13 Designers Share Unbelievable Tales Of How Stupid Design Clients Can Be

Compiled from my new favorite subreddit, r/talesfromdesigners.
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

“Can you replace lorem ipsum with sample text?

I’m paraphrasing the actual story (which contains even more hair-tearing) but today:

Client: Hi, I like the layout, but I don’t particularly like the text you put in section A.
Me: Oh, do you mean the lorem ipsum? That’s just placeholder text.
C: Yeah, I don’t like that. Can you put something else in there?
M: Do you have any sample text you’d like to put in there instead?
C: No. Can’t you just fill it with some junk text?

“We can’t use those images, they’re in color”

Manager got upset because all the stock images I sourced were in colour. He was actually really angry that I’d wasted half a day. On telling him that I could make them black and white:

“Oh, do you have software that can do that?”
That line came from an advertising company head with 30+ years experience.

“You submit your work, and I pay you based on how long I think it took you. No need for timesheets”

Saw a Craigslist ad for a t-shirt company needing help with color separation and artwork design. Went in to at least get info from him.

First things first: He asked me for samples of my work when I went in. I told him “I sent you my portfolio” he responded “Oh I didn’t even really look at it; my web guy saw it though.”

Then he says he pays per job. His reply was “Well you give me your work and I look it over and figure out how long it probably took you to whip it out (not taking into account drafting and brainstorming time) and pay you 15-20/hour based on how long I think you took.”

Yeah. Not contacting him again.

“This is not my fault”

Customer: This is printed wrong.
Me: Didn’t we do a proof?
C: Yes.
Me: It looks just like the proof.
C: Yes.
Me: Then what is wrong?
C: The gray levels aren’t right.
Me: They are the same as the proof.
C: No, the proof was only for placement. Not for colors and levels.
Me: What would give you that idea? It’s a Proof. We call it a proof for a reason.
C: No, it was only for placement. I wouldn’t approve it.
Me: But…you…did?
C: Yes. This is not my fault.

“Put this QR code on the front page of our website”

After blankly staring at my email for a few moments, a long sigh, and a trip to refresh my coffee, I set about attempting to politely explain the concept of QR codes and why this would make absolutely no sense.

Wish me luck.

“Your website should show our company first”

So I was building a custom website with built-in webshop for an international client.

Drinking gallons of coffee, I was trying hard to keep up with 3 employees sending me feedback, requests and changes.

As usual I added a small ‘design & development by’ line in the footer with a link to my website. A few days later the stupidest of the three sent me a scanned print-out of a screenshot with questionmarks written on it next to the footer link. In the e-mail he said the following:

“When people click that link, the attention to our company is very little. Please change your website so that they first see our company, then your stuff.”

“Please remove the elephant”

“And can you get rid of that bloody elephant?”

“Elephant?” (I’m totally puzzled)

“Yeah, the elephant you put on the site, I don’t know why but I want it gone”

“… Uhh, I don’t actually know what you’re talking about, if I bring up the site can you show me?”

So I bring up the site, start to scroll down.. “THERE! That bloody elephant. And that guy from Star Wars – what were you thinking?”

I look and he’s pointing at the “like on Facebook” widget that shows profile pic thumbnails – and the elephant turned out to be one of his friends. Certainly had me puzzled at first. Even after I explained he demanded I removed it – so I just hid the faces part.

“Can you add this shitty cell phone picture to our professional banner?”

Client I work with regularly wants a new set of banners for advetising. They have three logos (none made by me, don’t know where they got them). Just sent me a grainy (possibly an Instagram filter) cell phone image of their business card, half covered by the contact information. Yup, I can throw that right on your 8′ x 3′ banner, no problem. Happy Monday.

These are the steps a client went through to send me a “screenshot”

I had a client send me a screenshot of his website to point out a problem. What he did was take an actual photo of the screen with his phone, sync it with his computer, paste the photo into a word document, and finally sent me the word document with only the picture from his phone.

My best of from 8 years in the field

Boss: “We need a new company logo. We’re going into 20 years of business, we need to reinvent ourselves. So I just need the business name in 100 different fonts and I’ll pick the one I like.”

Same boss as above: “I want the logo big.” (Gestures with hands) “Like, really big. Obnoxiously big. I want someone to think, Wow. His logo is really big.”

Manager: “Can we move that logo 2mm to the right?” (Left it as is and re-sent). “See how much better that looks? I thought YOU were supposed to be the designer, not me.”

Client: “Can you send that photo back to me? I only have one copy.” After client emailed me a photo.

Boss: “You’re young and listen to iPods and stuff. And you work with computers. The printer is broken, can you fix it so we don’t have to call tech support?

Client: “The photo is too pixelated. Can you enhance it? Why not?! That’s your job!”

Client: “I was thinking of paying like, $50 and getting say 10 designers to do me a logo. That sounds about fair, doesn’t it? Then I can pick the best.”

Manager: “Can you download the photos from my camera to the computer? I don’t know how to do it. Also, there’s one of me in a red dress. Can you make me skinny? And bigger boobs. But don’t tell anyone. I want people to think I look hot.

“Why can’t you just do it for free?”

After doing a client very small $1,000 e-commerce site, where everything went well and the site was live with no problems, everyone was happy. A few weeks later he starts complaining because it’s not as custom or functional as his high profile competitor’s, including their very extensive e-commerce sections. I explained to him they probably spent well over 10s of thousands of dollars on their websites and may even have professional web developers on staff full time to manage it.

His reply? Why can’t you just do it? You promised a professional e-commerce website. What’s the difference?

“Yeah… I’m just not going to pay you”

So I’m just starting web design and development, and I found this guy on craigslist. He said he needed a 1 page site and will pay $300. Not much, but okay, first ‘real’ job so it’s fine.

He gives me 50 upfront then I start. Once I finish I tell him I won’t hand the site over unless he pays the full price, or if I have complete control over the host so I can take it down. He says he gets paid on Friday (it was Sunday night) so he lets me take control of the hosting.

That week passes, nothing. I ask him and he says he’ll get it to me soon. Another week, nothing. I then went on vacation for 2 and a half weeks and pretty much forgot about it. Now this is where it gets good.

By now it’s been about 2 months, and I have seen $50/$300. So I tell him he has one week to get me the money or his site is coming down. I email all three addresses I have for him. No reply. I send him a LinkedIn message – nothing. Facebook – nothing. The night before I was going to shut it down I go on the host, and his email is there. So I open it to see if he was legitimately not getting my emails. The emails I sent him were unopened and in the trash.

For a last effort, I find him on twitter (he was very active there) and tweet him that I sent him one last email, and hopefully he reads this one. He tweets back that he will shoot me an email later.

A few hours later I get an email where he says that it’s fine if I shut the site down, it was just a temporary business he made and he just finished with it. I want to kill him by now. But next… he has the nerve to say that he is starting a real business next month and wants me to make a website. He said he would definitely pay me for that one, admitting that he isn’t going to pay me for the one I already made him.

I told him to fuck off.

“WordPress is being rude to me”

This was in my inbox this morning.

“I need you to change WordPress or we need to go with something else. WordPress is rude and sounds very uneducated. I am a professional & would like a more professional website option.”

She was referring to the “Howdy Linda” greeting from WordPress when you login. TC mark

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