want someone who can execute your vision. But if you want something great, if you want a design that really makes a statement, then hire a great artist and then turn him or her loose.
Also, be sure to give really good directions up front. If your web design must incorporate photos of your store and management team, that is not something to stick in after the fact. Likewise, the time to rewrite the copy is before the design is started, not after it’s finished. If you commissioned a painting of a landscape, and then after it was done asked for a lake painted in the middle, you would lose the inspiration and the creativity. In the same way, a web design as a work of art needs clear parameters and then inspiration with freedom of movement. Otherwise, it becomes production work and not great art.
To your success!
Steve Johnsen is a marketing strategist, a business coach, and the Founder of Cloud Mountain Marketing. He is also the author of the Amazon #1 best-seller, 5 Easy Steps to Make Your Website Your #1 Employee.