Years ago, when I took a graphic design class (a compulsory for all communications majors specializing in advertising), our professor asked us if we knew the difference between an artist and a graphic designer. Nobody knew.
“An artist,” he said, “follows nobody’s directions, except theirs. A graphic designer, on the other hand, must follow what the client wants. The graphic designer can defend their choice of layout, typeface, and colors, but the client has the final say.”
I do have freedom when it comes to designing the editorial books, but designing materials for product packaging (such as when we were preparing to release Mono B GREEN, our premium line of activewear made using recycled polyester or recycled nylon, or when we became the supplier for Ross Stores and developed its activewear line, RMD) is truly the moment that defines me as a graphic designer.
I’d usually present three or more initial options for the users to choose from and gauge which design direction they want to take. And I’d expand on their choice(s), revise, resubmit, and rinse and repeat.