Clients from Hell

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A collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from designers.
Updated: 2 hours 33 min ago

109 Fonts and 2000+ graphics for $14! Save 99%!

24 June 2018 - 3:20pm

This week’s deal is (and I’m going to use the technical term here) GINORMOUS.

> That’s 109 fonts and 2000 graphics for only $14.

I’ve been scanning through this bundle for the last ten minutes, and there is A LOT here. A variety of fonts, a collection of really nice watercolor graphic elements (including repeating patterns!), some really gorgeous stock photos, textured backgrounds and more. I’m reeling with the possibilities, and I think you will too. This bundle could be the cornerstone of your designs for the next year or more, and it’s only $14.

Altogether, everything in this bundle would retail for $1830 at full price, but for a few more days you can get EVERYTHING HERE for only $14 (99% off!). Even if you only use 2-3 of these items it’s already worth it, and I can imagine using dozens, if not hundreds. 

> Check out the deal here. 

"I understand your request for a contract, however this is not a contractual gig. You’ll just have to..."

24 June 2018 - 1:40pm
“I understand your request for a contract, however this is not a contractual gig. You’ll just have to trust me that I pay on time.”

- NOPE

Picking colors from the color picker in Photoshop with a client looking over my shoulder: Client: I...

23 June 2018 - 3:20pm

Picking colors from the color picker in Photoshop with a client looking over my shoulder:

Client: I want a sapphire blue, I don’t know if your software has that blue, just type in sapphire and let’s see…

Me:

Later, when we did find a color the client liked.

Client: I was thinking I want to name it Cat’s Eye, but you know what we could do? We could spell it with a K to make it more original! You know? Wouldn’t that be cool?

I’m pretty sure the client thinks we invented the color.

Client:  (via email) Wondering if this link is available and active.I click the link. It takes me to...

23 June 2018 - 1:40pm

Client:  (via email) Wondering if this link is available and active.

I click the link. It takes me to the page, which is working and functional.

Me: Yes, this link is both available and active.

Client: Great, thanks for checking that.

Me internally: Did you seriously just SEND ME AN EMAIL to ask me to click a link for you?

Me: Did it give you an error message? Client: I don’t know, I’m not a computer person.

22 June 2018 - 3:20pm

Me: Did it give you an error message? 

Client: I don’t know, I’m not a computer person.

The past couple of years, our agency has done a brochure for a company that then takes the files and...

22 June 2018 - 1:40pm

The past couple of years, our agency has done a brochure for a company that then takes the files and changes out pictures, colors and text for different target audiences. We typically design brochures in InDesign, package the files and send them off. This year, the client was about to begin the project and sent this email:

Client: To be 100% honest, we found the InDesign file to have some limitations on the main page of the brochure so we recreated it in Photoshop. I can send you some files if you want but just felt like the extension of the boxes added too much time. I would love to get a fresh look for 2017, but not sure if they can work in Photoshop for the Main File and then we can just add the text for the entire schedule in InDesign.

He sent the Photoshop files they recreated back to us so we could understand what they did, and yes, they did recreate the whole brochure in Photoshop. So, this year, we did exactly what was requested. We designed the brochure in Photoshop and added some text in InDesign. Through a serious of edits, they made the brochure look bad but were happy with it in the end, so we packaged the file up and sent it to them. The main design was done in Photoshop, per their request (since we would have done it in InDesign otherwise). Then we received this email: 

Client: Based on all the files, I am not sure this was sent correctly because it was our understanding that all the links would be able to be swapped out and these files are just layered PSDs.  Last time we were able to go into the InDesign file and swap pics in and out. Please advise.

So basically they still wanted the functionality of InDesign without actually USING InDesign.

I don’t know what he was thinking this whole time, but I do know whatever we would have done would have been wrong. 

Say NOTHING!

21 June 2018 - 3:20pm

Client: Swap out that photo. The man with the beard looks like a pedophile.

Client’s employee: (passing by) Hey, that looks like my brother!

Me: ….

I work as an architectural draftsman. Once I made a concept for a house. I send it to the client as...

21 June 2018 - 1:40pm

I work as an architectural draftsman. Once I made a concept for a house. I send it to the client as PDF via e-mail so that he could review it and make changes. Instead of making the changes directly in the PDF or print it, scribble the changes on it with a pen, scan it and send it back via e-mail, he calls me:

Client: There are some changes that I want you to do in the draft. Some walls need to be moved. Starting with this wall.

Over the phone, I heard an audible tap on a piece of paper.

Me: Sure, no problem. I can do that, but can you be more specific about which wall you mean?

Client: This wall right here!

Once again, I heard him tap on the paper.

Me: I’m sorry, but I don’t know which one you mean because…

Client: (cuts me off) If you go from the living room to the kitchen and then to the next room, that wall there!

At this point, the tap on the paper is angrier.

Me: Sorry, but I can’t see which wall you’re pointing at.

Client: (shouts) WHY NOT? CAN YOU MOVE THAT WALL NOW OR NOT?

Me: …

I work at a small company in a position unrelated to any design discipline but have a strong...

20 June 2018 - 3:20pm

I work at a small company in a position unrelated to any design discipline but have a strong background and a good eye for design. I’d volunteered to take on designing some things like posters, banners, and images, mostly because my boss won’t pay anyone to do it and it physically hurts me to look at our poorly-designed elements. What I hoped to accomplish was change my boss’ mind when it comes to the importance of good design, and open their eyes to the time and effort that goes into designing anything.

That was mistake number one.

Recently, I had re-made our entire company website, keeping all of the content but completely revamping the look, functionality, images, and overall quality. I spent days on research and actually building the website so that the result was something I could be proud of. I worked on my hours off because there was no time to do it at work.

Mistake number two.

Me: Here’s the new design; I’ve incorporated a company logo, included images, call to action, company info, cleaned up the clutter, and made it more user-friendly.

Client: I don’t like the company logo, we don’t need one. The design and colors look too plain. 

Me: Ok, how about I show you the rest of the website – this is only the landing page.

Client: The design looks too distracting and busy. 

Me, already at a loss for words because it was the same design they called plain a second ago: Ok, I can look into tweaking the design.

Client: It looks too… (insert a bunch of adjectives here that all contradict each other) Oh, I know! Let’s get everyone here to look at it and see what they want to change about it!

Me: That’s not… it’s not…

Too late, everyone gathers around.

Client(s): Why did you put that photo of clouds there? What does it mean? It doesn’t “speak” to the other images. The clouds don’t have anything to do with what we do.

Me: They’re not there to showcase what we do. It’s a passive image, there to add texture and keep in line with our blue color scheme.

Client(s): But what does it MEAN?

Me: There were flowers on the home page and no one asked what those meant.

Client(s): Yeah, but those look nice.

Me: That’s why the clouds are there. To “look nice”. 

Client(s): How about something more abstract? Like a picture of wood?

Me: How is wood abstract-

Client(s): I don’t know. I just think it needs to be something else.

Me: What do you suggest?

Client(s): I don’t know. 

No good deed goes unpunished. I’ve started looking up freelance designers that they can pay to do the work for them. 

Client: How’s the project coming? We are approaching deadline.Me: I’ve asked you for a due date...

20 June 2018 - 1:40pm

Client: How’s the project coming? We are approaching deadline.

Me: I’ve asked you for a due date several times and you still haven’t provided one. What is the deadline?

Client: There isn’t one, but we are approaching it.

I guess I’m on schedule.

I worked as a web dev on this client’s business site. I was not being paid to troubleshoot.-All...

19 June 2018 - 3:20pm

I worked as a web dev on this client’s business site. I was not being paid to troubleshoot.

-All emails sent to the client’s business email address bounced – and that’s just for starters.

Client: When I click the “email us” icon in Chrome, it doesn’t work. What did you do?

Me: Hmm… that functionality shouldn’t have changed at all. Maybe it’s your browser settings – can you use the “mailto” function on other websites?

Yes: Yes! Just fix it.

At this point, the client proposed a ‘solution’ that doesn’t address the problem at all and called me “incompetent” when I informed them of this.

Turns out, the client had “mailto” functionality turned off in chrome and lied about it working on other sites.

Client: Wait, did YOU draw this?Me: Well, yeah… that’s why you hired me.Client: Oh! I thought you...

19 June 2018 - 1:40pm

Client: Wait, did YOU draw this?

Me: Well, yeah… that’s why you hired me.

Client: Oh! I thought you just took this from google and changed the words!

Me: No… that would be illegal.

Client: Huh!

I was doing marketing for a restaurant, and the client needed a full-page, full-color newspaper ad...

18 June 2018 - 3:20pm

I was doing marketing for a restaurant, and the client needed a full-page, full-color newspaper ad for a local paper. After nailing down the details on what to include, they gave me a “timeline.”

Client: We have some time now – can you turn that around in the next five minutes?

Me: Uh… no. No. No way. This will take a couple of hours at least.

Client: You’re being confrontational. Just say “yes” and make it happen.

Already pretty bad, right? Well, they added insult to injury:

Client: Okay, take three days. But just to let you know, we’re also going to design an ad in those three days and I’ll decide which one is better.

I quit the next day.

I work for a translation company and we have a frequent client who simply refuses to make things...

18 June 2018 - 1:40pm

I work for a translation company and we have a frequent client who simply refuses to make things easy.

Client: (emails order form without any attached files) This is a preview form and it will also be sent to you by fax together with the actual foreign text.

The administrative staff are about to lose it since the client always sends duplicate orders this way. A fax with the actual order arrives 30 minutes later. They want a translation of a printed text from the internet. In addition, the print has become all pixelated and unreadable. Of course, they additionally want this on express delivery….

Me: Could you please email me a better copy of your order since the translator won’t be able to read this here source file? Your fax made it pixelated on transmission.

Client: Sure, I’ll send it by snail mail.

Me: Fine, that would do. Please write your postal address and booking number so we can put the papers in the correct folder.

The client does not respond to my reply. Two days later (!) the text arrives. Remember, they wanted express delivery… But that’s not all. The client has printed out my request email and ignored that I kindly asked for a postal address and booking number. 

When the translation is ready, I’m unable to fax it because of an error. Their fax machine can’t be reached. I send them another email about it.

Me: Our fax won’t come through since your machine doesn’t respond. That means we can’t send you the translation by fax. Would email delivery be okay?

Client: No. Please don’t email it! The translation contains confidential information! Someone could snatch it if it gets on the cloud.

Well, it’s actually a printed webpage that has been on the internet for a few weeks, maybe longer… It was obviously not confidential at all. I contacted them again and asked for the postal code. No response. I actually ended up googling where to send the delivery. I know I got the right address, but nevertheless

A month later the client sends a message:

Client: It seems like we haven’t received this particular translation. Would you please be able to check what has happened to it?

Me: ….

The Big Book of Font Combinations — $13!

17 June 2018 - 3:20pm

This week’s deal is on an invaluable resource for designers  — The Big Book of Font Combinations!

> This is useful whether you’re an expert or a newbie designer.

The Big Book of Font Combinations is a historic deep dive into the font pairings that have defined design since Gutenberg created his print press. Delivered as a 100% Vector, fully searchable PDF! This text features 370 pages PACKED with inspirational combinations that will make you a better designer! Learn about the history of your craft, or just shamelessly swipe combo ideas from the greatest designers the world has ever known. 

The Big Book of Font Combinations retails for $25, but for just a few more days you can save 48% and only pay $13. That’s a small price for a resource you’ll use time and time again. 

> Check out the deal here.

Me: (Fixes clients computer problem for the agreed price in a couple minutes)Client: You only did a...

17 June 2018 - 1:40pm

Me: (Fixes clients computer problem for the agreed price in a couple minutes)

Client: You only did a few minutes of work! That’s not worth $50.

Me: Price sheet is right here. You agreed to it. Also, I fixed your computer, so…

Client: I’m not paying for that, you hardly did anything!

Me: Well you won’t get your device back until you pay, so good luck with that.

Client: You can’t do that!

Me: I can when a shitty client doesn’t pay for work they couldn’t do themselves.

Client: I need some postcards for an event I’m going to in August. They need to explain our...

16 June 2018 - 3:20pm

Client: I need some postcards for an event I’m going to in August. They need to explain our services. And please don’t leave it too late, I want them ready by July.

Me: Thanks for your request, we can definitely help you with that and there’s plenty of time to get it done. We’ll need some content from you though before we can get started. Can you send me over some information about your services and an idea of the kind of images/logos etc you’d like to include?

Four weeks later and no response from client…

Me: Hi there, I was just wondering if you’ve had a chance to have a think about what you’d like your postcards to include? We’re only a few weeks away from your deadline so I need to get started on the designs ASAP. I’m happy to meet up for a chat if you’re unsure of what to include?

Another two weeks go by…

Client: How are my postcards coming along? I need them this week. Don’t forget, I told you not to leave it too late! 

Me: (Curls up in a ball under desk and sobs…)

Me: What’s your budget?Client: Our budget is the best we can get for the least amount of money.

16 June 2018 - 1:40pm

Me: What’s your budget?

Client: Our budget is the best we can get for the least amount of money.

Client: What’s taking so long with my sign? It’s been a few weeks since I ordered it, and I still...

15 June 2018 - 3:20pm

Client: What’s taking so long with my sign? It’s been a few weeks since I ordered it, and I still didn’t see any designs yet.

Me: Didn’t you get the sketches yet? I mailed them last week. 

Client: Oh… so that’s what it was? I did get something from you, but I thought it was a bill, so I trashed it.

Me: ….

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