Actively Listening to Clients
Artist and Designer of L+R
by Elizabeth Lavis|
14 Jul 2023
Featured in Graphic Design USA’s list of “Responsible Designers to Watch,” Jenny Rudziensky of Brooklyn’s Levin+Riegner is a dynamic force. Although she’s making strides in the Big Apple, Rudziensky credits her design inspiration to her roots. “I’m from the Detroit area in Michigan, where I’ve lived most of my life and attended university,” she says. “Detroit is a very exciting place to be an artist since there’s been a pretty strong underground art scene in the city for a while now. The designers I’ve met in Michigan tend to be extremely lighthearted and collaborative, creating a really welcoming creative environment.”
As the ‘artsy kid’ growing up, Rudziensky always felt becoming a designer was a natural evolution of her childhood curiosity and continues to be wholly inspired by the world around her. She also doesn’t limit her artistic expression to the graphic design world. “I’ve always loved hobbies like painting, antiquing, and organizing,” she says. Additionally, Rudziensky works with illustration, ceramics, and lettering.
Warner Bros. Advanced Narratives Website Design
Rudziensky has also devoted much time to passion and personal projects, including The Diesel Fund, Embracing Chaos, and The Quilt Shop. She works to combat apathy and compel people to live more fully and empathetically. In her client-based work, Rudziensky also practices empathy, active listening, and showing clients her professionalism right out of the gate.
“In my experience, asking someone to trust you is a useless exercise,” Rudziensky says. “I’ve found that it’s usually easier to build trust by first executing exactly what they asked for and then presenting alternative recommendations. If the reasoning behind your decisions is strong, then most clients will see that and trust you more and more over time.” This approach accomplishes a few things; it allows Rudziensky to exhibit her skills and show what caliber of designer she is, proving that she’s actively listening. She enables the client to feel comfortable trusting her better judgment by doing so.
Occasionally Rudziensky and her clients’ visions clash, and she finds it helpful to step back and try to see what she was missing in the brief. “Branding specifically is an important exercise that helps a company or organization decide how they want to be perceived by the world, so when a client has a strong negative reaction to my work, it’s usually a good sign that my mental model of their brand is misaligned with their own,” she says. “Sometimes it’s a little discouraging when someone isn’t as excited about your work as you are, but often it helps you find a piece of the puzzle you didn’t know was missing.”
Rudziensky is continually sharpening her skill set and keeping apprised of what’s next on the horizon. “I follow a lot of my favorite designers and studios on Instagram, which has become my main touchpoint for finding new work,” she says. Books are another well of creative insight and motivation. “I find design books to be a great source of inspiration that makes me excited without overwhelming me, like looking for inspiration online sometimes does,” she says. “I also like looking for inspiration outside the medium I’m working in. For example, if I’m designing a poster, I try to look at everything except those.”
Rudziensky’s meticulous, focused approach and outside-the-box thinking make her a great up-and-coming designer to keep your eye on.
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