I’m very grateful for the lessons I’ve learned throughout my design career. As a young professional, I was frequently reminded that client satisfaction is always more important than upgrading my portfolio. At the start of any project, you’re anxious to execute your desires and test new design trends, but I’ve learned it’s best to temper that creative eagerness with an understanding that you will have to adapt. There will be changes your plan; you can bet on it. In the end, learning to see the visions of others expands your own creative ability into new areas.
In the case Zaza’s Modern Italian Cuisine, that is exactly what happened. This particular project proved to be a challenging on an entirely different level. My first designs were a complete and total miss. They looked great, but it just wasn’t the client’s vision. I wasn’t asked to make adjustment or replacements. I was asked to start over completely with an entirely different design. Thankfully, experience had taught me to “roll with the punches” rather than insist that my design was best, and that’s exactly what I did.
My initial creation was more of my typical style—modern and minimalistic with clean lines and beautiful imagery of Italian dishes. Admittedly, it was the safest direction and what you might find at most dining establishments. After a couple of rounds of changes, the final product ended up being quite different. Although it remained minimalistic, it became more rustic and free of obvious, underlying design ‘bones’. It didn’t even include pictures of the food. In the end, I had to acknowledge that there was something about it that I really liked. It felt organic, which would ultimately help to convey the fresh and natural quality of the restaurant’s food. The end result looked nothing like the original, but the client loved it, and I was genuinely proud of it.