Clients From Hell


I’m good.

I just totally hate it when clients try to design themselves. Why hire me then? I’m doing a logo for someone right now and the number of iterations have been prohibitive – the client side involves three decision makers – I am interacting only with one because they assured me no more was necessary.

Now this client sends me three logos they like – one of them was designed/sketched by me and the other two by lord alone knows who. I like two of those sketches. The client brief in the beginning made it amply clear that they needed something that works in black and white – of the two that i like, only one will work in black and white – the other needs to be developed further and refined to allow it to be functional.

When I got this particular e-mail from the client, I really did think out loud “What the fuck are they paying me for then?” Now that I look at the logos I have suggested to them, I really like what I’ve come up with – after a long vacation, as a designer, you get to see your work in a totally new perspective.

Damn I’m good!

Filed under: from HELL

Corporation’s new logo – The Onion

Parody on a company’s logo change.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Mr. Intermediary

The end-client is not very savvy about corporate identity and branding and what it can do for his company. He probably doesn’t even know that there are people who make a decent living [ ok, live like kings ] doing corporate identity and branding ONLY.

The client’s friend is someone who knows what branding is all about [ “knows more than the client” would be a better way to describe it ]. This is Mr. Intermediary. The brief was filled in my Mr. Intermediary. Mr. Intermediary went online [ Logopond specifically ] to pick out logos he liked and he thought the client liked [ he even told me – “Internationally not every logo can be different, so I’m ok with it if you copy something and modify it slightly. We are going to be using it STRICTLY locally.” That is one huge problem with any client – they don’t know how to dream big, they don’t have a vision that they MIGHT be international players at some point. ] Mr. Intermediary even critiqued the first set of sketches that I sent to the client.

Result : the client doesn’t like anything I’ve done, Mr. Intermediary doesn’t know his elbow-from-his ass anymore [ he talks in loops – more than 30 minutes per conversation when trying to get his point across – obviously a 40-year old frustrated bastard with nothing else to do with his life than preach design ] and I’m one lost puppy who just wants some milk and a cosy litter-box to wail away my woes. Arf!

During a conference call with the end-client, I finally told Mr. Intermediary to fuck-off. The end-client called me up after the conference call and said that that might have been a good decision. Fortunately it worked out well for me [ apart from the fact that I now have to re-start from scratch ]. With an uneducated client who fortunately has some common sense. Woof!

Filed under: from HELL

They have the money…

…but they don’t know what a logo is.

This particular client has money to pay, they did not negotiate on my initial quote – they said they liked my work and wanted only me to do it. So here I am doing their logo.

Problem #1 : “Mr. Design Designer, we don’t know what crap this creative brief is, we are not going to fill it. We are paying you so you fill the damn brief – what else are we paying you for?” [ Huh! ]

Problem #2 : “Mr. Design Designer, we’ve seen the first draft that you sent, but we don’t want our logo to look like that – this is ugly – all pencil marks and it’s just black and white and where’s the name of our company?”

Problem #3 : “Mr. Design Designer, we saw the example of finished logo from your sketches, but we don’t like these logos. It doesn’t reflect our brand or our values.” [ Dude, if you’d told me what your stupid brand was and what your values were in the first place, maybe I would have come up with something that reflected those key-points. ]

Problem #4 : “Mr. Design Designer, actually we are four partners, I like number 1 from your third draft, partner B likes number 5 from your second draft, partner C likes number 2 from the third draft and partner C likes the one on the bottom right from your first set of sketches. We need approval from all four before this is finalized.” [ And when were you going to tell me that there are four suckers who need to be bought in? After I’d “finished” the logo? ]

Problem #5 : “Mr. Design Designer, we’ll give you plane tickets to come and visit our non-existing office so we can all sit face-to-face and discuss this to finalize it.” [ Uh! You can afford to fly me half-way across the globe, but you don’t have no brains buddy. Must have eroded trying to get a buy-in from the other three for all your projects. ]

Problem #6 : There’s a fifth chap who for some reason is acting as intermediary.

Maybe I should be spending more time designing the damn logo than wasting time here posting what fuckers I have to work with. They still have to give me the balance payment and I still have to fly half-way across the globe afterall 😉

Filed under: from HELL

Fonts for free

Another pet peeve of mine is that for some reason clients don’t get it that fonts are not free. That typefaces and fonts need to be purchased from font foundries. That some people actually have careers in font design and development.

My deliverables almost ALWAYS include submission of font/typeface used in the project. And each time I have to tell the client that these fonts are licensed and they will need to purchase a copy from the relevant seller. ( In all projects I convert the font to outlines so that the client doesn’t have to worry about inconsistency. ) Since most of the good fonts out there are expensive, when they find out about the price after visiting the link I provide them, all clients revert with a “What the hell are you talking about? How the hell am I going to edit my brochure? How the hell am I going to type out my logo for the soft-board in my cubicle?”

Buy the font for starters.

And leave the designing to designers. Is that so hard to get? No wonder a majority of clients who use the services of a designer, end up with badly-designed work – they meddle so much and sometimes completely overtake the designer.

Filed under: from HELL

Time Wasters

I’ve worked successfully, remotely with clients thousands of miles away from my geographical location without so much as a phone conversation. Meeting up is expensive and so are telephone conversations. There are technologies like Skype, Yahoo Messenger, GoogleTalk that allow me to work seamlessly with them.

But local clients ALWAYS want to meet.
If I had half a chance I would love to meet with all my clients and extend the work-relationship further into a friendship. But when that means meeting for four hours discussing your sister’s education and bitching about your own clients without discussing anything about the work I’m supposed to be doing for you, I really am tempted to charge by the hour.

Why in God’s name do I need to meet to get a brief from a client? I have a document that can be filled in and I ALWAYS follow it up with a phone conversation to understand the client/company/product better. Besides, the non-meeting projects have ALWAYS worked out wonderful with glowing client testimonials so I really have no reason to convert everything to a face-to-face meeting. I’d waste enormous amounts of time socializing and would never get anything done.

Filed under: from HELL

What’s a wireframe?

When you a get a client who asks you that, who needs a website designed and developed, you know you’re in deep shit. Really deep shit.

As it is delivering a design engagement to a client is tough because they have their own ideas. And when the designer has to teach them their own shit then it becomes one of those arduously long journeys that one takes either because the client’s paying top dollar or because the designer’s dying of starvation.

I have spent more than six hours over a period of two days explaining to the client how important it is to have a spec document that allows the designer to envision the final product as well as give a sensible quote. But the dude doesn’t even know what a wireframe is. And he runs a web hosting company.

Filed under: from HELL

We love your work. But we can’t afford you.

When will I get that one client who will say “We love your work and because we want to work with you we’ll even take off our underwear and dance naked to get you to design for us.“?

Never I guess.
Never ever.

They see the portfolio, they see the client testimonials, they even get a fantastic recommendation from a previous client – but they just don’t want to pay! And they will re-iterate that they love your work – like it’s some kind of magic charm that will get me to work for them for free.

Negotiations are part of every job – I first ask the prospective client what is the value they attach to this kind of deliverable – how much have they budgeted for this – when they don’t tell me how much, I just go ahead and tell them what I want to charge – they will ALWAYS negotiate so it’s just better to quote what you really want to earn for that particular project.

After three weeks of hankering and negotiating the client will still tell you “Hey! We really do love your work but we can’t pay you want you’re asking.” When I ask them how much they are actually willing to pay, they come up with absurd amounts that are usually AT LEAST 25% of what I have quoted AFTER negotiation.

How may times will I tell propective clients to “Go to hell.”?

Filed under: from HELL

Why aren’t we getting any hits?

There’s this client, they needed a holding-page on their website before the whole website was launched because their budget for the full website would be generated only after the products we packaged and started selling.

The holding page is basically an image with links to the client’s official e-mail id and their phone number and a short description – one page only.

Now the client asks me why they are not getting any enquiries via their website, when it isn’t even a website! Gah!

Filed under: from HELL

I want the moon, I’m giving you dust

Repeatedly, this particular client, keeps giving me examples of other websites that he likes and wants to follow similar styling. The trouble is that all these websites are designed in Flash. And he has made it very clear that he cannot afford to pay for Flash designing.

Is this client that dumb?

Filed under: from HELL

Clients From Hell : Yeah

Bitching about clients. The bad ones. And boy are there many. The good ones are meant for the real, company-linked design blog. The bad ones go down in history here - I wish I could tell them to their face where they're screwing up but then I'll just be a poor designer instead of the decently rich one I am now. Compromises.