Clients from Hell

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Horror stories from freelancers
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2400 Classic cool vector illustrations for $17 — 93% off!

17 November 2019 - 3:00pm
2400 Classic cool vector illustrations for $17 — 93% off!

This week’s deal is on over 2400 vintage illustrations that have been scanned, cleaned and formatted as fully customizable vector images!

> They’re super cool, easy to use, and make for a great design.

Look. You’re a wiz with Photoshop and Illustrator, and a pretty solid draftsperson to boot. People love the way you draw, and your designs are clean, professional, and attractive. What you are not, probably, is a classically trained illustrator who specializes in scientific diagrams of flora and fauna in pen and ink or lithograph. This is a very specific skill that is always in demand. This bundle gives you scores of fantastic vintage illustrations that are easy to slot into designs to make them better

Normally it would cost you $228 for all 2400+ illustrations (and honestly? Bargain), but for the next few days, you can save 93% and get every last one of them for just $17. Sell one t-shirt with one deer skull illustration (for example) and you’ve already made your money back. 

> Check out the deal here.

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In the first chapter of Creating Logos Manual, printed in 1990.

17 November 2019 - 1:00pm

I took on a rebranding project for a IT software company. After initial meetings and a ‘brief’ (if it can be called that) I provided 16 initial logo concepts.

Client: I don’t like them. I don’t want an icon, just letters.

Me: Okay. How about I send you a feedback questionnaire so you can let me know exactly what you’re looking for?

I regret my choice:

Look at the top logos – what don’t you like about it? *

Yes, 2 favourites of a bad lot.

It looks embarrassed for itself. Small, please don’t look at me. Possibly something to do with a child’s toy/ learning aid. It’s barely there, barely a logo. It’s odd the way the r and the b are the same colours and the a different.
Score: -1 out of 10

I’m bored, seen it before in the 1990s eg bmi airlines, Bira. It has no life, no excitement, zero creativity. In the first chapter of Creating Logos Manual, printed in 1990.
Can’t be bothered to talk about it or think about it.
Score: 0 out of 10

Do you prefer upper case text or lower case? *

All these logos are very poor indeed so I don’t care if they are in lower or upper case.
Nothing coming through to me here.

Are there any elements of the above 8 logos you would like to see incorporated into the first 2 logos above? *

You need to be more creative, sympathetic to the company you are designing for.
A logo liked and recognised by customers is a very hard won thing. Why change to something worse?
The current logo has nice colours, clearly states the name of the company, has an interesting, eye catching symbol that has been used in marketing brochures, posters etc. Now we would like something fresh, something 2020, something exciting.
I have written a brief of the company and sent it to Jon. Hope that is useful for you.

Bear in mind that the client’s company name was 3 letters, we provided 16 logos in total and received no constructive feedback. And, yes, their current logo looks like it was designed in paint. 

At this point I decided it was best we terminated our working relationship. Thank god I got a deposit. 

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User Submitted Post

16 November 2019 - 3:16pm

Client: There are 4 dots above the word “sensitivities” in this design. What are they doing there?

Me: Those are the dots on the ‘i’s.

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Silly Analytics and SEO

16 November 2019 - 2:00pm

Direct quote from a client:

Client: The website has become a problem. Now it’s causing problems with Google analytics and SEO for some people who are obsessed with that silly shit.

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…Freelancer from hell?

15 November 2019 - 2:01pm

[Editor’s note: from time to time we get a story from “the other side” about working with a terrible freelancer. We publish this one to keep us all humble].

After a new freelancer we’ve hired has provided initial drafts for a series of print advertorials we’ve shopped to them…

Me: Our [well-established, 40 year old] company’s standard is to write the name of our company and products ThisWay and ThatWay in camel case.

Freelancer: Aesthetically, I don’t like it. It won’t resonate with customers.

Me: It’s not an opinion question, we brand ourselves ThisWay and our product line ThatWay.

Me: I don’t think you understand, it’s not aesthetically correct.

I provided our brand standards guide. Again.

He provided designs in his preferred, i.e. “not what we wanted” style.

Me: We’ve decided your services are no longer needed and will be paying for the hours completed so far.

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User Submitted Post

15 November 2019 - 1:30pm

I had to make several different versions of nutrition facts pamphlet for a national chain restaurant. The content differed slightly between documents because laws varied between states for what you have to include.

When my out-of-state boss got the PDFs, he printed each one out and would stack two of them, HOLD THEM UP TO A LIGHT, then call me to ream me out if the columns didn’t align perfectly between brochures.

I explained printer shift to him, as well as how varied copy between documents would make line lengths different, and how none of these documents would ever appear next to one another. NO ONE would ever have a reason to compare column placement between documents.

After three days of this, he called my manager and asked them to fire me on the spot.

My awesome manager fought for me, but yeesh.

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Time-Travel Photo Editing

14 November 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: We need to zoom out more. We can’t see the rest of the room in that photo. Everything is getting cut off.

Me: Well, it’s a photo and it has edges. The photo ends. That’s all that was photographed in the room.

Client: Do you not understand me? Zoom out. I need to see all of the space.

Me: I would have to travel back in time to this shoot, which occurred 2 years ago, and ask the photographer to photograph the entire room, which obviously I cannot. 

Client: No, you just don’t know how to do it.



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User Submitted Post

14 November 2019 - 1:30pm

My first internship in software development involved creating a blueprint drawing application for an industrial society. I invested 600 paid hours on this project, without ever having a chance to speak with the client directly. I guessed they didn’t bother since the project was mostly government-funded.

At the end of my internship, my boss, another employee and I visited the client at their factory, which meant spending seven hours in a car that day.

After fifteen minutes, the manager left my presentation, and by the time I was done answering questions for the three people who stayed, it was clear they were not involved in this project at all and were there just so there would be someone to listen to the presentation while their boss had better things to do.

They hired two more interns to work on that app after I left. It must have cost 50k to develop by now. I’m certain it will never be used by anyone.

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electronics designer

13 November 2019 - 3:00pm

I’m an electronics designer and repair person. A client had bought a piece of equipment that wasn’t working. 

Client: I accidentally plugged it into 230V outlet instead of 24V and now it doesn’t work… can you repair it?

Me: I could, but honestly it would be cheaper to buy a new one. 

Client: Really? The casing looks fine. 

Me: The casing is fine. Everything else is not.

He ordered a new one.

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former web developer

13 November 2019 - 2:00pm

Many years ago, I and a buddy were hired to develop our very first website while still students. We had it done in two days or so because it was a simple site and we were excited to do the work.

We called the client on speakerphone so we could both hear what he said. 

Me: The website is done, we can bring the CD tomorrow. We only accept payment in cash as per the contract, please have the money on hand. In the mean time we are setting up the hosting for you.

Client: That’s great, deliver the file and I’ll pay you in a couple weeks. I’m a bit short on cash right now. 

My friend was shaking his head vigorously. 

Me: No. We can wait for when you have the money and finalize it then. We’re still setting up the hosting anyway, so if it will take you a week or two to arrange payment that’s fine. 

Client: *click*

He hung up, and we never heard back. 


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Work/life balance is bogus: Cami Travis-Groves and the secret to work/life harmony

12 November 2019 - 9:00pm
Work/life balance is bogus: Cami Travis-Groves and the secret to work/life harmony


Image courtesy of Cami Travis-Groves

It’s the middle of winter, and a massive tree just crashed down on your house. What do you do? 

It happened to Cami Travis-Groves, and she knows she did exactly the right thing. She expressed gratitude that nobody was hurt and move on. She brings that attitude to her working life as a designer and as a coach for freelancers, and she shares her tips for how to rise to every occasion and why “work/life balance” is, in her eyes, totally bogus. 

As a bonus, listen to host Kyle Carpenter pitch her (unsuccessfully) on why sarcastic positivity can be really helpful for some people! 

Today’s links: 

Want to support the show?

Order a custom infographic from! Use this link ( for a great price! 

Think you’d be a great fit for the show? Let me know at

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

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Electronics designer

12 November 2019 - 2:00pm

Years ago when I was just starting in my field I worked for a small start-up company, designing their first product.  The work went well, but as always in R&D there were a few dead ends which we got pushed to “try anyway” because of some mysterious reasons known only to the manager.

The conversation below happened a few weeks AFTER we (3 engineers) finished the contract and were supposed to get paid.

Me: There’s been quite a delay in payment. I know the company is well funded – why the wait? 

Client: Well, it’s just that we`re reconsidering your payment based on your hours.

Me: What do you mean? the rate is in the contract… and frankly its quite low for the work we did!

Client:  No, it’s not the rate, that’s fine, it’s the hours. A lot of the work didn’t you did didn’t wind up in the final product.  

Me: So you’re saying that even though we agreed on this low-low rate, and did the work, and the project is done correctly and will enter production soon, and we are happy with all that, you want to ignore half our hours because the avenues you pushed us on didn’t work out?

We got our payment the next day, but to this day this is the craziest thing I`ve ever been told by a client/boss/manager.

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User Submitted Post

12 November 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: I’ve changed directions. Use this. 

No amount of careful planning, writing, concept work, design, review, and approval can overcome an executive who finds a picture of a pug dog wearing pink sunglasses on the Internet.

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User Submitted Post

11 November 2019 - 2:00pm

I work at a law office as the communications manager. As a side project, I began helping our international clients with expedited passports. I have a good relationship with an expediting company and can help our clients 1 on 1 when they had trouble understanding the paperwork/needed hand-holding.  

Client: Okay, we want to leave this weekend. 

Me: Unfortunately, that won’t be possible. I emailed you a week ago asking about your travel date, it will be impossible to process your passport in the time described. Also, I warned you 2 months ago that this would happen if you waited for [legal process not related to passport] to be finished. But you insisted that we wait. 

Client: (immediately calls) You said it would take 2-3 days!

Me: Two days from the agency appointment date. I was very clear about that. And because there is a Public Holiday Monday, it will be impossible unless you travel to [City] in person. Also, I only attend agency appointments by appointment so I have time to gather your paperwork. I have other meetings today and cannot leave the office. 

Client: Well we can’t do that, it’s impossible. We can’t travel with the kids and we aren’t good on US roads. What if we left a week or two from now instead?

Me: Yes, I can definitely help you make that happen! Let’s meet at the agency on [date] and I will get things started with the expediting company. I’ll email you a map and a list of what I need you to bring. I’m glad we found a solution and I look forward to seeing you then. You will save a lot of money this way as well. 

Client: Great! Thank you very much! We will meet you there. 

One day later: 

Client: We need it this weekend, you said 2 to 3 days, so we need to go to the agency right now and get it!

Of course, the agency is closed until after the holiday at this point – also acceptance agencies don’t make passports, they only accept applications. 

Don’t you love it when clients think they don’t have to listen to what you’re telling them? Making demands is no substitute for “reading comprehension.” 

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User Submitted Post

11 November 2019 - 1:00pm

I’m a social media expert & strategist; the client asked for specific assets to promote/showcase their products. We agreed on a strategy.

Client: Cool, these are the best proposal ever. Let’s start with strategy 1. Can you put in action in a week?

I sent them detailed planning, and their only input was to decide which product goes first. I pinged them twice.

Client: Well, seems like you’re not doing the job. We’ve been waiting a week.

Me: I’ve sent you emails here and here to have your input.

Client: (angry) No way, we never got your emails.

Me: I can prove emails were sent, received and read as I have the receipt.

Client: Who the hell did you send them to? We didn’t get those emails, and we don’t use that email address, so either you’re lying and didn’t do the job or you just sent our campaign to a stranger. Either way, you’re incompetent. 

I didn’t respond right away because that was a lot to deal with. Two hours later:

Client: Uh well, we think we’ll go for strategy A. Good job on these!

I guess they found my emails. 

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Create stylish Art Deco designs for only $17!

10 November 2019 - 2:00pm
Create stylish Art Deco designs for only $17!

This week’s deal is on all the fonts, borders and backgrounds you need to make stunning art deco style designs. 

> Just take a look at this classic styling, all for only $17.

There’s a reason he was called the “Great” Gatsby and not the “merely ok” Gatsby. Art deco inspired much of modern design and remains utterly compelling in its own right. These fonts, border elements and backgrounds combine to let you harness this powerful and influential style for your own designs

This package retails at full price for $104, but for just a few more days you can get it at a savings of 87% for only $17

> Check out the deal here!

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When Your Client Thinks They Can Do Your Job Better Than You

9 November 2019 - 1:25pm

I recently agreed to do a graphic design project for a friend of a good client. I was very hesitant to do it because it was a kind of difficult project on a tight deadline. However, I agreed to do it anyways on the very clear terms that they HAD to pick one of the three layout options I gave them by a specific date.

The night before I needed their choice I send a reminder, to which they say they’ll “work on it”… the next morning (when I had planned to start drafting the ad) they sent half of a layout, clearly mocked up in Microsoft Paint.

Client: Can you use that? 

Me: Not really. And, as I stated when I agreed to this project, because of the tight deadline I don’t have the time to create new concepts. Normally I would be willing, but I need you to pick from the concepts I sent you. 

Client: Can’t you use what I sent you?

At this point they listed what they “liked” about their MS Paint version.

Me: OK, based on what you’re saying you like I think then my second option I gave you would work best for what you want. I am concerned about being able to finish your ad on time if I don’t spend all of my allotted time today on getting the actual draft done rather than finishing your layout.

Client: Okay, but could you [change one aspect of that layout that would ruin the entire composition]?

I didn’t want this job when I started, and I definitely don’t want it now. 

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Killing one employee with a lot of stones

9 November 2019 - 1:00pm

Saw this while looking for a new job about 5 years ago:

Client: Cutting tool distributor is looking for an I.T. Technician
Job description:

– Manage the computer system. Upgrade needed.
– Update the inventory database.
– Manage the inventory
– Create a new brochure and a new catalog
– Update and maintain the website
– Taking care of shipping and receiving
– Answer the phone

Post: permanent, full time, 35hrs/week.
Salary offered: $13.45/hr

I passed…

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User Submitted Post

8 November 2019 - 3:00pm

Client: I need to reorder my business cards, but please take the name off of them.

Me: Take… the name off your business card?

Client: Yes.

I do exactly this and send off a proof.

Client: Why did you take my name off? I need that on there!

There was no other name on the card. 

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