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View Full Version : Clients: love or hate them




Southerner
Nov 13, 2007, 04:02 PM
I was working on a brief which required designing a Christmas charity bash dinner menu, for a 4 star hotel up the road from me, I had a free rein of the overall design which the menu needed a revamp from last year's tired looking version.

Because the hotel being a upmarket 4 star type, I made the design elegant and classic looking going for a Christmas theme using wintry colours like gold with burgundy plus the only one serif font type to minimise cluttering the whole look of the menu.

When I presented the proof to the client (or I thought he was) and he loved the look of it then took it away telling me he will get back to me later on for how many copies etc.

That was a fortnight ago, I contacted them a few times to try chasing them up but to be told they'll get back to me in time. Today this same guy returned, with a sheepish look on his face, which he told me his boss would rather to go with the other design rather than mine then I was handed with the guy's boss's preferred choice.

My god, I was horrified. The alternative design looked like something out of Publisher slapped with tacky clip art plus Comic Sans font everywhere which a designer's services, like myself, won't be necessary!

The embarrassed looking guy said his boss insisted on this awful design instead of mine and I thought to myself "WTF?! It's a 4 star hotel not a youth hostel!"

Being a professional, I did not say a word or kick up a fuss I just went to print off hundreds of copies of this mess of a menu. Though I wasted my time focusing on this brief however I was fully paid for my troubles even though they went with their own design in the end!

Some people don't know the meaning of design when it hits them on the head and have no taste at all.



Blue Velvet
Nov 13, 2007, 04:08 PM
The client is always right. Unfortunately.

Some projects I've really looked forward to doing, thinking they could be portfolio pieces, have been 'sabotaged' by clients, and even worse, clients' colleagues, friends, mothers etc. Design by committee.

Saying that, it's an essential skill of a designer to sell your work and to explain why you've done this or that as a solution. There's always another job around the corner to sink your teeth into.

Stampyhead
Nov 13, 2007, 04:46 PM
The boss's kid probably did the other one...

shecky
Nov 13, 2007, 05:15 PM
i believe the saying goes

"this job would be great if it wasn't for all the ********** clients."

LeviG
Nov 14, 2007, 08:49 AM
I would have said something although in a polite way. Maybe even asked to see the person in charge and let them know my reasons for my design and why it's better than the other. Sometimes it's the designers job to make the clients see that their design is rubbish :D

I'd have made sure I was paid first though.

Abraxsis
Nov 14, 2007, 09:09 AM
Well, I agree that the customer is always right, and I do know the "pissyness" one feels when a customer thrashes/changes your design. But this is how I look at it ...

I'm not a restauranteur, nor are you, the boss must have some clue as to what he is doing in that business to have received 4 stars. Perhaps he thought his high brow customers might get a laugh from the kitschy menus around the Holidays? Or perhaps it is just as simple as the man's son/daughter made one up. Or perhaps the man just has no taste. As long as your name isn't anywhere on it, and you got paid just chalk it up to yet another experience in life. Im sure it won't be your last.

If nothing else change the name and food names/prices on the menu and use it in your portfolio.

Tilpots
Nov 14, 2007, 09:25 AM
Their dime. If they wanna screw their business, that's their decision. But yes, I hate it and them usually.

ChicoWeb
Nov 14, 2007, 09:35 AM
At least you got paid.

bluetooth
Nov 14, 2007, 10:33 AM
I think we've all been there...and as the others said, take it in stride and just move on to the next.

It is good to be able to explain your thought and design process but I don't necessarily agree with persisting or pushing your work if the client chooses an alternate design. Designers need to have thick skin - just my opinion personally.

Some people just have plain ol' bad taste and if your name is not on it, and you were paid for you time, then that is all that really matters in the end. Clients such as these are few and far between in most instances. Just don't take these experiences personally, no matter how deflated your ego may feel at the time. :p

Southerner
Nov 14, 2007, 12:41 PM
Cheers guys for your comments!

I know I should take this in my stride and look forward to the next project coming up but situations like this can get a bit annoying though.

This client shouldn't thought of using my services if he could do what he wanted himself however he wasted his money by paying me for all that time for a design he didn't want! Silly fool.

The guy who I was dealing with, the one got embarrassed by his boss's decision, just contacted me not long ago to apologise also told me his boss actually created the alternative design himself using MS Word!

Of course customers are always right no matter how wrong some are! ;)

Blue Velvet
Nov 14, 2007, 12:44 PM
...his boss actually created the alternative design himself using MS Word!


Oh, excellent. :D


http://static.zooomr.com/images/529061_3c17fcf72a.jpg

ezekielrage_99
Nov 14, 2007, 08:38 PM
The client is always right. Unfortunately.

And 90% of the time a complete retard when it comes to anything to do with design.....

ezekielrage_99
Nov 14, 2007, 08:51 PM
Oh, excellent. :D


http://static.zooomr.com/images/529061_3c17fcf72a.jpg

That is SOOOOOO like what happened to me with the company I work for logo redesign... scarily similar

(looks around for hidden cameras)

faustfire
Nov 15, 2007, 01:09 AM
Not long ago I had the CFO of the company I work for (for only 2 more days, hooray!!!) giving me kerning advice on a logo design. Ridiculous!

Fargomac
Nov 15, 2007, 03:19 AM
I think have just lost a client, he was a good client paid up etc, etc. But he always wanted the look and feel of the design his way...okay he's paying for it, I suppose he knows what he kind of visualises in his head..
Until the other week, re-vamp of his letterhead, did it sent it across to him and he explained he wanted the layout, typeface as well to be like the one he had knocked up on his PC. I emailed back giving a good explanation on not using such a condensed font at the bottom of the page (trust me it was ugly). He mailed me back and told me 'if you cant do it then dont bother'.
Why get me doing any design/layout in the first place?
If I choose to take my car to the garage to have it fixed, halfway through do I grab the mechanic and start telling him to glue spark plugs to the steering wheel....:confused:

AlexisV
Nov 15, 2007, 03:48 AM
We've had some horrendous problems recently:

- the client who won't pay because he thinks we owe him a favour after he fixed a problem with our phone network 4 years ago.

- the client who can't work her email, causing delays, which she blamed on us when her superiors bollo*cked her for not having the job ready. Therefore her 'superiors' appoint another agency and don't think they have to pay us.

- the client who sacked the sales manager we were dealing with and are now denying any agreement of them appointing us. Ignore our submitted terms and conditions and say the work 'was at our own risk''. Luckliy the dismissed guy is still in contact with us and trying to help.

And from a design point of view:

- the client who gives us a layout which will blatently look horrible and gives us tiny 72dpi images to work with. Baring in mind this was on a 10metre banner and he expected drivers to read an essay as they were driving past.
There's nothing worse than designing something you know won't work just so you can demonstrate how bad it looks to the client.

angelneo
Nov 15, 2007, 03:49 AM
I think have just lost a client, he was a good client paid up etc, etc. But he always wanted the look and feel of the design his way...okay he's paying for it, I suppose he knows what he kind of visualises in his head..
Until the other week, re-vamp of his letterhead, did it sent it across to him and he explained he wanted the layout, typeface as well to be like the one he had knocked up on his PC. I emailed back giving a good explanation on not using such a condensed font at the bottom of the page (trust me it was ugly). He mailed me back and told me 'if you cant do it then dont bother'.
Why get me doing any design/layout in the first place?
If I choose to take my car to the garage to have it fixed, halfway through do I grab the mechanic and start telling him to glue spark plugs to the steering wheel....:confused:
Your client is just looking for a Yes-man, someone to execute his plan without thinking, probably, he will do better with a robot....

Fargomac
Nov 15, 2007, 06:28 AM
Hey AlexisV, must be something in the water then, because Im about 35miles south of you....:eek:

bluetooth
Nov 15, 2007, 06:38 AM
Oh, excellent. :D


http://static.zooomr.com/images/529061_3c17fcf72a.jpg

priceless :D

koobcamuk
Nov 15, 2007, 06:42 AM
If things are this bad for a menu... imagine being an architect!

Cloudane
Nov 15, 2007, 06:54 AM
I've just been ranting about that sort of thing today!

Managing Director thinks the images would look better "like this".

Marketing dept: "WTF?"
Web design (me): "WTF?"
MD: "No discussion. Do it."

The boss is the boss. *shrug* it does get annoying when people who have no idea about a particular subject try to tell the experts how to do their job though! Especially when they dictate, rather than consult.

ezekielrage_99
Nov 15, 2007, 06:59 AM
priceless :D

And this was going to be a company logo (sorry if this offends anyone).....

http://img218.imageshack.us/img218/7972/mimepq7.th.jpg (http://img218.imageshack.us/my.php?image=mimepq7.jpg)

B&Wtoon
Nov 15, 2007, 09:10 AM
you will enjoy this:

http://www.makemylogobiggercream.com/

try this:

How to disarm 10 difficult client observations/requests (http://www.ideasonideas.com/2007/10/disarm-10-difficult-requests/)

bluetooth
Nov 15, 2007, 09:23 AM
you will enjoy this:

http://www.makemylogobiggercream.com/

try this:

How to disarm 10 difficult client observations/requests (http://www.ideasonideas.com/2007/10/disarm-10-difficult-requests/)

these are great. :D

bluetooth
Nov 15, 2007, 09:24 AM
And this was going to be a company logo (sorry if this offends anyone).....

http://img218.imageshack.us/img218/7972/mimepq7.th.jpg (http://img218.imageshack.us/my.php?image=mimepq7.jpg)

nice one - reminds me more of KISS actually. :cool:

rijiMacDij
Nov 15, 2007, 09:35 AM
The guy who I was dealing with, the one got embarrassed by his boss's decision, just contacted me not long ago to apologise also told me his boss actually created the alternative design himself using MS Word!

Ha, Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha, He He He, Ha Ha Ha...........stops typing to wipe tears from eyes.........

B&Wtoon
Nov 15, 2007, 11:25 AM
these are great. :D


yep, Im tempted to buy a Tshirt (http://www.agencyfusion.com/online-store.html) for wearing at all meetings with clients.

As they are all to dumb to realise – it would be a good "in" joke.

one3
Nov 15, 2007, 11:56 AM
"The client is always right" - I don't subscribe to this.

Here's my reasoning. The client I feel hires me to be their design "expert" .. meaning they are hiring me not just for my design skills, but also my understanding of good design and my expertise in this field. I feel it's my job and responsibility to make sure the client gets the best design and is also educated about it in cases where they feel they know better.

I regularly 'fight' for what I think is right. I realize not every client likes that approach, but in the long run those who resist most times realize in the end that the product does come out better if they let the designer's opinion count.

Some may see this as being an 'elitist' designer... I don't agree. It's using my skills to do what's best for the client. I always take the client's feedback very seriously, but if I feel that they are making decisions that will be detrimental to the goals they are trying to achieve, I'm the first to say so. I think most clients respect that .... if not always immediately though :)

Motley
Nov 15, 2007, 12:16 PM
Not being a graphics designer I still enjoy occasionally reading http://www.clientcopia.com/

B&Wtoon
Nov 15, 2007, 12:35 PM
best way to spot a retarded customer is to tell them that all graphic designers are been made redundant because Micro$oft is bringing out new software called “Graphic Designer” which does everything for you at the touch of a button:

– if they get the joke and laugh with you, you have a chance in building a good relationship.

– if they react keen to purchase it, or make some effort to feel sorry for your loss of career, you know you’ve got another numbskull.

Cloudane
Nov 15, 2007, 01:48 PM
Some may see this as being an 'elitist' designer... I don't agree. It's using my skills to do what's best for the client. I always take the client's feedback very seriously, but if I feel that they are making decisions that will be detrimental to the goals they are trying to achieve, I'm the first to say so. I think most clients respect that .... if not always immediately though :)

Spot on. Although I mostly do web design for the company itself rather than 3rd parties (though they do crop up), that's the sort of technique I tend to apply. Even now when I just got dictated over something, he feels strongly about it so I'll do it but make it easily reversible and be sure to point it out loud and clear if it looks crap. For the most part my opinion is respected amongst the management, it's just now and again someone gets into I'm-the-boss mode.

Side note - you've got to love it when they say "can't we animate _______" :D The way some people think you'd have things whizzing and spinning everywhere. They need to add "instant animation spray" to that amusing site someone posted earlier.

Blue Velvet
Nov 15, 2007, 02:04 PM
"The client is always right" - I don't subscribe to this


I don't subscribe to it either. It was said more in sorrow than as a policy... and yes, they're always right, even when they're wrong. ;)

On most jobs I do, I don't have the time to 'fight' for what I think is right. That's a luxury of having relatively long lead-times.

calculus
Nov 15, 2007, 02:12 PM
"The client is always right"

The client may not always be right but they are always the client ...

one3
Nov 15, 2007, 02:34 PM
I don't subscribe to it either. It was said more in sorrow than as a policy... and yes, they're always right, even when they're wrong. ;)

On most jobs I do, I don't have the time to 'fight' for what I think is right. That's a luxury of having relatively long lead-times.

Yes, there are factors (like the short timeline you mentioned) that weigh on this for sure. I also know that early on in my career I tended to go with what the client wanted for more economical reasons .... now I'm fortunate enough that I can part with a client or two if I don't think the fit is right and I don't think they value my services - despite losing potential revenue. But I remember that was tough if not impossible to do a few years back for me. It's a tough balancing act :)

The client may not always be right but they are always the client ...

True enough ... it's just that it does not have to be a master / slave type of relationship ... which I know from experience is what some clients think of it as. :D

bluetooth
Nov 15, 2007, 02:50 PM
"The client is always right" - I don't subscribe to this.

Here's my reasoning. The client I feel hires me to be their design "expert" .. meaning they are hiring me not just for my design skills, but also my understanding of good design and my expertise in this field. I feel it's my job and responsibility to make sure the client gets the best design and is also educated about it in cases where they feel they know better.

I regularly 'fight' for what I think is right. I realize not every client likes that approach, but in the long run those who resist most times realize in the end that the product does come out better if they let the designer's opinion count.

Some may see this as being an 'elitist' designer... I don't agree. It's using my skills to do what's best for the client. I always take the client's feedback very seriously, but if I feel that they are making decisions that will be detrimental to the goals they are trying to achieve, I'm the first to say so. I think most clients respect that .... if not always immediately though :)

I would tend to agree with this, some good points here. Nobody will respect a "yes-man" but with that being said, there are some instances where you need to let up if a client is absolutely adamant about it.

I think there is a fine line between educating and dictating and you need to walk it carefully. Nothing is worse then coming off as a know-it-all who tells the client what they want and need for their business. The client knows their business better then anyone so you need to respect that while presenting your creative direction.

In my experience, learning to be tactful in your approach and picking your battles can be the difference between keeping and losing clients.

heehee
Nov 15, 2007, 02:51 PM
you will enjoy this:

http://www.makemylogobiggercream.com/

try this:

How to disarm 10 difficult client observations/requests (http://www.ideasonideas.com/2007/10/disarm-10-difficult-requests/)

I'm gonna send this to my boss. :D

Southerner
Nov 15, 2007, 02:51 PM
Guys, your responses are fantastic! Glad I'm not the only one thinking the same things!

kitki83
Nov 15, 2007, 03:27 PM
This is therapy for me honestly, working for a old fashion corporate company sometimes being creative is like asking someone to bungee jump.

The comments and stuff are funny.

I love how my bosses make so many changes honestly the changes lead back to first version of the project seriously its happening right now but due to so much changes, I can't turn around the project on the deadline so got pushed 2 months, and now they have no idea what to do.

Claytoniss
Nov 15, 2007, 03:45 PM
This is such a good time reading these. To bad I have to go back to designing hand and paw print designs!:o

ezekielrage_99
Nov 15, 2007, 07:48 PM
nice one - reminds me more of KISS actually. :cool:

Most people say Waffen SS (47 out of 50 to be precise).

Southerner
Nov 30, 2007, 12:56 PM
Hello everyone,

A recent development on my situation - yesterday I received a phone call from the deputy manager of the hotel I was working the design for their Christmas charity bash menu. After a bit of grovelling he insisted to go with my design which was exactly what he was looking for to celebrate the true essence of Christmas and he had no idea about my work until he came across it before being told it was rejected in favour for the makeshift one created from MS Word.

I was fairly surprised at this unexpected urgent request which I didn't expect to hear from these people again nor getting any more work from them. I agreed to to go ahead and I was paid again plus a free complimentary champagne on top of that!

Then I contacted the hotel's marketing assistant, who I thought I was working on the job for, about that phone call. He was quite pleased the hotel eventually going for my design though he never agreed with his tyrannical boss's (the chief of marketing) absurd actions, of creating his own amateurish designs from MS Word, but had to do what he was told despite his doubts.

He gleefully told me once the deputy hotel manager found out, he hit the roof and gave his boss a heavy reprimanding for his part in mucking up an important job which had to be completed before the busy Christmas season and it was not in the chief of marketing's job specification to be a graphic designer. The chief of marketing came up with the excuse for rejecting my design as a cost-cutting exercise which turned out to be more expensive after paying me twice.

I was also handed with another brief from the hotel to do their restaurant's New Year's menu with the promise the chief of marketing will not be allowed to push forward his own designs!

Eric5h5
Nov 30, 2007, 04:09 PM
Wow...nothing like a good, happy ending!

--Eric