Assume the Client Will See Everything

Things happen fast in product development. Whether you are working on a product that needs to ship in 6 weeks, or a new product family that will ship in a year, we get in a crunch and cut corners. In school, my professor told me to assume that the client will see everything you do. Spend time on layout, quality, and clarity, because you don’t always know where materials are going to end up once you hand them over.

I was reminded of this lesson by a post about Lenovo’s new business desktop line on Engadget. The official Lenovo Blog presents the new family language as an interview with the industrial designer responsible for the products. There is a disconnect, though, between explaining design differences internally and to customers externally.

M70e Callout Image

This was an image for internal executives, not customers. The comments at Engadget are flooded with people asking why they should care about a raised power button. Well, they shouldn’t, so sticking this image atop a spec list is a pretty strange and confusing move. Maybe marketing wants to make the announcement look “designery” by showing some behind-the-scenes documentation. I’m more convinced that this may be the case when you consider this crude image:

… which was obviously never a part of the design process, but is purely an image for marketing.

So this is really an issue of appropriateness on the side of marketing. This just wasn’t the correct way to tell the story. But it was still a reminder to me… to make sure that all of your process is as presentable as possible. You never know what assets may be re-purposed for what uses, whether appropriate or not.

Chris Owens