Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 1 hour 21 min ago

Trustworthy

1 hour 23 min ago

Client: Hi, I need VFX done for this feature film we just finished editing.

Me: Great! Can you send me an NDA for me to sign and a link to the locked edit so I can review the work?

Client: No, I don’t trust people, but you can come to my Hollywood apartment so I can screen it for you!

Me: (already starting to slowly back away from gig) Riiiight…

Me: Just to double-check, what’s your budget for this project?

Client: About $40 per shot.

Hard pass. 

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2000+ Pro design elements for 99% off! Only $12!

20 January 2019 - 12:00pm
2000+ Pro design elements for 99% off! Only $12!

This week’s deal is on an enormous bundle of tools for every occasion! 

> Seriously, it’s got something for everybody, and for every occasion. 

As a designer, your jobs have recurring needs. Every February you need some Valentine’s material, every summer you look for a tropical look, every Black Friday your clients need new marketing materials and you’re ALWAYS looking for great textures to elevate your work! This bundle covers all that and more with over 2000 professionally designed elements that you’ll use time after time, year after year. The gold metallic textures alone are worth their weight in… well, you get it

All the elements in this bundle retail separately for a total of $1600, which is insane, but for the next week you can get all 2000+ for only $12 — which is also insane, but in a good way! 

> Check out the deal here! 

 

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Turd Ferguson

20 January 2019 - 11:00am

Client: Check your email. I sent you something funny.

Me: Um… weird, but okay?

I checked my email and the client had sent a photo of his toilet with a big turd floating in the water.

Me: Why did you send me this?

Client: Tell me that’s not the biggest shit you’ve seen his year.

Me: 

Client: Right? 

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Brochures – the social media of the 21st century

19 January 2019 - 12:00pm

Client: Our focus for the coming year is getting more leads. We need to get the word out there about what we do. 

Me: OK! Let’s optimize the website and run a brand awareness campaign to bring people into some targeted landing pages…

Client: I really don’t think we need the website for this. I have some new brochures bring printed at the moment. That should do it. 

Me: ….

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Turn 360 degrees and leave

19 January 2019 - 11:06am

Client: Can you do something with that graphic of the triangle?

Me: Yes of course, what do you need?

Client: Flip it 360 degrees.

Me: Uhm, do you mean 180?

Client: No, 360.

Me: Sure…

I flipped it 180.

Client: Yeah! That is exactly what I wanted! I don’t know why you didn’t believe me.  

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freaking magnets

18 January 2019 - 11:00am

Client: Please include our brand’s themes of nature, business, and magnets.

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<p>For several months I worked on a

17 January 2019 - 12:00pm

For several months I worked on a moderately large e-commerce website. The site had been online for thirty minutes when I got an email from the client:

Client: Please remove the “soon online” message from the website.

Me: I’m not sure where that you’re seeing that. Could you send a screenshot or a URL so I can see where the issue is?

The client then pasted a google search result link where that message was still in the preview.

Sure lady, I’ll just call Google and have them update the text for you.

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Times New Roman, Extra Bold

17 January 2019 - 11:00am

Client: I want the logo to have a modern feel.

Me: Sure, I’ll create some mockups.

Skip ahead to next week.

Client: I like it but it isn’t quite what I had in mind. Can you just use Times New Roman in extra bold? I really like that font. I use it on everything.

Me:  (struggling to comprehend this request) …?

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<p>I’m a graphics designer at an ad

16 January 2019 - 7:41pm

I’m a graphics designer at an ad agency in Germany.

My client repeatedly asked me for various changes to the designs that were not allowed according to the company’s corporate design guidelines. Eventually, the following happened:

Me: Sorry, these specific changes are not permitted by the design guidelines.

Client: Can’t you just use another program that will allow these changes?

Turns out they thought “corporate design guidelines” were some kind of design software, and that every time we told them we couldn’t do something it was because of technical limitations in our software.

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uhm…

16 January 2019 - 12:00pm

Client: Can you make these elements the same size?

Me: The one platform is much smaller, so not without making the other one smaller.

Client: I know they’re different sizes, that’s fine, but can you increase the small one to match the size of the large one?

Me: …

I actually like this client a lot. Charming, straightforward & accommodating. We all have moments where we need to roll our eyes.

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Just practice drawing until you’re good!

16 January 2019 - 11:00am

I mostly do illustration as a hobby, and I do very few small online commissions. My brother-in-law decided to approach this holiday season to draw for his friend’s newly-designed board game.

Client: So my friend made an amazing sci-fi board game, and the mechanics are basically done. A publisher has contacted us, but we still need an artist. The only artists I know are you and my [12-year-old] daughter, but my daughter’s too scared. You know board games are credited for both their game designer and artist. Think of the fame.

While he’s explaining the game mechanics to me, I’m imagining the tons of illustrations they would need, let alone designing original characters and assets for everything. And of course they’re implying they want free/cheap art, since they want me to do it for exposure AND they thought asking their young daughter is a good idea. I ask to see what else they’re doing about it.

Me:  I don’t specialize in the style you’d want or designing sci-fi things. Why don’t you look for artists online?

Client: Well, my friend has been going on to this site where freelancers bid to take on projects and share samples. But they’re all from India, and my friend’s not happy about the samples he’s getting.

Me: (questioning the credibility of the site, and these guys’ respect for artists and designers) …

Client: Why don’t you just do it? It’s not that hard.

Me: …it takes time to design a cohesive style for characters, ships and whatever else. You want everything to look like the fit in the same world. 

Client: Look , say I want to draw a character with goggles, but I don’t know how to draw goggles. Just go on google and keep drawing a pair of goggles, until you’re confident with drawing goggles on your own.

There were so many things I wanted to say him after that line, but I generally dislike talking to him for other reasons. I just wanted to leave ASAP. Basically, I just felt awkward every time I was in the same room as him for the rest of the holiday. 

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Did I stutter?

15 January 2019 - 12:00pm

Me: Please give me the contact information of the print guys, so I can talk to them directly.

Client: Send me everything and I will send the files to the printing company. 

Me: I need to be able to talk to them in terms of printing and specialized language. Please give me their contact.

Client: We already have a contract. I will send them the files myself.

Me: I’m not talking about a contract. I need a con-TACT from the printing company. I need to talk to them directly. 

Client:  We already have a signed contract. Give me the files and explain to me what I need to tell the printing company.

At this point I get frustrated at the thought of me teaching this guy everything I know, so he can have a professional conversation with the printing company. 

Me: I am not saying anything about a contRact!!! I am talking about a CONTACT, a way to talk directly to the printing guys, an e-mail, a phone number, so I can personally send them the files and answer all the industry specific questions that they might have for me. Please let me do my job and give me the CONTACT info of the printing company. 

Client: Oooooh, okay. 

Me: (fuming forever).

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final changes

15 January 2019 - 11:00am

A client reached out to me with an “urgent request” for “same day delivery.”

Client: Please! I’m doing a presentation and need this immediately! 

I delivered.

Every day for the next two weeks (yes, on weekends too), they sent me additional “final” changes, for a presentation that “happened” two weeks ago.

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<p>Me: I’ve attached your proof to this

14 January 2019 - 1:00pm

Me: I’ve attached your proof to this email.

Client: Should I look at it?

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DIY

14 January 2019 - 12:00pm

I was working as a concept artist for an indie company that wanted to make a video game. They needed a ton of assets and I wasn’t sure if I could fit it in, but they literally begged me to submit an art brief. I agreed.

They sent me a rough concept to go off. I started to put the artwork together, trying to give them a fresh take on the concept.

As time went on, they changed every… tiny… detail of my design to exactly fit the initial concept until they were practically designing it themselves via emails.

At this stage, I lost interest and passion. But when they mentioned working alongside another reputable design studio I sat up and paid attention. Having my work seen by them would be great exposure. Maybe they would hire me someday! These guys were one of the top design studios in my field. 

Client: So we showed your work to that design studio!

Me: Really? W-what did they say?

I was wondering what they thought of it, and nervous that I had no say in any of the design as the client had 100% creative control.

Client: Well, to be honest, they didn’t think you made it.

Me:

Client: They said it looked like you got a totally different artist to work on it.

Sigh. In a way, I guess I had.

I never worked on a second brief for that client.

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Save over 99% on 2000+ stylish and cute vector elements!

13 January 2019 - 12:00pm
Save over 99% on 2000+ stylish and cute vector elements!

This week’s deal is an enormous bundle of high-quality watercolor design elements!

> They’re cute AND elegant. Top that. 

You’re a great designer and a solid illustrator, but that doesn’t mean you’re great at watercolor. That’s where this bundle by Mikibith Art comes in. Harness their skill for your designs!  Deploying subtly beautiful flowers, adorable pets and stylish and adorable characters. The seamless flower textures alone make this bundle worth it, and the rest of the 2000+ add incredible value. Need a “girly” touch to a design? This bundle will get you there, fast. 

The variety this bundle gives you is normally worth $1000, but for the next week you can save over 99% and get all 2000+ elements for only $9. That’s less than half a cent per element. Get this brand new look for your design arsenal at the cost of only two premium coffees. 

> Check out the deal here. 

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<p>Client: I’m making a game, and I

13 January 2019 - 12:00pm

Client: I’m making a game, and I need assets for the tutorial.

Me: Sure, send me the wireframes.

Client: What’s a wireframe?

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<p>I got contacted by an on-again, off

12 January 2019 - 1:00pm

I got contacted by an on-again, off-again client to design their annual breast cancer benefit tee shirt. 

Client: We haven’t been using you for a while since our tee shirt printer guy does our design work for free, but the shirt you did last year was such a huge success and the guy who normally does our designs says your work is on a whole other level, so we really want you to do something unique and knock it out of the park this year.

After getting their thoughts on the general direction of the design, I send them back an eye-catching monochrome vintage tattoo inspired piece that fit with their message of cancer-killing warrior women and the general design brief. 

Client: This is perfect! You totally made everything we envisioned come to life! This is seriously amazing! Now can you just put our logo on the back of the shirt?

I swapped the logo colors to match the pantones we selected for the front of the shirt, added a small breast cancer ribbon and sent over the mockups. 

Client: On second thought, we really loved our logo on the back of the shirt so much that we think THAT should be the front of the shirt. Can you just simplify the current front design and put that on the back instead?

I managed to simplify the front design to something that still remained true to the spirit of the design and put that on the back. I wasn’t thrilled, but what are you going to do.

Client: We changed our mind again, sorry. Can we put the logo back on the back of the shirt, add a few more breast cancer ribbons to it, and then just put a big breast cancer ribbon on the front of the shirt with a quote about breast cancer and our name? We want this to be a super simple design. Thanks!

In the end, they ended up paying for three separate designs and still went with the ultra-generic tee shirt design that their printer could have come up with for free. I got paid, but I’m still bitter.

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<p>I was hired to write daily blog

12 January 2019 - 12:00pm

I was hired to write daily blog posts for a company that sells camping gear. Halfway through the project, I received a notification that it was cancelled and the client was demanding a refund for the last five posts. 

Me: What seems to be the problem?

Client: I checked your last post and it came back as being plagiarized! I will not use any more of your work!

Me: Well I most definitely did not plagiarize anything. Can you show me what got flagged?

The client sent a screenshot. The offending passage was a step-by-step guide on how to use a map and compass to take bearings. The rest of the article was completely clean.

Me: I didn’t plagiarize those steps. They have to be done in that order or the process doesn’t work. Anyone that writes about this topic will have the same steps in the same order. It’s like writing about how to solve an algebraic equation.

Client: I can’t use these! Google will punish me for using plagiarized content. There are plagiarism-checking sites you can pay for – you’re a professional! Use them!

Me: I’m not paying for plagiarism software because I wrote the articles. I didn’t copy/paste anything. Furthermore, with the publishing calendar we laid out, those subscriptions would have cost over $500 which is a third of the project total. If there are specific templates, style guides, or other tools you wish me to use, it is your responsibility to provide them.

At this point, the client began a lengthy rant about how wrong I am. I interrupted him.

Me: Look, you’re not happy with that article. That’s fine. I can provide a refund for just that article. Normally I wouldn’t do that but you’ve been a great client. Will that work for you?

Client: Absolutely not. I demand a full refund for all five articles.

At this point I shrugged and walked away, giving him the full refund. I didn’t think it was worth fighting over.

One week later:

Client: We accidentally deleted our blog and have no backup. Can you send me copies of the articles you wrote?

I sent him all of the ones I actually got paid for.

Client: Can I have those last five, too? I’ll pay you the original contracted amount.

Me: (after a long internal debate on what to say vs. what I’d LIKE to say) Sure. When the check clears, I’ll send them.

It did. I did. The client sent me several emails with happy reaction gifs. WTH?

My question for the writers here: Should we, as the providers, maintain our own accounts with these plagiarism-check sites, or is our clients’ responsibility to make sure our work meets their standards, using whatever methods they choose?

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<p>Contracts that don&#8217;t tell you

11 January 2019 - 2:57pm

Contracts that don’t tell you what you’re agreeing to are totally legal, right

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