Clients from Hell
STICK AROUND FOR THE ENDING! With thanks to Barton Fink.
I’m a 22-year-old woman and I did some on-site freelance design work for a 70-something man.
Client: (at my office door) What’s the little girl working on?
Me: I’m not a little girl.
Client: You’re not?
He didn’t seem to take that first no seriously though because he called me a little girl again the next day.
Me: I’m still not a little girl.
Client: You’re not?
Client: Is that an offensive thing to be called?
Me: Yes, I’m a college educated professional.
Client: Well, what can I call you?
Me: My name. Miss. Basically anything other than “little girl.”
Client: That’s cute.
I met with a client for what I thought was just going to be an interview for an internship, but when...
I met with a client for what I thought was just going to be an interview for an internship, but when he came in he immediately started talking about a brochure project he needed to be done.
Client: I need a brochure to help me pitch real estate plans to investors.
Me: When do you need it by?
Client: I needed it yesterday.
Me: Okay, so here’s the thing, I have a couple job opportunities hanging in the air right now that I expect to hear back from in the next week or two. If this is something we can get done in that window of time, that’s great, and I can help you.
Client: Great, let’s get started!
I work for a whole day sprucing up some blueprints that he gave me to include in the brochure.
Client: Oh no, don’t use those blueprints, they’re outdated plans.
Internally, I was thinking WHY WOULD YOU NOT TELL ME THAT. WHY WOULD YOU GIVE ME THESE.
Me: (externally) How about you give me current information then.
Client: Oh, I don’t have any current content for it yet.
Me: Okay…I guess we can put a hold on the blueprints, for now… do you know what you want the brochure to look like?
Client: Just make things and I’ll tell you if it’s what I’m looking for.
For two weeks I try things and he doesn’t like what I’m doing, but still won’t tell me what it is he does want. Even though he said this project was SO time sensitive. My window of time was up, I had received a job offer, he was impossible to work with. I had warned him about my time limitation, but he still seemed surprised and upset when I told him I needed to leave the unfinished project that was going nowhere.
I got a random email from a potential client who wanted help with a website and branding for… some...
I got a random email from a potential client who wanted help with a website and branding for… some kind of company. The subject line was “Big White Bitch” (I’ve changed this slightly, but I’m not exaggerating. I wish I was).
Client: I would like for you to come up with our designs and make comics for the mascot, please! I need it right away!
This message did not include any info about their business, what they were looking for specifically. All I got was a (bad) drawing of the mascot, i.e. the “Big White Bitch.”
Me: Okay. Can you tell me what you would like specifically?
At this point, the client didn’t respond for three weeks. Finally:
Client: Oh thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I would like a comic for our shirts, but have them all tell a story! Like Sunday morning comics.
This was basically what they’d just said in their previous email. I thought I wasn’t being specific enough and that it was my bad, so I tried to be a little more clear.
Me: Okay—can you tell me what kind of comic you would like? Do you want this to be in color, or in black and white? Are these just gag strips or more like a long-form comic?
They still did not answer my questions. While waiting for a response I checked out their existing website to find out more about the business. I THOUGHT that maybe it was a fashion site, but what stood out is that the word “bitch” was in everything.
Eventually, this client did send me some drafts of the comic. They were crass, unfunny, and “bitch” was the punchline to every “joke.”
I wasn’t sure what to do until I talked to some friends, who reminded me that I might not want my name attached to this project.
They were right. I turned down the job.
Small logos don’t always have a small price.
I had an acquaintance contact me and ask me to create a logo. This person needed/wanted it the same day they contacted me. When I told her how much it would cost she replied
Client: Really? You just need to design a small logo. It’s just something I need for the flyer as a PDF.
Me: Well, what is your budget?
I politely declined.
The below is a direct, unedited, quote - when asked how big a heading should be: Client: Well, you...
The below is a direct, unedited, quote - when asked how big a heading should be:
Client: Well, you know, big enough but not too big, somewhere between in yer face and overkill - is that clear enough about the size we need?
- The client, after asking me to replace three landscape photos with new portrait oriented photos.
I’m working with a city government. We spent weeks in big meetings mapping out goals for a new website.
I finished the site and got paid. BUT, it took over a year for them to make up their mind to take it live.
Turns out they wanted to implement things like fully responsive dynamic content, useful apps, etc – all things I told them they needed in the first place but which they opted not to include.
Once the site finally went live, they asked me to start from scratch.
Twist ending though: they’re going to pay me to do it again! So I guess maybe they’re their own client from hell?
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A client sent me a photo of themselves holding a layout sketch.While sitting on the toilet.I still...
A client sent me a photo of themselves holding a layout sketch.
While sitting on the toilet.
I still don’t know if they wanted their junk included in the illustration.
"I don’t like this Word file and I’m tired of PDFs. Please save it as a jpg so they can enter their..."
- Just the wrongest person.
I’m working with a client who says they’ve “done design” and act like they know more about it than I...
I’m working with a client who says they’ve “done design” and act like they know more about it than I do. Today, while looking at a design for a pamphlet:
Client: This logo on the back – I know it’s our partner’s logo but can we change the color? It doesn’t fit with our pamphlet.
I’m supposed to design a campaign with the logo of the company I work for and the one of the company...
I’m supposed to design a campaign with the logo of the company I work for and the one of the company we’re associated with so I ask them for their logo (I have one version of it in vector format but they wanted to use their new version) and receive a 100 x 115 px JPG and PNG logo. I proceed to call them to ask for a vector file.
Client: What do you mean a vector file? What’s that? Doesn’t PNG work for you? It has a transparent background!
Me: I would need either an .AI or .PDF file of your logo since an image can’t be resized any bigger without losing quality. Could you please ask if you have that version? The designer who did that logo must have it.
Client: No, that’s all we have. But let me export the PNG logo to PDF so you can work with that one.
Client: Look, there’s even a website where I can export it to different formats! Hold on…
He starts reading the exporting formats (they were all image formats) and got excited when he read .GIF as if he exported the logo it would move.
I made a promotional video for a client. I found a perfect song for background use, but it was watermarked with a woman’s voice saying “this is a watermark. Please buy a license to remove this voice sample.”
Me: Do you like the song I used?
Client: No! It had a woman talking through the whole thing for some reason.
This client must have taken a management seminar from “every bully in every 80s movie.”
I am a full-time, PAID, award-winning photographer. I’ve worked with a particular retailer for more...
I am a full-time, PAID, award-winning photographer. I’ve worked with a particular retailer for more than four years, both as their photographer and as an exhibiting artist in their gallery. I just ended year five of my on-going project.
Every year, they have a one-day national sales event, which I have photographed for them, in exchange for product – they make BEAUTIFUL, expensive, wonderful products, which I would not otherwise purchase.
This year, the new manager has made some changes: one is not caring for exhibitors, which resulted in an in-coming artist removing my work without permission, sticking labels to the glass on the pieces, and piling the work in a corner.
The other is a seeming disregard for collaborations.
Today, I received an email:
Client: I hope all is well with you! Are you coming by for (said national sales day)? We just wanted to make sure our favourite photographer will be joining in on the festivities. Just so you know, [The manager’s sister] will be the designated photographer for us this year so you’ll have to come by and snag a few photos with us ;)
Thank you so much for spearheading previous photoshoots!! You are truly an angel <3
Wow. I feel so much better to be displaced by an amateur, but be asked to come work for free. WTF?
Me: Okay, since we’re crunched for time I need you to prioritize these changes. Give me the most important change first, the second most important change second, etc etc. That way I can do what’s most important in time.
I pushed through until deadline, targeting the key issues and getting everything essential done in time.
Me: Here’s my final version to push to live.
Client: What are you talking about? You haven’t finished half of our first priorities?
Me: I asked you to list your top priorities in order – I worked to your list.
Client: Yeah, that didn’t work for us, because EVERYTHING was top priority. We just gave you an alphabetical version.
For the record, of the 117 “top priorities,” they wanted:
* Setting backgrounds to a slightly different color
* Shifting Headlines 5px left
* Changing Button Colors
Client: Why are BOTH these tablets already dead? What were you doing on them and why weren’t they...
Client: Why are BOTH these tablets already dead? What were you doing on them and why weren’t they charged?
Me: …Did you try turning them on?
Client: How the hell am I supposed to turn them on? I don’t know how to do that!
Me: How do you turn your iPhone on?
She then stares at me blankly as I pressed the button on the top right edge of the tablet - the near-exact same spot where the power button is on her iPhone - and sure enough, it powers up to 100%, ready to use.
Client: …Well, why did you turn them off in the first place?
Got a poster design job. The client worked for someone who was converting their nightclub to a restaurant.
Client: We need a poster done, and a double-sided flyer so we can pass out, and we need it tomorrow. We want it to be fashionable and trendy.
It was 9pm when I got the message.
Me: It’s not possible. I need more time than that.
Client: Ok, the latest we can do is the day after tomorrow.
Me: I will try my best. Please give me the info you want on there along with examples of designs you want.
Client: Here’s our logo, and here’s some text we might change. Make it scream fashion!
Me: Have you not finalized that? We don’t have much time.
Client: We’ll finalize it tomorrow.
I made a design I really liked, sent it through the next day.
Client: This is not fashionable.
Makes another one, sent that night.
Client: Still not fashionable!
Me: Okay, can you give me an example of what’s “fashionable” so I have a better idea of what you mean?
The client sends me this tacky poster, I hated it, but I made something like that.
Client: My boss said no to this one. Here are the images he sent.
The Images that were sent were old posters when it was a club: lens flare, dancing girls, table service…
I did what I was asked.
Client: Ok, boss approved. Good job!
I got paid, but I died a little.