Study on the font Arial...and difficult customers.

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Nicolecat, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Nicolecat macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    So, I'm working on a trifold menu for a salon/spa.
    I've worked up a few comps for the owner incorporating the fonts and colors she's been using on other advertising collateral and her bags.

    It flows nice and the fonts are easily legible.
    Here's where the dilemma ensues....
    She called the other day to ask if I could set in in arial because she read a study that consumers who read something in arial are more apt to purchase the product or services as opposed to any other font.
    I haven't seen or heard of this study...anyone know anything about this?

    She also wanted to know if there were a way to set it up as a template where she could go in and change the services and prices.
    I was thinking of just laying out the images and maybe type-setting a word doc for her. The only problem is the layout as it sits isn't the typical 3-column/centered in each panel layout. It would be difficult to do this without murdering the orig. layout. (which if it makes her happy, I would be okay with)
    Any other suggestions?

    She's becoming super cheap and I'm doing this mostly in trade anyway.
    She wants to print it in-house...I think she would be better off having kinko's do it, considering she doesn't have a nice printer. But, I don't think she would be too keen on this idea. She wants to have a high-end product with biglots price, and yet she wants to know if I know of a cheap place to find nice quality paper to use.

    I'm about two steps away from saying, "Have you been to Hobby Lobby or Michaels?" :eek:
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    This survey sounds like complete and utter rubbish. You're the designer, you're the one that should be choosing the typeface... but she's the client, so set it in Arial or try setting it in nicely-set Helvetica and see if she notices...

    Then get the job done, and never do work for her again. After all, once you've done the donkey work, she wants to be able to go and change it, depriving you of future work.

    The time spent hassling with difficult clients is time better spent elsewhere. Do the work, take the money and smile, and don't put this piece in your portfolio unless you're proud of it. Look forward to the next job. :)
  3. SwiftLives macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    Two schools of thought here. On one hand, you're the designer, and she's (theoretically) paying you for your brian. On the other hand, it's her money, and she can ask for what ever she pleases.

    Here are a few ideas and random thoughts:

    Part of designing is being able to BS your way through the pitch. You could get nitpicky and mention that Arial is good for very large signs, but not smaller text as it lacks parallel planes on the stems, ascenders, and descenders. I've found that if you drop a bunch of technical jargon to someone who is trying to show you how much he or she knows, he or she will usually shut up. (I've seen no such study on Arial. I'm thinking she's having some control issues here).

    You might want to go to one of the high-end spas and grab some of their collateral pieces just to show her the contrast. Explain to her that the cost to make it look professional at Kinko's is not significantly more than printing it on her crappy inkjet. (Then, of course, mark up the printing by a good 15-20%). Explain that a higher-end and more professional looking product is going to cater to a higher-end client.

    Finally, a cheap place to find good paper is If It's Paper. I've actually had some fairly good luck there buying individual sheets for a short run.
  4. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    Never heard of that study either :confused:

    As to manually adjustable layout - maybe an editable pdf could be done with boxes in relevant places?

    As much I dislike this myself, you can do a word template with 3 columns easy enough although theres the obvious pitfalls. You can also do the 3 columns using the 'text box' (in in 'insert' on mine) - but damn is that annoying if you ever want to change stuff (I hate it when stuff is done this way)

    Another option and I think this is what your client is after is a publisher file (I bet she uses windows anyways) - perfect for her, home print, cheap and editable :)
  5. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    Have her watch Helvetica. Thats all I can say on that matter. Really as long as the lettering is simple and easy to read you should be good.

    I like the idea of showing her other salon work to compare and then if possible compare your price with others. I would think there could be something set up where you could go in and make changes to it later down the in instead of letting her do it. I have never seen a project taken over by a customer turn out as good as the original whether it be in graphics or IT. I would think adding a rather small charge to go in and update pricing or what ever would not be out of the question, and would only take you a few minutes.
  6. Nicolecat thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    Yeah, I'm kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place...

    I did the wedding invites for one of her stylists...
    She was a very good friend of mine, and I was able to do them at cost of supply for her as part of her wedding gift.

    The salon owner saw them and knew how much my friend spent on the products, and assumed that was including my design fee. It's all a mess.
    Anyway, I'm doing this menu for the owner because what she had was very unprofessional looking, and was done on an inkjet in the back room.
    I am only charging like $45 for the whole project which includes a color proof and a grayscale proof (for the larger runs she might need to make).
    I'm getting severely discounted haircuts, per my friend. As part of the 'trade' the owner is relinquishing the salon's take for when my friend cuts my hair.

    Would it be unreasonable to simply say that I could make the changes for somewhere in the ballpark of half my normal freelance charge?...if it isn't a total design rehaul or massive changes. Or should I just change the original layout to something more word or publisher friendly?

    Thanks for the advice thus far.
  7. Kwill macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2003
    You seem to have several questions...

    Information on "the study" may be found here. I'm not saying I agree but the research does exist.

    You might create a PDF without prices. Acrobat Professional allows editable fields to be added.

    The amount you are receiving in payment is hair too little (pun intended).
  8. Nicolecat thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    Not so much as a vast quantity of questions as much as I don't have a handle on how to handle the situation. (no pun intended)
    Thank you so much...I couldn't find this.
    I wish it were this easy, but she wants to be able to edit which services are on her menu as well as the pricing.
    Pun away...I agree it's too little. That's why I'm trying to figure out how to handle the situation. :(
  9. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    Except that study is all about text online, not in print, and has nothing to do with its supposed marketing power, which is what this client is apparently alleging. In fact, this gives Nicolecat a good reason to turn around and say why not. :D

    However, if she wants to edit the whole thing, do it in a font she has on her machine. ;)
  10. Kwill macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2003
    Agreed. It reminds me of a customer that "read somewhere" that reversed out text is least legible so rejected any packaging or poster design that contained a reversed headline. (To bad the original assertion applied to small body copy... or white text reversed out of a light background.) Having access to an actual study provides a frame of reference for discussion... even though many clients interpret as they please.
  11. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    Just remember.

    The client is paying and it isn't Comic Sans.
  12. smurfjammer macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2004
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Just use Helvetica and tell her that it's Arial - that's what I always do when a client requests Arial (they don't know the difference anyway)
  13. Kwill macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2003
    Extricate yourself as soon as possible: I am certain your compensation is already spent. Define agreement boundaries. Specify how many haircuts you are to receive for what you've already completed. That's one transaction. Then specify compensation required for a user-modifiable document. Acrobat will allow you specify the font and you could make more than the prices editable. Of course typography will lack kerning and leading control (so that part will look like it was done in Word).

    You might say: "A user-modifiable document generally runs at least twice (or 3x) as much. There's only so many haircuts I can take in trade, so the full price to accommodate your request will be $$$."
  14. AlexisV macrumors 68000


    Mar 12, 2007
    Manchester, UK
    Yes! That's what I'd do.

    I had a client from hell last week - she wanted the heading of her poster in Bauhaus. It's illegible and looks like sh**, but what can you do?
  15. Krebstar macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2008
    Why do I just have a feeling if this study was done with Helvetica, it would have the same, if not better results. The person who did the study most likely does not know the existence of Helvetica, or how Arial came about. Grrrrrr.
  16. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    Good to hear I'm not the only one with experiences like these. :D

    Imo there are 2 types of clients you do cheap work for.

    #1 really appreciates your effort and is perfectly happy with whatever they get because they know your work and say "thank you" 1000 times. They can't afford more for whatever reasons and feel sorry for each minor change they have to ask you for.

    #2 thinks because it doesn't cost much it is cheap and easy. What costs nothing is worth nothing, if you know what I mean. Some of the worst experiences in my career were with people like these. The problem is, sometimes you don't know it in the beginning. They can be really nice at the first 2 meetings but turn into nothing but anger and frustration as the project goes on... the only thing left to do is finish it as quickly as possible and run.
  17. decksnap macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2003
    Why bother? If they request garbage, they deserve it. Punt it.
  18. NXTMIKE macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2008
    Client Headaches

    I always get these client headaches when they want cheaper and cheaper solutions and always ask for you to commit a 'designer sin'. (that's what i call them). I personally hate seeing Times New Roman or Arial on anything, but then again, confuse her by using Helvetica or Myriad or some other similar sans-serif font.

    Good luck! :cool:

    ...but then again you need to remember - whatever makes them happy makes them happy and you get $$$. (unfortunately it may not end up being a piece you want to put in your portfolio)
  19. Nicolecat thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    Yeah, making the customer happy is usually/always first on my list...because happy customers normally means repeat business. (Which is always a plus) :)

    Thanks everyone for the feedback! All was much appreciated. :D
  20. a cat *miaow* macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2007
    I'd agree with others and say just do it, your time is better spent not arguing the toss with someone who's going to get the final product badly produced.

    Say you'll do it but recommend not to – if someone isn't going to listen to your professional opinion then there's not much you can do.. just get the money!
  21. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Oh yes. An interesting idea. Actually, I really dislike Arial and cannot understand why it seems to be such a favourite and has become a sort of ghastly industrial standard (possibly something to do with its location in the alphabet and consequent inertia land lack of imagination on the part of some users). It is so unimaginative, and I would have questions over the number of fonts used by such a study.

    Helvetica is a nice clean font (and I'm rather fond of Times New Roman too, but prefer Garamond and Arno).

  22. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Just say "Ok, OK,,,", what ever it takes to make this end quickly, hand over an MS Word document and leave. $45 is not worth another 30 minutes of you time.
  23. Nicolecat thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    pretty much.

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