Senior Designer taking over my project

I don’t think any designer is immune to this problem, but it still really gets me any time it happens. I have 20 years design experience myself, so I consider myself to be a Senior, but there is a more Senior designer who works with me.

I like some elements of his design, but many of them I don’t. I guess my ego has taken a kick. I accept clients will request changes, but when a more Senior designer takes over my project, it basically comes across to me that my initial version was not good enough and it hurts.

How do other designers deal with set-backs like this? Thanks

1 Like

Try not to take it personally. It may be nothing to do with your design. A discussion with the more senior designer might smooth things over. He might even appreciate your help with getting his head around it. This should help you to understand why you were taken off the project, and with this information you can do better next time.

Having said that, clients are idiots and they want what they want. It’s our job to give it to them, nothing more. I leave my ego out of it and I am never hurt by a client’s bizarre decisions.


I don’t take it personally. I’d look at is as “Good, one less thing I have to do.”
But I’ve been told, recently, that I have a very strange world view…


Let’s say you sell Toyota cars, you’re working with someone showing them a Corolla, and they end up going to the Honda dealer and buy a Civic. Sure, you lost a sale, but it’s not personal. Maybe the customer just liked the Civic better than the Corolla.

With design, it’s something you created. So it’s a little hard to not take it personally if someone essentially says, “thanks but no thanks.” We’ve all been there at one point or another, and it stings a bit.

I’d offer you two things. First, the old phrase “time heals all wounds” applies. Meaning you’ll get over it. Second, look at it as an opportunity to learn. Is there something you could have done better or differently? Was your solution the best option? Is the alternative better or just different? Was it a personality thing? Bottom line: figure out how you can learn and grow from the situation, and it won’t be a total loss.


Was any reason given?

The project was taken over before the client got to see my design, so I guess I’m not going to find out if they would have selected my design over the other designer’s.

The only explanation given was that the other designer worked for that client before. I have only been in this role for 1 month.

That’s a good reason.
Where I work each of the project managers here take on specific recurring clients because it establishes a better rapport, they know how each other likes to work, what to expect, how to get things to happen, etc. Not something to take personally. Your senior may not have known you had the project started and went to higher ups and said, “hey, um, that’s my client.” Happens.

However, if a client specifically requests a different manager after working on one gig, that is a moment when the first guy should self-evaluate as to why.

1 Like

In a non-confrontational way that stresses that you’re trying to learn the ins and outs of your new job and how things work at the new company, ask for a more detailed explanation. As others have said, there easily could be a very good reason that had nothing to do with anyone being dissatisfied with your work.

Asking in the right way might even show them that you’re eager to do your best by understanding how things work. It would also serve as a subtle, indirect notice to them that you’re not just a passive participant in your work and that you warrant consideration when these kinds of decisions are made.


Dittos on having a strange world view. It comes with the territory.

We’ve all faced this, if not with a Senior designer, then perhaps with a hard-to-please client. I also agree with Steve_O — don’t take it personally, but rather as an opportunity to learn something new, or at least, as a new way of to learn more about a (perhaps) a better way to handle client and coworker communication.

1 Like

This has happened again on the second project I have had a chance to design. The design has been passed on to the Senior Designer. I want to ask if I can not be asked to work on larger projects if this is going to happen each time… Am I being selfish or am I right to speak up? Thanks

If it bothers you then request an informal meeting.

Ask why your work is being passed on to someone else to finish.
Once you establish that. Then outline your experience and that you’d like the opportunity to be more involved in this particular role.

It might be simply that’s they way they always did it. Someone drafts up a concept and then someone else fleshes it out with the client.

But if you think you have more to offer then definitely request an informal sit down to go through what your role is and what you think you can offer.

1 Like

Thanks for your reply

I’m coming in late on this, but I take it as a learning experience. I worked with a team of creative minds, and sometimes my work was critiqued, and I had to start over. Look at it this way; you were paid for your work. It can bruise your ego when it happens. After awhile, I didn’t take it personally.