No matter what creative field you’re in, you’ve most likely experienced a lot of dumb things clients say to you.
You probably even have a lot of funny things to say to your client, but you’ve withheld it due to you being professional.Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore some of these funny things.
I just hope that I don’t sound like a douche by the end of this post…
1) “If you do this project for free, it will be a great addition to your portfolio”
These are some dumb things to say as students may essentially find this an attractive offer. It’s actually a real company and your actually doing a live project. You may even fool yourself into thinking you’ve got a lot of creative freedom since you’re doing the project for free.
But lo and behold, the client has you on a leash. Everything you do is wrong, the client already has a design in mind and they just want someone who knows some Photoshop to implement it for them.
You may actually get a good portfolio piece out of this. But unless you have a lot of spare time, and unless the company is a charity, then I recommend you don’t go for it.
Instead, why not make your own project with a made up brief of a fake company. This way you’re guaranteed to experiment as much as you want and create a great piece of work for your portfolio.
2) “I studied art in high school, can you do ‘this’ instead of ‘that’.”
3) “Can you design a free mock up for me? So that I can see what your work looks like.”
(My response email)
If you remember, you went on something online called a ‘portfolio’. And on this certain thing called the ‘portfolio’, you clicked on a link that said ‘contact’. You then spent approximately 1 minute and 23 seconds filling in that form and then clicking on the ‘submit’ button.
I kindly ask that after you have carefully analysed this email, you then exit yourself from your computer and ask a random person on the street to give you a healthy dose of a backhand slap, so that you may check yourself back into reality.
I honestly do not look forward to hearing from you,
Seriously though, you’re time is valuable. All your work is in your portfolio, so unless they’re paying you, there’s no need for a client to make you do any mock-ups.
4) “Why do you always answer your emails so late?” (Even though we live on the opposite sides of the world)
This can be a tricky situation. The client knows our time zones are different yet they still get annoyed when we answer the email a slightly late. However it’s ok for them to reply back to our emails or return our calls after 4 days, even though it’s about important info about their project.
The best thing to do is to avoid the situation. You need to make it clear before you start the project, on the times and days which you’re available so the client has no room to complain.
5) “Is this your best price? I know someone who can do it for $xx. Can’t you match it?”
Hi Apple, is $1200 the last price for your computers? I know Toshiba who sell theirs for $300. Can’t you match it?
6) “I want my logo to look exactly like the one on this website”
This one isn’t so bad. Why? Well because you’ll have an idea of what the client has in mind.
However, if the client wants you to directly plagiarize someone else’s hard work, then you certainly need to refuse.
Kindly say “no” this type of client, as they will most certainly taint your reputation in the long run.
As you probably know, there’s a fine line between directly taking someone else’s work and taking inspiration from their work.
If you’re caught stealing, which you most probably will be, it will spread throughout the design community like wildfire. There’ll be a post on a popular blog showing the direct similarities between your design and the copied design. After a ton of hate mail, you’ll find your client base has reduced to hardly anything.
When your name is typed on Google, the first thing that comes up next to your name is ‘thief’. You then decide to change your name, as you can’t seem to be getting any work. However this only works out for the short term, as your portfolio along with your photo gets featured on a popular design website. The design community then realise that you’re the same person who stole someone else’s work.
At the age of 40, after moving back into your parent’s attic due to a failed marriage and a gigantic loan that you couldn’t pay off, you look back at your life. You look back and say, “If only I hit the “X” button at the top of that email and rejected that client… my life would have been different.
Lesson learnt: Don’t get on the wrong side of the design community… they are both powerful and dangerous.
7) “Wasn’t the logo already included with the website?”
You sometimes get clients who either don’t have a clue about the design process, or their just testing you to see how much they can use you before you say the word “NO!”
This is the reason why it’s important to say everything upfront, letting the client know that a logo wasn’t part of the contract. And if they do want a logo then it can be added onto the contract as a separate deliverable.
8) “Can you “QUICKLY” do this poster for me? It’s not a lot of work so it shouldn’t cost much.”
This is one you should definitely be aware of. The moment you see the word “quickly”, you need “quickly” hover your mouse over the delete button and click it, praying to never get another email like that again.
This is how the process starts. The client wants a quick poster designed for a low price. Since it doesn’t seem like a lot of work, and you could use the extra money to buy a new iPhone case, you then decide to accept the project. You spend 30 mins creating the poster and send it to the client. The client isn’t satisfied and says that the font isn’t quite right. So you change the font and send it back to them.
The client then says that the image on the poster needs changing (even though they’re the one who supplied it) and they want you to find another image. You say to yourself that since this is a “quick” brief and so you spend another 45 mins trying to find a good copyright free image for the poster. The client still isn’t satisfied. Then comes the colour of the poster, and the layout…
After 5 hours of designing the poster, this “quick” job is turning into a nightmare. You’ve now learnt a valuable lesson that cost you 5 hours of your life. You finally realise that you could have spent the time on other meaningful projects and vow to yourself that you’ll never accept a project like that again.
9) “You can trust me; do we really need a contract?”
Hmmm… need I say more? I think you know the drill by now, tap that “X” button at the top of the email and go back to that important task you were doing… learning how to dance Gangnam Style!
Honestly though, I really hate hearing stories of creatives being taken advantage of. Who in the blue hell would hire someone, make them do all the work, and not pay them for it? This my friend, is modern day slavery. The best way to protect yourself is to have a good contract and have either a lawyer or someone else in your field have a look at it.