Nightmare clients are a fact of life for all designers; even if you know all the secrets of keeping clients on side, sooner or later you're going to run into a client from hell. We asked six top creatives to tell us about the worst client feedback they've ever had.
"I was once told that I draw like a person who can't draw. This was ridiculously unhelpful and vague feedback. I asked how I could improve the work and prompted them to clarify further, but they couldn't clearly explain to me what they meant or justify the comment. It was upsetting to hear this feedback, so we took a break. When I came back, there was a hot chocolate with cream waiting for me and an apology."
June Chanpoomidole is an illustrator and artist
"I once had an email from a client after we sent him a presentation of our first round of concepts. It was polite but laced with barely concealed anger. He was disappointed with the work and accused us of outsourcing it because he felt it was so terrible (attacking our integrity – worse than insulting our designs). He didn't even have the guts to answer my repeated calls. Spineless."
Yael Miller is a partner at Miller
"A client was unable to decide on a colour for the logo we had designed for their TV show. After the fifth round of sketches, we had given them more than 15 colour options, but they were no closer to making a decision. They then asked to see sketch number 14 in a range of shades from dark to light, and in other colours as well. So we imported it into After Effects, created three layers within a composition of 100 frames and rendered three folders containing 100 frames each. After seeing 300-plus colours they finally made a decision."
"I have been lucky to avoid any incredibly ridiculous or unhelpful feedback so far in my dealings with clients. However, one job I did came with very poor specifications for the final print and it took a lot of emailing between myself, the client and the printer to clarify the final requirements. It certainly gave me a headache!"
Alice Rebecca Potter is a designer and illustrator
"Client: 'Why do we have to purchase this font? I have lots of good free fonts on my computer – check this, Comic Sans. I'm sure you can change the identity to one of these.' Me: 'Okay, yes, we can do that. But you'd have to change your [ultra-serious] business into a kindergarten business.'"
Bruno Sellés is a co-founder of Vasava
"A colleague of mine was once asked if he could put hyperlinks into the magazine advert he was designing. I think he was a bit unsure of how to respond to that."
Julia Zeen is an illustrator and graphic designer
This article originally appeared in Computer Arts (opens in new tab) issue 228.