Clients from Hell

Subscribe to Clients from Hell feed
A collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from designers.
Updated: 2 hours 36 min ago

I’m currently working on illustrating three children’s books for some clients who found me through a...

6 June 2018 - 3:20pm

I’m currently working on illustrating three children’s books for some clients who found me through a Reddit post. I had already agreed on doing the 30 illustration project for abysmally low prices- but at least I get 25% of all revenue, should it ever come to that, and with a solid contract I am protected against endless revisions. However…

Me: Hey guys, I finished several mock-ups for the cover. Please let me know which is your favorite. I would advise against having too many characters and details aside from the main character since you’re only publishing the book on Kindle and the screen will be really small.

Client: These are great! Let’s take the top left as a jumping off point. Can you include all 10 other characters and the two locations where the story takes place?

Me: I mean, sure, but it will be pretty busy. I really recommend you keep it simple for the screen.

Client: We’d like to have everyone on the cover.

I went ahead and gave them a new version. They approved it and I finally submitted the colored lineart.

Client: This is really wonderful! However, can we have another version with a more plain background? We’re concerned all that detail won’t be visible on a Kindle screen.

Me: ….

I was designing a landing page for a client. After showing him my initial idea:Client: I like the...

6 June 2018 - 1:40pm

I was designing a landing page for a client. After showing him my initial idea:

Client: I like the direction so far, but we need to keep in mind users do not read things. Do not make them think!
 
5 minutes later

Client: Great, I’ll send over our copywriter in a moment because I really think more copy will push this to the next level.

"By entering, all entrants license and grant the Promoter, its affiliates and sub-licensees an..."

5 June 2018 - 3:20pm
“By entering, all entrants license and grant the Promoter, its affiliates and sub-licensees an exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable, and sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish and display their entry (including any portion of their entry) for any purpose, including but not limited to future promotional, marketing or publicity purposes, in any media, without compensation, restriction on use, attribution or liability. Entrants further agree, upon request by the Promoter, to assign all of their rights, title and interest (including copyright) in and to their entry to the Promoter and to sign any legal documentation to confirm such assignment”

- The fine print of a design competition. 

My husband and I are old-timer animators and sometimes do work on the side, usually only for people...

5 June 2018 - 1:40pm

My husband and I are old-timer animators and sometimes do work on the side, usually only for people we know well. Sometimes people pass our names on to others, and we run into situations like this:

Client: Hi, I got your name from ________. She said you are an animator.

Me: Yes, the old-fashioned pencil-to-paper kind. How can I help?

Client: I would like some animations done for my sister’s surprise birthday party.

Me: OK, what do you need to be done? And when?

Client: I’m putting together this presentation about how great my sister is! It’s going to be on three screens and I want it to look great.

Client: Wow, she sounds very special to you. Now, what exactly do you need?

Her: Some animations and pictures and things.

Me: So… do you want animation or cartoons? Those are two different things.

Client: Oh! Cartoons are good too! Lots of cartoons we can hang up and put on tables for people to take home. And one could be a cake-topper!

Me: …So you need both animation and cartoons. What kind of animation do you need?

Client: Some people dancing through the big slideshow to go with each scene, possibly acting it out to go with the pictures.”

Me: And when do you need this by?

Client: You mean when is the party?

Me: Yes.

Client: The big surprise?

Me: YES.

Client: Next Friday!

Me: You mean three days from now?

Client:

I “respectfully” declined.

The next day, my husband got the identical request from her in his FB inbox, giving him TWO days. Not surprisingly, he didn’t even respond.

"It’s your own fault that you trust your customers. Next time you should demand payment in advance."

4 June 2018 - 3:20pm
“It’s your own fault that you trust your customers. Next time you should demand payment in advance.”

- Good advice from a bad person who didn’t pay me.

I’m an IT student who offered to help a woman I know to help build her website. Somewhere along the...

4 June 2018 - 1:40pm

I’m an IT student who offered to help a woman I know to help build her website.

Somewhere along the line, I managed to be negotiated out of being paid actual cash, but in hat-making lessons. “No big deal,” I thought, “I’m into craft stuff anyway.”

First facepalm moment: she sent me a page full of WP themes she likes, all priced at about $80. I know for a fact she wants to do this as cheaply as possible *cough* hat lessons *cough*, so I do some googling and find some very similar free themes, and send them to her. I get a reply about five minutes later from her telling me she bought an $80 package.

Second facepalm moment: she installed this theme herself (well, with the help of a “friend”), but got impatient when it didn’t install fast enough, so she repeatedly clicked “Install” – which meant the homepage contained at least 50 menu bars. I had to clean them all up.

Third facepalm moment: halfway through this month she tells me she wants her site done by the end of the month. Now I tell her I have a lot of school work to get done and cannot fix her mess of a site in time. She says her “friend” can help her but wants me available to answer her questions… and she lost the link to the hosting site where the site is.

Needless to say that once this site is done, I don’t want anything to do with it ever again

Nail that vintage design look with 1200+ elements for $17!

3 June 2018 - 3:20pm

This week’s deal is on 1200+ vector elements in a vintage style!

> They look great, and your clients will love them.

The vintage look isn’t going away anytime. Line drawings and classic printing techniques communicate authenticity to your clients and their customers - which is ALWAYS a good thing. This collection of over 1200 illustrations, brushes, banners and more makes it easy to throw together a fantastic vintage logo, poster or website in minutes. Save yourself time and effort while making your clients happy with this huge collection of versatile elements.

Normally everything in this bundle would cost $280, but for the next week you can get all 1200+ brushes, illustrations and other elements for only $17, a savings of 94%. If you’ve had ONE client who asked for a vintage look, you know you’ll make that money back in no time with this bundle.

> Check out the deal here. 

Client: Hey, we are interested in getting a quote for your services.Me: Great! What services are you...

3 June 2018 - 1:40pm

Client: Hey, we are interested in getting a quote for your services.

Me: Great! What services are you looking for?

Client: Before we talk about any of that, how much will your services cost?

After 5 hours of work we sent the client a second iteration of logo design. He liked the first one,...

2 June 2018 - 3:20pm

After 5 hours of work we sent the client a second iteration of logo design. He liked the first one, so we thought we would get positive feedback.

Client: I can work in Photoshop too, you know. Your design would take me approximately 20 min.

I work for an advertising website that advertises companies looking for franchisees. Clients submit...

2 June 2018 - 1:40pm

I work for an advertising website that advertises companies looking for franchisees. Clients submit their content, I create a profile for the company, I send it to the client for approval, they pay the fee and the profile goes live on the website.

This client had a litany of complaints about their profile, including some of the details listed on the profile sidebar and the size of their images etc. I did what I could but they kept complaining.

Today:

Client: It’s been 3 weeks and we haven’t received any leads yet!

They haven’t paid yet, so their profile wasn’t even live on the site yet. I’m still trying to think of a polite way to explain this to them.

"Looks great, but only received one copy of the flyer! I had said that I’d like to print 250 of them"

1 June 2018 - 3:20pm
“Looks great, but only received one copy of the flyer! I had said that I’d like to print 250 of them”

- Client who thinks you EMAIL all 250 printed copies. 

A client called asking me to remove the “PROOF” watermark from my proof so she could print it. After...

1 June 2018 - 1:40pm

A client called asking me to remove the “PROOF” watermark from my proof so she could print it. After I spent 10 minutes explaining to please not print a low-res, unfinished, watermarked draft, but instead to use the clearly labelled hi-res final version which reflected several rounds of edits, she finally seemed to get it.

This is the text I received at 11:52 PM that night: 

Client: Bad news, those letters didn’t come off when I printed it. Don’t bother fixing it now as that was my whole printing budget… not happy…

I shot a “tour” video of a hotel designed to show potential guests the facilities, accommodation...

31 May 2018 - 3:20pm

I shot a “tour” video of a hotel designed to show potential guests the facilities, accommodation etc. The star of the video was the CEO.

Once the filming and editing where complete, she asked me to do a few things in “post”:

Client: Could you make the bed in the background? It looks messy. Also, I really wish I hadn’t worn that cardigan. Can you take it off and just have my dress?

Client: I thought I asked for the page to be able to show TIFFMe: I told you, most mainstream...

31 May 2018 - 1:40pm

Client: I thought I asked for the page to be able to show TIFF

Me: I told you, most mainstream browsers do not support TIFF. We recommended JPG and PNG from the start.

Client: But the functional spec has it saying that TIFF is required.

Me: You mean the functional spec that you edited after it was signed off?

Client: I don’t care, just speak to the Chrome and Firewolf guys to make it work!

A former friend of mine had his arrogant father hire me as a web designer. He scheduled a meeting...

30 May 2018 - 3:20pm

A former friend of mine had his arrogant father hire me as a web designer. He scheduled a meeting between me and his extremely erratic business partner.

His partner was over 20 minutes late, was all over the place, didn’t really understand anything about web design but threw all his random ideas at me without waiting for feedback. I waited patiently for him to finish speaking and gave him a quote – a quote that got higher the longer he spoke because this was a corporate site for a local bigwig and they were annoying the heck out of me, signalling what a tough job this was going to be.

I get a phone call later after our meeting from my friend’s dad.

Client: My partner said you were really unprofessional, you didn’t bring a pen and paper, you weren’t paying attention.

Me: I don’t need a pen and paper, I work from memory. I’m artsy.

Then, to prove it, I told him everything his partner requested verbatim.

He wasn’t impressed.

Client: I’m trying to offer you a job, but if this is how you do business…

Me: Your partner was 20 minutes late. He spoke at me for over twenty minutes without asking for input and then complained that I was being unprofessional.

Client: I’m trying to help you!

Me: Well I appreciate the thought but if that’s how you run your business, I’m afraid I’m going to have to politely decline.

I just got my first ever client as a freelance web/graphic designer. My client sent me a page and a...

30 May 2018 - 1:40pm

I just got my first ever client as a freelance web/graphic designer. My client sent me a page and a half of content to fit on a single page and a photo of his logo taken with a digital camera.

I’m just realizing I picked a great career.

I was retained to design a logo for an engineering firm. I gave them three options that truly...

29 May 2018 - 3:20pm

I was retained to design a logo for an engineering firm. I gave them three options that truly reflected their brand and culture.

Client: Thanks for getting us these designs. But we were hoping for something a little crazier. Really outside the box. You know what? Get drunk and then design us something. I’m serious, you can expense the booze. We are literally paying you to give us something you designed when you were drunk.

Well OK, I thought, I can do that. I sent drunky new logos.

Client: What is this? We were hoping for something more streamlined and professional.

Now I’m hungover AND mad.

I had an appointment today with a customer who lives in a mobile home park (a really nice one!). She...

29 May 2018 - 1:40pm

I had an appointment today with a customer who lives in a mobile home park (a really nice one!).

She did not provide a unit number, only the main address for the park. When I called to ask for the unit number she got really mad:

Client: Why’d you even come if you can’t read the signs!

Then she cancelled the appointment

Client: So I want to have this character come up with an idea, and then DRAW that idea – but it’s...

28 May 2018 - 3:20pm

Client: So I want to have this character come up with an idea, and then DRAW that idea – but it’s our logo. And then the logo would open up to show exactly what our company does. I want this to be a gif that we can put on our website.

Me: That sounds like an interesting project! What’s your budget?

Client: $15.

Me: Uh… I’m sorry, but that’s not enough for me to even design the character.

Client: I think you don’t understand the type of animation I meant. I mean a GIF style, nothing more.

I don’t think they understood that to make it a GIF you would still need the animation.

They then decided to only have me do the reference sheet, saying that they would ask somebody else to animate it for them.

I can’t talk for every animator out there but I don’t think anybody would charge $15 for what they wanted

I run the creative for a national non-profit. We have resources available for our staff, extensive...

28 May 2018 - 1:40pm

I run the creative for a national non-profit. We have resources available for our staff, extensive brand guidelines, and clear-cut channels for ordering supplies. We got this request today: 

Client: I was wondering if I was confined to the 4 types of business card designs. Or if I was able to create my own? Thank you in advance.

Me: Yeah, we prefer to stick to company templates.

Client: Does that mean? I can’t make a custom card?

Me: What are you looking to customize?

Client: I want a vertical card, and I created my own logo.

When I went to talk to him face-to-face he told me his logo was “better” (it isn’t) and got a lesson on how printing works.

Pages