Creatives unite – there are certain phrases that you hear from clients time and time again that will make you groan out loud and bash your head against your Mac keyboard in despair. Unfortunately (or fortunately!) clients make the world go around, but it can help to vent occasionally about some of the crazy things designers and developers get asked for in their day to day life of ‘making things look pretty’. 

We asked you for some examples of real client comments, requests and feedback that has forced you to bite your tongue. Prepare to cringe… 

Logo drama

We know what a logo is, and when a client requests a logo we think that they know what a logo is. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. 

Siri has worked both in-house and agency side. She says: “While working in Australia we had a few interesting clients…. one of my favourites was when a client said they wanted a logo, not just a font/text. Facepalm. Basic misunderstanding of what a logo is.” 

Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and smile when it’s the umpteenth time you’ve heard this one: “I’m just sending you the high res logo. It’s in Word, is that OK?” Oh dear. 

The designer client knows best

Designers really do know best! Tom had to stop himself shuddering at this request: “We had one client ask us to put a dreaded ‘drop shadow’ on a new logo that we had designed for them as they felt it needed to ‘lift’ more. 

“We recommended that this wasn’t something that people did now with logos and that it would age the logo very quickly, but we had to show it to them anyway.” 

Needless to say, when the client saw the new logo they immediately agreed with Tom.

“Can’t you copy and paste it in?”

It can be hard to explain to a client exactly what you need from them in order to do your job properly. After all – your knowledge and skills are what they are paying you for - and you don’t want to confuse them with too much information. Being a clear communicator is an essential skill for a designer, so sometimes you really do have to take a deep breath before you go on to explain the complexities of design in as simple manner as possible to a client. 

A client asked Siri: “I really like that blue but could you make it warmer?” What she wanted to tell them was: “Well no, ‘cos it’s a cool blue from your brand colour palette. And blue is not a warm colour,” but had to do so in a more client-friendly way. 

She says: “I have also been made to put hideous script fonts on stuff, to make it ‘friendly/playful/softer’ but actually it just makes it off-brand and nasty.” And don’t even mention Comic Sans… 

Budget – what budget?

Many of the designers and developers we spoke to had experienced the same constant battle with their clients: finances and expectations. It’s a fact that unrealistic budgets can be frustrating for both parties. Kirsteen says the thing she sees a lot is: “When the client has champagne tastes and beer money, they basically want branding that has all the time and thought that Pentagram might spend on it but they have £1.99 to spend!” 

Janice concurs. Another request she had to respond to recently while working on video content was: “Obviously we don’t have a Hollywood budget but we need it to look Hollywood so you’ll have to be creative on this one!” 

And this quote, also from Kirsteen’s client, is a classic: “We don’t have much budget but there will be plenty of work coming your way.” 

The joy of an unclear brief

Ryan says: “I was asked for something that was subtle and yet ‘in your face’ at the same time.” 

Siri bemoans this issue too. “When you don’t get a proper brief but they say ‘I’ll know if it’s right when I see it’ - well no, that’s not good enough!” 

And when it comes to feedback, you can probably all relate to this gem offered up to Kirsteen: “I don’t like it, but I don’t know why.” Sigh. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed a giggle looking through these examples – it’s always good to know that even on a frustrating day you are in solidarity with and experiencing the same frustrations as creatives the world over. 

That said, if these issues are becoming unbearable, maybe you should consider a new challenge? Take a look at the creative roles we are currently recruiting for.