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Ask DN: How do you handle client NDAs on your design work?

over 6 years ago from

Our company is working for a couple of corporate clients in very specialized fields, such as data visualization or UI design for large-scale software applications. Many of these products are only used internally by these clients, so the general public will never see. However, they could be perfect case studies for products that solve very complex problems through design – if there weren't these crazy NDAs in place that especially larger organizations love to impose on their vendors. Bottom line: We are often not allowed to show any of our work, neither the final outcome nor any of the process that led there. Sometimes we can't even mention that we worked for a specific client.

This bugs me a lot on two levels, as part of our company but also as a designer who relies on showcasing his work as a personal track record. So my question is: How should designers and studios act in such situations? My feeling is that as a design firm ome doesn't have much leverage, and that big organizations don't really feel like negotiating their standard NDAs. What options are there to showcase work despite such limitations? How do you handle these situations?