Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 26 min 38 sec ago

Crazy huge bundle $14! 99% off!

6 hours 43 min ago

This week’s deal is so good, it’s stupid. 100+ Fonts and 1500+ graphics for $14. 

> Seriously. That’s a lot. 

Like, a lot a lot. $14 gives you a whole host of new fonts to play with, and high-res backgrounds, textures, hand-drawn illustrations, and so much more. You could conceivably have a full, successful design career based on just the elements in this bundle – or you could definitely reinvigorate an already successful one. Sell one design with one of these elements and you’re laughing. Sell 100 designs with 100s of these elements, and you’re a pro. 

Buying all the elements in this package individually would add up to $1630, which is already a dollar per element. For just a few more days, you can get all 100+ fonts and 1500+ graphics for just $14, or 99% off. If you buy one design bundle this year, this should be the one.

> Check out the deal here. 

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Nice to meet you

7 hours 43 min ago

I run a small WordPress site for one of my clients. Recently, they got a new business partner. This is how our first conversation went: 

New Business Partner: Hi! I’m looking forward to working with you. I know my way around WordPress, so we won’t bug you with every little thing from now on! 

Me: Hi! It’s nice to meet you!

Literally five minutes later:

New Business Partner: I’m so sorry, it looks like I broke the whole website. 

He actually did. 

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Never work for family.

20 July 2019 - 3:00pm

I’m currently unemployed/freelancing here and there, and I offered to make a new website for my dad’s company since his current one was seriously outdated. I pitched him the idea and even offered to take photos of all his products for the site. He agreed and we settled on a price.

Now that the site is COMPLETE, he wanted to give me only half of the payment until we could “sit down and go over what needs to be corrected” which won’t be for at least two weeks. He also says I need to present the site to his management—NOT discussed beforehand— in a thirty minute presentation. It’s a basic site with five pages and some photos.

He’s also telling me that I need to “go the extra mile” and “this attitude will serve me well in life.”

You know what will serve me well in life? Having a contract, not being taken advantage of, being firm with my worth and my time, and not working for family ever again.

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User Submitted Post

20 July 2019 - 2:00pm

I had a meeting with a potential client to review a marketing campaign, and this involved their website.

Client: Our last web designer has left. As you can see, their work was an abomination.

Me: Yeah, it could be a lot better. It will need a redesign as part of what you’ve discussed for the new campaign.

Client: Yep. It’s really disappointing they left – they offered us free changes for a year in their price, which we paid in full and upfront. Serves us right for hiring a college kid, I guess.

After getting the full scope of the work, I give a detailed quote that included the website redesign.

Client: Nice try with the quote! But we caught you!

Me: Huh?

Client: You try sneaking in a few for the website as well! We’ve already paid for it, so we won’t pay again!

Me: We’ve never worked together before, so we’ve never had any payments from you?

Client: Bulls**t! I know you creative millennials are all leftie-socialist pigs, living your communal lifestyles on the back of hard-working folk like us! We’ve paid you once for the website and like f*** we’re going to pay you again!

Client at this point shows me some Alex-Jones-Infowars inspired news article claiming all socialists have one central bank account that they receive payments into and draw money from. 

Me: I don’t think we’re a good fit for each other. I’ll see myself out.

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Sending file

19 July 2019 - 3:00pm

Yesterday a client came into my graphic studio to print some booklets. I had never met him before.

Client: What’s your email? I’ll just send you the file that way. 

When I checked my email and what I had was an email with a link to the website of google drive and the written email address and password of the account.. So… the client straight away gave me his email information. So now, if I wanted, I could send emails to everyone from his email account, check what he receives and know all his secrets! 

Also important to mention, he wasn’t a normal day to day client that wanted something silly to be printed. He worked for a political party. 

Also also: the files were done in PowerPoint with fucked up sizes and he kept saying: “you can do this quickly, it’s easy.” 



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Contstructive feedback…..

19 July 2019 - 2:00pm

I was designing a flyer for a client. They gave me so many revisions that it was now more their own design than mine. Eventually when they ran out of “constructive” feedback: 

Client: I feel like all the elements are good but I feel the feng shui is a bit off. I don’t know how to suggest to fix it. Anyway, if you find this impossible to understand we can leave it as is it guess…..

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Squeeze me, daddy.

18 July 2019 - 3:00pm

I created new branding for a small fruit orchard business, including logo, website, video material, print materials, package design, etc. We differentiated the product from the few competitors who went for ‘funky’, by going for a classic, premium look. It was well-received by the client and their customers.

Six months after the bulk of materials were done the client was still requesting new product designs.

Client: Could you create a cartoon fruit mascot character? Like a mom and pop fruit stall on the roadside would have. I have written a treatment, see attached.

The write-up killed me. It contained phrases such as “I’m a sweet, juicy lime…” and “you can cut me, squeeze me, juice me, whatever you want!” That and a few other phrases accidentally made the character sound overtly sexual and somewhat kinky.

Fortunately we were able to convince them that this was not in line with the brand, and we haven’t had to deal with any more ideas spawned from cocktail hour.


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Fight for your font

18 July 2019 - 2:00pm

I worked as an external programmer for a graphic design agency; it was my first job for them.

They told me that it took two years to discuss the design with their client. I saw about 50 different pdf-files with slightly different colors and illustrations. I thought this meant the issue had been thoroughly discussed and was decided.

I’ve never been more wrong. Nothing was clear, everything was up for argument. Every time the client emailed us they asked for another minute change to the typography: kerning, line-height, anti-aliasing, font-smoothing. We actually discussed quarter-pixel values. Again: I was a programmer – this shouldn’t have been my problem. But it was. 

After 10 weeks I finally finished my work. All I had to do was transfer the website to the server. Then I received another mail from the agency:

Agency: The client found out that the font we used will cost a license fee. They will not pay it. Use an GoogleFont instead.

Then the whole process started over from the beginning. 

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User Submitted Post

17 July 2019 - 3:00pm

I’ve spent and charged a ridiculous amount of time to a client regarding a set of icons meant to communicate the speed and direction of a vehicle being displayed on a map. I kept pushing for a clean, easy to read design, the client kept asking for messy, ugly features that muddied the information.

I finally thought we were ready to wrap up the design and then I got this feedback…

Client: Can we have speed lines coming off it, similar to this image?

Attachment: .jpg


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User Submitted Post

17 July 2019 - 2:13pm

Two people I knew were setting up a podcast and asked if I would like to be involved. One of them already had a successful web series, so I was confident things would pan out.

I offered to design a logo for free since I was going to be a key member of the project:

Client: No, no. We’ll pay the market rate

I was thrilled. Eventually, we settled on a design we were all happy with.

A few weeks went by when I didn’t hear anything. I posted several messages in the Slack chat we had created for the podcast.

Me: Hi, guys, just wondering where things on your side?

I didn’t get a response. In fact, I never heard from either of them again. It turns out that the two of them were dating when they came up with the idea for the project and I had no idea. The silence in the Slack corresponded to what had apparently been a very messy breakup. They were no longer on speaking terms. Needless to say, the project didn’t go anywhere. I never did get paid.

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User Submitted Post

16 July 2019 - 3:00pm

I once volunteered (I know, I know) to make posters advertising a pantomime production to raise money for charity. I had some friends acting in the show and thought it would be a nice thing to do, so I signed up.

I asked for the information and the vibe they were going for and started designing. A few days later, I got an email.

Client: We’ve just secured the artist we’re using for the poster art, they’ll send you a copy of the artwork as soon as it’s finished!

This was the first I’d heard of any artist, but it meant less work for me if all I had to do was put the text on the image, so I readily agreed. Little did I know that was only the beginning. 

Artist: I’ve finished the artwork, when would you like to come to pick it up?

This was the first I’d heard about having to pick it up. They lived quite a way away and there was no way I could afford to travel to collect one piece of art for a volunteer project.

Me: Could you scan it instead?

Artist: I don’t know how to scan images, is a photograph okay?

By this point, the play was about two weeks away, so I just agreed and spent the day trying to clear up a shaky photograph and added the text. I sent it into the client.

Client: Great, now can you set up the ticketing? Also, can you send these to a printer and have them printed onto A3 gloss paper? Also, we’ve made you an administrator on the play’s Facebook event page, can you update it and post photographs/bios of the actors?

Me: I didn’t agree to do any of that. I don’t even have enough information to set up the ticketing, only you can do that. I’m not organizing the printing either but I can recommend a reputable printer.

I even arranged for someone else to take photos of the actors and upload bios of the actors. After all that, I thought I was done. A couple of days later, however, I got another email.

Client: The posters have arrived! They look great! Please come down later today and post them around town. The production is soon!

I was blown away that they thought this was part of my job.

Still,  because of a mixture of incredulity and desire to have someone actually buy tickets to this pantomime (it was for charity after all), I actually did go down to the theatre with a friend and spent the afternoon walking around town distributing posters.

Never again.

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User Submitted Post

16 July 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: I want this to logo to look classy. Elegant. Like Disney. Can it have stars, and a moon? I want it to be clever. Do you know the golden ratio? Do you use the golden ratio in your designs? I want you to look that up. Can all the letters look like musical notes?

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“I can get someone in India to do this for £5!”

15 July 2019 - 3:00pm

I was working for a mid-size marketing company as their sole Graphic Designer and Developer, both for in-house and client work. As requested I built a quiz/survey product for them that we could quickly turn around and sell on to clients as a “bespoke” product, somehow managing to develop a v1 inside of 5 days whilst handling all my other usual tasks. It was a working product, including a whole library of custom CSS animations and a whole host of other features. I proudly presented this to the director.

Client: …Where’s the rest of it?

Me: The rest of it?

Client:  I could have got some guy in India to build this for £5… It’s taken you 5 days, that’s cost me £3000!

Me: (ignoring the brazen insult) …Not really. It’s cost you a week of my wage, as this was built internally for our product line and not for a client in particular. That money can be made back in 1 order at your rates, by the way. And besides I could have turned it around quicker if I wasn’t covering other projects during that time. 

Director: I don’t think you’re THAT busy.

Me: …

Soon after this meeting, they decided to let me go (despite my manager and other managers contesting the decision as a bad idea). Then I saw 2 job openings for the company, 1 for a developer, and 1 for a graphic designer.

They needed two people to replace me, but I “wasn’t THAT busy”? 

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My Designer is a Guru…

15 July 2019 - 2:03pm

Client: My designer is a guru. She doesn’t need spot colors. She knows how to make her own.

Me: O_o

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Harness the wild world of Memphis design for only $15!

14 July 2019 - 3:49pm
Harness the wild world of Memphis design for only $15!

This week’s deal is on 1800+ elements in the Memphis design style – the loud, fun and vibrant look that made the 80s and 90s such a good time.

> Just take a look. If these patterns weren’t part of your childhood you missed out. 

Created in 1981, the Memphis style was meant to rally against “good taste” and create something fun and unique. Prioritizing bright colors and big angular shapes, Memphis is utterly iconic and went on to inspire classics of children’s television like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Rocko’s Modern Life. It’s not what you’d call a “timeless” style because it’s so specific, but it also never quite goes out of style. This bundle combines 12 sets that add up to over 1800 elements that will let you master creating Memphis designs

Normally all 12 of these bundles would sell for $206, but for the next week you can get all 1800+ for just $15. That’s a pittance to add this exciting look to your arsenal.

> Check out the deal here.

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Hygiene Genie

14 July 2019 - 2:00pm

I was designing a local newspaper advertisement for a restaurant. The client wanted a large photo of their restaurant so it would be easier to find.

Client: On the window it shows our Food Hygiene Rating of 2 stars. That doesn’t look good for the advert so can you Photoshop 5 stars instead?

Me: That’s not only dishonest, but illegal.

Client: So what? We deserve 5 stars.

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User Submitted Post

13 July 2019 - 3:00pm

Client: We need a promotional video for our company

Me: Okay…?

Client: We want you to film and edit it. We have a camera. 

I’m a web designer, not a film editor. In not even as photographer. This camera was not even new back in 2010.

Me: I don’t think I’m –

Client: You can do it. Just film the area, a meeting and interview few people who work here. Then edit it. 

Me: With what? I don’t have editing programs.

Client: My son makes really cool skate board clips with MovieMaker, use that.

I tried my best, but it was awful. To my great relief I stopped working there and left the country before they presented the horrible thing to some clients of theirs. 

I’m not saying that’s the reason I left the country, but I’m not not saying it.

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Not worth the pixels it’s written on

13 July 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: We’re an educational software company. We’re in search of an animator who animates in either 2d or 3d. The first animation will be unpaid but the subsequent animation work will be paid at the rate you give us.  What we want:

— Experience in animation

— Good time management

— Good communication skills

— No education needed!

   Job Types: Part-time, Internship

   Work Remotely/From home

   Hours per week: 10-19″

Oh, sureLet’s give you free content, using our equipment, and then you’ll move on to the next rube who doesn’t know there’s a Graphic Artists’ Guild standard for ethical conduct and contracts?

How about no?

Their current website is just a placeholder, and I suspect their business model is too.

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Creative Director from Hell

12 July 2019 - 3:00pm

I’ve worked with many clients from hell over my career but the worst person I’ve ever worked with was a creative director from hell. 

This creative director was a nice enough man but had the biggest ego that I’ve ever worked with. If he didn’t get his way, he made it his mission to work against the person who challenged him.

It all started to go downhill when we had a design meeting about some design changes to the site. He told us how we should all to be honest and there are no bad opinions. He rolled out the changes for the top nav to use the main brand yellow as the background and the nav items as white. I pointed out that a lot of the audience for the site are seniors and having that low of contrast will make it hard for them to read. That was all he needed to hurt his ego enough to dislike me. 

Over the next couple of months I had to work with a Creative Director actively trying to work against me. He would do things like:

  • Get mad at me about very small details when I didn’t follow the style guide but never actually send me the style guide. When I would mention that I don’t have the style guide he would say “You don’t really need it, you should understand our style by now” 
  • Get me do to ads with no direction or content, just a vague idea then get mad at me when it wasn’t exactly what he wanted. Then he would get another designer to redo it and tell everybody in the design meetings how much better the other designer’s version was.
  • Create make work projects for me to design banner ads that would never end up getting used then make it look like I never did any work because nothing I did was ever used.

In the end I decided to talk to the HR department about it and next thing I knew he decided that the marketing department was too big and it needed to downsize. I was the only person let go. 

But on the plus side, I got a massive severance package from the company and it allowed me to take time off and only apply for jobs that I really wanted to do rather then jump into another job just to pay rent. I ended up getting my dream job where I have been ever since.

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Talking to a brick wall

12 July 2019 - 2:00pm

Me: The Writable PDF with required fields functionality will not work on your website due to software limitations.

Client: Make it work! It should work in this day and age.

Me: I cannot make it work. It is a software issue.

Client: If I remove all required fields except one will it work?

Me: No. 

Client: So the answer is no?

Me: Correct!

Client: Ok, Please replace the existing form with this PDF form.

Me: Are you aware this new form still has required fields?

Client: I am aware.

Me: Fine. I put the form you sent to me this morning on the website as you requested. It still doesn’t work.

Client: Why not?

Me: (in my head)Because the Russian government has secretly hacked your website and injected code that will not make your PDF forms work the way you want. I would recommend contacting the FBI.

Me:  (actual response)   Please read my prior email where I stated that the browser will not allow the specific Required field functionality that you are trying to implement on the form.  

Client: As long as I can receive it even if the required blanks are not filled out, I will be fine.

Me: The word “required” means that it has to be filled out. It cannot be left blank. It is… “required.”

Client:  I am testing it now on the website. Why am I not receiving the email after clicking the right corner.

Me: (dumbfounded)  I’m not sure how else to explain it.  It will not work the way you have it setup.

Client: When you said “it will not work,” I assumed you meant it would ignore the required’ field lines– thinking I could STILL receive the form even if it were not completely filled out. Are you meaning that if ‘required fields’ are within the content, it will not be sent to me?

Me: (Is there a 5-year old around that I can talk to?) 

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