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<p>The following was a “routine call”

Clients from Hell - 27 December 2019 - 1:00pm

The following was a “routine call” for some final slight revisions to a site that was completed and signed off.

The client assured me it would “just take two minutes.”

Client: What color is the logo?

Me: It’s blue.

Client: What is?

The client was looking at the logo on the screen as he asked this.

The call lasted forty minutes.

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<p>I’m a developer creating programs

Clients from Hell - 26 December 2019 - 2:00pm

I’m a developer creating programs and backends for a university.

Client: We are going to focus around Programmes and Students who attend them. Use that language.

A year and a half into development.

Client: Mmm…. We don’t like the name “Programmes,” make it “Cohorts.”

Me: But we already have all the models, relations, API routes, mobile app that uses these routes, tables, constants named with Programme in mind. It’s going to be a huge task to change all that now.

Client: Yep, still, make it Cohorts.

Me: …OK, fine.

Eight months later.

Client: We’ve decided against calling them “Cohorts.” Change everything back to “Programme.”

Me: (considering violence, whether self- or otherwise).

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<p>Before a work trip with a client

Clients from Hell - 26 December 2019 - 1:00pm

Before a work trip with a client/employer:

Me: I’m going to have to rent some gear once we’re in town to complete some of these tasks.

Client:  No problem.

Me:  And what about this other project I’m working on for you, should we hire one of my guys while we’re gone?

Client:  Oh definitely, we want that done ASAP.

After the trip.

Client: What’s all this on the invoice?  As the owner of this company, only I can approve expenses –  we can only cover about half of this.  The gear and other guy’s rates are on you.

Me:  …

Client:  Also, your agreed rate is too high so we’re going to have to start paying you less.

Me:  Cool, uh…  I’m not working for you anymore.  Best of luck.

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<p>Client: I want my logo to be in a

Clients from Hell - 25 December 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: I want my logo to be in a color no-one has ever seen before. 

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worldwide launch

Clients from Hell - 25 December 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: we have this new product that we’re going to launch worldwide. We would like you do develop the branding and the complete visual identity, like the logo, website, package, social media campaigning and presentations. It’s a new tech hardware that’s going to be a great revolution! We’ve spent millions developing it!

Me: Wow, of course! Let’s talk about…

Client: We’d like to present your branding at a convention in two days. You can handle that, right?

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User Submitted Post

Clients from Hell - 24 December 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: I need a banner with my podcast logo on it and a caricature of me in the lower left. Gonna use it for my [streaming service] videos.

Me: No problem, how big is the banner going to be and do you know who will be printing it?

I’ve made it a habit to ask my clients who is printing their work, as some online printing services like you to use their templates for sizing and formatting.

Client: Uh, I have no idea, let me measure.

Me: OK, while you’re doing that, can you forward me a picture of yourself I can use for reference when I draw you?

The client sends me a picture of himself wearing a hat, thick glasses, and most of his face obscured by a giant black microphone.

Me: So if I’m going to be drawing your face, I’d like to be able to see your face?

Client: Oh yeah, Haha, that makes sense. Just a minute.

Ten minutes later he sends a picture of his face, no hat or glasses. He’s got the blankest expression I’ve ever seen, and his face is covered in thick stubble. Regardless, I draw a picture of him making that same face and send it back to him two days later.

Client: Ugh, I look so old in this. Why did you draw me with a scruffy beard? Also I’m famous for my smile, why aren’t I smiling?

Me: …ok, please send me a picture of you shaved and smiling then. Did you get that info I asked for yet?

Client: They said to just send a PDF.

Me: …what size? And who is printing it?

Client: I dunno, I didn’t measure yet. Let me get back to you.

He sends me a picture of him, no hat or accessories, just smiling. I re-draw the caricature and send it back. He gets back to me two days later.

Client: It looks alright I guess, but where’s the hat and sunglasses? I’m famous for my hat and sunglasses. Also there should be a microphone over my mouth.

Me (internally): …the mouth you’re famous for smiling with?

Me: OK I’ll get those added. Did you get the measurements?

Client: Yeah, they said to just send a PDF.

Me: WHO said this, and WHAT SIZE should I format the PDF?

Client: I dunno, what’s a good size you think?

Me: You tell me, you’re the one that has to frame the shot for the video.

Client: Good point, let me do some measurements.

I re-draw the caricature AGAIN, making sure I add every detail as specified. I even manage to improvise and draw him from a different angle so his “famous smile” can be visible next to the microphone. Two more days pass and I send the caricature to the client again.

Client: OK, this looks cool. Love it! The banner should be 3 feet tall, four feet wide.

THANK YOU I think to myself. I assemble the banner (and end up having to re-do it a couple times because he’s not happy with the layout he specifically told me to give him). Afterwards, I finally get his PDF created and exported to him. A day later, I get this message:

Client: They said you were supposed to use their template. Also you didn’t add my [local sports team] hoodie to the caricature. I’m famous for that! How fast can you fix this?

Me: *head-desks myself to sleep*

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User Submitted Post

Clients from Hell - 24 December 2019 - 1:00pm

Just got a voicemail from a potential client for a website design. He was referred to me by nickel-and-diming former client, for whom I designed an underfunded project from hell. Yellow flag, if not a red flag.

So I Google the potential client’s phone number. He’s the founder of… a website design company. 

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<p>I’m a student freelancer who happens

Clients from Hell - 23 December 2019 - 2:00pm

I’m a student freelancer who happens to volunteer at a mountain-valley research facility. Recently, we had a group of bankers come in to learn about the impacts the environment has on economics. They were impressed that I was so young and knew what I wanted to do in life and spent a lot of the convo buttering me up about my art and animations.

Client: So we’ve been thinking about getting animations and art redone for the program and website. Maybe when we visit next week, we could talk to you about it!

Me: Oh, uh sure! I’m a bit busy with this volunteer job but I’d be happy to give you my information and contact you after I go home.

Client: Cool! Theoretically, how long would it take and how much?

Me: Um, depending, it can range from ______ to ______ for time and $______ to $______ for price!

The whole table laughed, making my ears go hot.

Client: Wow, so young but already have eyes of green, huh? Maybe we can negotiate that.

I get that I’m young and not totally experienced, but I’m not going to undersell myself just because a bunch of mid-aged people say so. 

I wanted to stick up for myself and say something snippy (they weren’t paying me yet after all), but I was so embarrassed and insulted.

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<p>I was creating a site for clients in

Clients from Hell - 23 December 2019 - 1:00pm

I was creating a site for clients in print publishing, but they were VERY picky. Their site has undergone two entire redesigns from the ground up and they’ve changed the domain name three times. Every time the domain changes they need new graphics.

I got a call last night at 1:30 AM.

Client: We want to go live TODAY, but first we want to change the domain name one last time.

The site should have been live three months ago.

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Give yourself an early holiday present of 95 handwritten fonts for $15!

Clients from Hell - 22 December 2019 - 2:00pm
Give yourself an early holiday present of 95 handwritten fonts for $15!

This week’s deal is on 95 handwritten typefaces for 97% off, with some great extras thrown in!

> These fonts are instantly Insta-worthy. Insta-insta-worthy?

Every font in this bundle was designed by hand, and you can absolutely tell. These are fonts with soul. From fine calligraphy to paint-brush scrawls, this bundle is perfect for designs with a motivational message or for creating a fascinating focal point. 

This week, you can save 97% and get all 95 fonts with 15 Instagram templates for just $15! 

> Check out the deal here.



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<p>Client: I can’t attach this PDF to

Clients from Hell - 22 December 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: I can’t attach this PDF to an email. Can you make a DOC version?

Me: Okay.

Client: Actually, come over here.

He then called me over to his computer, demanding I show him where I “made it download.”

Me: Uh… you set where things download on your computer, not me.

He didn’t get it, even after a five minute conversation. He even opened Internet Explorer and asked me where I put the file. 

We painstakingly went through the process of searching for a file on Windows (painstaking because as I said “bottom left corner” to direct him to the search bar, he repeatedly went to the right). Then as I showed him how to find the file hierarchy he kept demanding I stop saving downloads to parts of his computer he doesn’t go to. 

Client: Well why did you make it that way! No one will ever figure that out!

While yelling this he attached the original PDF to his email and sent it out, no problem.

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<p>I am a freelance illustrator. A new

Clients from Hell - 21 December 2019 - 2:00pm

I am a freelance illustrator. A new publishing house reached me some months ago. They want to hire me to illustrate a book they were about to publish.

I ask for information about the project and they send me their phone number right away and ask to meet in a cafeteria to talk things more. I don´t normally meet with clients personally, but I decided to give them a chance.

I met with a woman and a man, both in the 40s. We talked about children’s books and the publishing house they are working for. Turns out, the man is the writer for the book, a retelling of a classic children book and he wants me to illustrate it in a detailed way.  Whenever I tried to bring up the budget, they changed the subject. This happened several times, which was a major red flag.

Also, it was only the man talking, even an hour in. He kept describing what is writing is going to “achieve.”

Client: Illustration is going to be so very important for this project.

The meeting ended. I spent time thinking about how to price the book. It was the first in a series, so I thought it might be worth giving a low price for the first book to make sure I could illustrate the next four books and sent a very competitive offer.

The author responded immediately.

Client: I’m offended, and frankly hurt, that you would ask for so much!

That’s not all he said. In fact, he sent his response in a three page PDF full of emotional blackmail. At one point, he asked why a cover illustration would cost more than an in-book illustration.

The client asked to meet me in person to discuss the project. I declined because I knew I wasn’t going to do the job if that’s what he thought of my attempts to get paid a fair wage. Also, I just didn’t feel comfortable meeting him alone.

He responded in a huge email.

Client: You’re missing out on a great opportunity. I trusted you with my dream, and I chose you because I think your art could capture my words. I would have thanked you whenever I accepted an award. If you could see fit to work within my budget I think we could make something really great. I was looking forward to working with you – you’re so talented and beautiful. I think I’m going to miss you.

 I dodged a bullet.

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<p>Client: Can you provide me the

Clients from Hell - 21 December 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: Can you provide me the permalinks for the Instagram ads and stats as to how they have been performing so far along with the general Facebook ones?

Me: Sure. Here you go.

Client: Hmm… Based on how these are performing, we want to stop running on there. Can you turn them off?

Me: Sure. Those ad placements have been removed.

Four hours later.

Client: Hey, those permalinks you sent to us for the Instagram ads aren’t working. We keep getting a 404. Can you send new links?

Me: …That’s because I turned them off.

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Too Many Errors to Count

Clients from Hell - 20 December 2019 - 2:00pm

Client: There are just too many errors for me to even begin. Please stop all work as I’ve hired a new developer who gets me and has better communication. Please send an invoice for work completed. I won’t pay until you fix the errors.

I was a little shocked since this totally came out of nowhere. We’d spoken about 3 times with several emails since it was only a 1-page website with 400 words and her 15 blogs that we imported from her current website. Her needs were very simple so was the website. I couldn’t fathom how many errors there could be that she couldn’t list them.

I called and left a message to speak to her in person because I was sure it was a misunderstanding… and there was.

It turns out her husband had already tried to migrate the old, live website to her new host and completely broke her live website. Not only that, but he was unaware of how DNS works and that her email was tied to it. So when he moved it he also broke her email settings.

Not sure how this our fault, I explained this to her and clarified that it was not the work we did but what her husband had done.

It took me 5 minutes to fix her live website by simply resetting the permalinks. 

I sent her the invoice and, giving her credit, she paid it but she never said another word to me.

I’d like to think it was out of embarrassment. 

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Ah of course, the universally recognised language of designers…

Clients from Hell - 20 December 2019 - 1:00pm

Was asked to design a logo for the client’s new project. I emailed asking for more (any) information. Below is the submitted brief in its entirety:

Client: If it could not be exactly the same and stand out as it is slightly different. So the same style but jazzier?

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How old AM I?

Clients from Hell - 19 December 2019 - 2:00pm

I am redoing a website for a client who owns a spa. She had me go over the policies section as a second set of eyes.

Me: Here, in the spa etiquette section – it still asks guests to “silence or turn off their cell phones or pagers. We could modernize that section and change the title to “Cellphones and Tablets” or just “mobile devices.”

Client: That doesn’t seem necessary. Since when do people not use pagers?

Me: Roughly the year 2000?  Outside of the first responder and medical emergency communities pagers are basically considered retro-tech, like palm pilots.



Client: Jesus how old AM I?

That section is now titled “Cellphones and Tablets”

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<p>Client: I want a refund for my logo,

Clients from Hell - 19 December 2019 - 1:00pm

Client: I want a refund for my logo, I’m not happy with it.

Me: Why? You where excited a month ago when we issued it.

Client: Well my family made me choose it, I said I liked it because they liked it.

We produced 45+ prelim sketches, then 15+ refined concepts before she settled on the one she liked. THEN we had multiple revisions until it was “perfect,” and she still rejected it.

No refund was issued.

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All the client cliches in one happy client..

Clients from Hell - 18 December 2019 - 2:30pm

Client: We would love to work with you and love your style and previous designs!

They handed me a detailed brief and I was confident I could pull off a design they love. I got to work and created some initial sketches for feedback. 

Client: So…we looked at your designs and we just don’t like them. 

Me: OK, sorry we seem to have missed the mark here – these designs were intended as a starting point to get a feel for style and layout. Could give me some feedback about what you did/didn’t like about them> This will allow me to improve on the design and develop it into something you will love.

Client: We love the page with the full photo but don’t want anything photo-heavy so don’t use any photos here. We want it to look clean and expensive but can you add more text onto the second page to fill the space? But don’t listen to me, you’re the designer. Also can you make it look like the attached? 

They had attached an INCREDIBLY similar brochure design to the ones I did for them and some VERY detailed feedback about what they want – this time I was sure I’d get it right.

Client: Yeah, we don’t like these designs either – can we put this job on hold?

I understand sometimes it just doesn’t work out – but it doesn’t hurt less! Still, at least I filled out my “unclear feedback” bingo card.

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Searching the latest job boards

Clients from Hell - 18 December 2019 - 1:09pm

Except for the url, this is copied verbatim from a job board


I am in need of a remote graphic designer to help my customers create designs. 1-3 Hours per day and can be basically anytime throughout the day. I am very flexible. This will be on going for next 9 months.

Website is [www.XXX.com]

Customers will email us through website requesting design assistance. You will communicate with the customer through emails and work on their design proofs, till they are satisfied and place their order. At times you could have over 10 customers to work with. The artboard stays the same but designs constantly change.

Must be proficient in, Photoshop and Dropbox

Please email if interested with work and hours you can give.

Job Type: Part-time

Salary: This is an unpaid position.

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User Submitted Post

Clients from Hell - 17 December 2019 - 2:00pm

A client wanted a PDF where the first few pages had editable text boxes. With each round of amendments, he requested changes to the text in the editable fields, despite being able to do this himself as he specifically requested the editable text boxes so he could amend the wording to suit different clients.

I sent him the final PDF file WITH editable fields and the images.

Client: Why is this an earlier version? Fix it!

I didn’t know what he was talking about, and he wouldn’t clarify. After cross-referencing the designs to previous proofs and versions three times (re-exporting and re-sending to the client also), I couldn’t understand why he was insisting the files I sent were a previous version. That’s when I realized that one of the amendments in the editable boxes had reverted from a 7 to a 6.

Turns out he was reaching the 3rd page where this amendment had been missed, assumed the rest of the document was an older version and refused to look at the rest of the pages to check it was the latest document, despite the fact the text was EDITABLE in the EDITABLE text box he had REQUESTED from the beginning that he can edit HIMSELF.

Instead, he got me to spend hours trying to find the issue when he could have changed it himself. Or, better yet, told me what the issue was. 

I got paid, but all the extra work made it not worth it. 


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