Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
Updated: 1 hour 48 min ago

Schrodinger on line 2

1 January 2019 - 12:00pm

Client: You need to change this bar chart so that it doesn’t show the departments with zero entries, but don’t remove departments just because they have no entries.

I’m going to need a cat… and a box.

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Reprints From Hell

1 January 2019 - 11:00am

I’m a screen printer with lots of repeat clients. We keep all art/films on file so we can easily reprint the same shirt over and over without re-confirming size or what-have-you.

A client emailed asking for a reprint of a shirt we’ve done 4 times before. They sent their shirt sizes and I responded with an invoice that included the print size, color and location.

Client: Great! I’d like to go ahead and place the order. Can we just confirm where the designs will be placed on the shirts?

Me: Oh, sorry. I thought this was a reprint of your standard front print.

Client: What does that mean?

Me: Sorry, maybe I misunderstood your question? The print will be just as you asked for – 9″ wide on the front?

Client: Can you show me where the image will be placed on the shirt?

I sent the client a photo pulled from their corporate Instagram of the last run of shirts with the same design, same placement.

Client: Great. Just to confirm, THIS is how they will look? 

Attached was the exact same photo I sent him. 

Me: Yep.

Client: Great, let’s go ahead with the order!

I’m still confused. Why was he so worried? Why did he send back the same file to double-check?

Was he trying to trick me? 

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Free logo

31 December 2018 - 12:00pm

I was started working for a recruiting company redesigning their website. The client sent me a logo that was really old-fashioned and ugly.

Client: Don’t worry. I know that logo is out of date. We’re just going to use it as a placeholder until the new one is done. It’s going to be much more modern and streamlined.

Phew. I went to work, doing my best to create a beautiful modern website for them. Then they sent me the new logo. 

It was just as ugly and old-fashioned – maybe more so.

Me: Uh… Can I ask who designed this logo?

Client: (proudly) I got it from one of those websites that design logos. It was free! 

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I’m having an EPSode

31 December 2018 - 11:00am

I freelance as an editor and cartographer in my spare time. I had just sent multiple highly detailed historical maps to a client as .eps files.

Client: So there’s something wrong with these maps – we can’t see some of the text. Maybe you used a font we don’t have installed. Also all the text is showing up as paths and not editable text. Could you fix this ASAP?

Me, internally: You sent me a screenshot showing yourself editing them. Also… the maps are in TIMES NEW ROMAN as you requested. 

Me: Ok, I’ll get right on that.

Client: And maybe send it to us as a PNG?

Me: (puts head on desk at an accelerated rate)

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50 Custom buttons with free shipping for only $9!

30 December 2018 - 2:08pm
50 Custom buttons with free shipping for only $9!

This week’s deal is on 50 custom buttons with free shipping to the US, Canada and the EU for only $9! 

> Buttons are fun. So is this deal. 

Every time we’ve featured a sale from Sticker Mule it’s sold out almost instantly, so act fast! Sticker Mule makes quality products from your designs, giving you an easy way to bring your designs to life! Give them to friends, sell them at conventions, skip the business card and leave a real impression with potential clients! 

Normally Sticker Mule would sell these premium buttons for $33 which is already super reasonable, but if you act now you can save 73% and receive 50 buttons for only $9! Again – if you live in the US, Canada or the EU super fast 2-day shipping is FREE!

> Check out the deal here. 

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Latest release

30 December 2018 - 12:00pm

Me: We need to update your VOIP server to the newest version

Client: Didn’t you already do that a year ago? 

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Turnaround is fair play

30 December 2018 - 11:00am

In this case, I am the client and have just been brought on board to oversee a project rollout. We have 500 products made, nearly 1,000 postcards and a brand new branding to be deployed before Christmas. We are commencing the marketing campaign on January 2nd. Today’s date is November 27th.

Me: Before we go public with this, can I please confirm that we have the copyrights for these images and the font?

Designer: Yeah – I got the photos from Google Images and the front from

I don’t know whether to scream, cry, break stuff or do the dishes…

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User Submitted Post

29 December 2018 - 12:00pm

I had a second meeting with a client who had brought us on board to assist with an event. 

Me: Based on this scope, we can do this for $2,500.

Client: Hmmm. That won’t work. You see, my notes from our last meeting say that you would do this for free, or for next-to-free.

Me: That doesn’t sound like something I would say. Also, we didn’t discuss price at the last meeting because you didn’t have the full scope of what you wanted.

Client: I’m known for the accuracy of my notes. Trust me, they say you will do this for free.

Me: I don’t believe that’s an accurate representation of what happened.

Client: Are you saying my notes are liars?

Me: I’m saying they don’t reflect what we discussed.

Client: My notes don’t lie. They say you will do this for free.

Spoiler alert: We didn’t do a thing for this client, and ended the discussion right there. I wonder if their notes are still lying to them, though?

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Stick with a professional please

29 December 2018 - 11:00am

For the past two years, I’ve provided design packages for an annual event run by a non-profit collegiate organization. I’m a member of the organization and really believe in what they do so I even did it for free.

This year they decided to go “in a different direction” and made all the materials themselves. They were AWFUL. Worse still, several members of this organization approached me to ask if I had designed this year’s materials. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that the clip art they slapped on a PowerPoint is associated with my name as a designer. 

Well, it’s easy to say that I’ll not be designing for this organization again in the future. They can have their clip art if they want it.

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User Submitted Post

28 December 2018 - 12:00pm

Back when I was first starting out in design, I was hired to design a logo for the home improvement company my brother was working for. I was super excited for my first gig and agreed to what I thought was a very reasonable fee of $50.

I drew several rough drafts on paper – no clip art or simple font effects here! I’m getting paid $50, I have to do my best, right? The client chose one he liked so I scanned it and created a vector version.

Client: I love it! But Can you make just a few little changes?

I was too experienced to know what came next. 

What followed was the kind of back-and-forth that every freelance designer is familiar with. “I want a shadow effect under the logo.” “Oh, actually, I want to stitch it into hats, so a shadow won’t work, take it out.” “Why did you take out the shadow effect?”

This went on for about half a month. It ended one day when I got an email informing me that the client found some other guy on the internet who would make him a logo for only $2 and was going with them instead.

He attached some examples to the email; it was all free web clip art copied and pasted together. 

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User Submitted Post

28 December 2018 - 11:00am

Client: Our printer is broken, send a technician.

Me: Which printer? You have quite a few. And what’s the nature of the problem?

Client: 751 

That’s the printer model. They have several.

Me: Ok, and what is happening with the printer?

Client: Am I crazy or do you work service? Send the goddamn tech!


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<p>Client: I&#8217;m looking for three

27 December 2018 - 12:00pm

Client: I’m looking for three 500-word articles a day. Doable?

Me: Honestly, not really. I have other clients and with research, that’s quite a workload.

Client: Great, when can you start? 

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<p>Client: Hi, I’m looking for a

27 December 2018 - 11:00am

Client: Hi, I’m looking for a windows monitor.

Me: I can set you up with a new monitor, sure.

Client: No, no I mean I want a monitor I can plug into my MacBook to see things in Windows.

Me: …

Client: I need it for a project.

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<p>One of my favorite emails I’ve ever

26 December 2018 - 11:00am

One of my favorite emails I’ve ever received started out like this:

Client: I would like to build a profitable website based off fashion and health and beauty products and advertising. I understand your background is in development but l know l will need a certain level of marketing as well. As my profit grows I would also like to incorporate some kind of cloud-like, online web-based gaming platform as well. Due to the growing rate of change in technology, I realize l’m going to need some assistance with the design and infrastructure for these platforms, to better understand what type of financing l’m going to need…

I never read past this point because I was laughing too hard.

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think of me as a friend

26 December 2018 - 10:00am

A potential client asked if I could do a short animation and I sent a quote. He said it was “too high” when it was actually too low.

Client: Hey can you lower the prices if I do the editing?

Me: This quote doesn’t cover editing.

Client: Okay, fair, I’ll do the editing. What if to save on money, we make it stop motion?

Me: Although I have worked on Stop Motion, it isn’t my expertise, I don’t have the equipment for it, and it wouldn’t be any cheaper. It might actually be more expensive.

Client: Well, maybe I can help you animate the short at my place?

Me: I’d feel uncomfortable going to your house. The price is firm.

Client: Hey, what if…we go to the movies together then?


Client: I’m a really great person once you get to know me.

He then tried to add me on Facebook. I never replied.

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<p>Client: I don’t want it to be the

25 December 2018 - 11:00am

Client: I don’t want it to be the exact same color, it just can’t be a DIFFERENT color.

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<p>A client came to me asking me to

25 December 2018 - 10:00am

A client came to me asking me to recreate a business card he had made years and years ago. The card looked like it was designed in Microsoft Word ’97 and the logo is especially awful. I tried to gently guide the client away from just reproducing it.

Me: I can recreate this, but I might advise you to try something else.

Client: That logo is based on a tattoo I have. I well that logo is based off a tattoo that I have. Can I just send you a photo of that so you can Photoshop it onto the business card?

At this point, I completely dissociated into a mini-existential crisis.

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We’re paying attention

24 December 2018 - 11:00am

I submitted a quote and a detailed multi-page timeline of deliverables with a breakdown of dates to my clients.

Client 1: Approved! When would we see the first deliverable?

Client 2: This is all great! Yes, approved! What would your timeline be to get everything done?

Me: All this information is in the timeline you’re approving. Take a look.

Client 3: Maybe this will help – I made a timeline we can use!

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photo and text

24 December 2018 - 10:00am

I was designing an album cover for a client.

Client: Here are some photos. I don’t really like them, but maybe you can crop them so they look good.

I cropped the photo and then added the band name and album name, playing with fonts to make the whole thing look cohesive and cool. I sent it back for approval:

Client: What you designed is just a photo and text. Can you add some sort of effects?

Me: ….

I complied, doing my best to add effects without going back to the 90s or making it hideous.

Client: It’s still just a photo and text. I don’t think this is going to work. I’m going to find another designer.

When I saw the final cover from the new designer, it was – surprise! – just a photo and text.

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57 Premium fonts for only $10! 99% off!

23 December 2018 - 11:00am
57 Premium fonts for only $10! 99% off!

This week’s deal is on 57 premium fonts for only $10! That’s 17.5 cents a font! 

> I don’t care you who are, that’s a bargain.

Quality fonts are the building blocks of great design, and this bundle has them in spades. I love the cool chic of Jackson, as well as the elegant calligraphy of Magarella, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. 57 Premium fonts with all their extras cover a lot of ground, stylistically, giving you tons of options for all your upcoming designs! Take a look and get inspired.

For just the next few days this bundle of 57 fonts is only $10, which is insane value. Buy all 57 for 99% off!

> Check out the deal here!

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