It’s not rocket science, clients are our main source of income and are critical to our survival in the design business …which isn’t always an easy one, especially freelance. However you must not get overly dependent on clients. Some clients abuse the client-designer relationship, and for projects to work successfully, it requires mutual effort, cooperation, and understanding. If any of these parties are not on the same page, then the whole project is nothing but a futile exercise. Therefore, here are some characteristics that will help you identify potential troublemaking clients so that you can avoid them. Remember, just because the potential client can afford to hire you, doesn’t necessarily mean you should take on their project.
1. The Infamous ‘Cheapskate’
Like many careers, everyone wants a deal, and some clients look for a bargain every time they approach a graphic designer. Even though you define your fee as a fixed sum, often times already including a discount, these clients assume that it’s just a starting point for further negotiations. Clients often don’t realize the time an effort designers spend on their projects, and haggling over dollars undermines your worth as a graphic designer. Although you may not want to lose out on a client, my brother Daniel has helped me realize that lowering your standards for cheapskates lessens the quality of your brand and makes it hard to advance in your industry. If such clients don’t value your work, it’s better to avoid them.
2. The Hasty Client
It many cases it seems as if clients always need designs YESTERDAY. This particular client will fly in and hastily ask for a design. What they underestimate is that design concepts require a thorough process and takes time to execute. You’re not a delivery man and it’s unfair to you, as a designer, to work under unrealistic deadlines.
However, this can be a fast-paced industry and you should learn to work under tight deadlines.
3. The Know-it-all
No designer wants to play the role of a puppet in a design project. Some clients Some clients have a knack of acting over-smart and bossy towards designers. While providing suggestions and feedback is imperative of every client, being overly commanding can hinder a design project. Let’s be real, if the client knows it all, what do they need you for?
4. The ‘Indifferent’ Client
Another client type, one that many wouldn’t think to avoid, is the indifferent ones! You know, the uninvolved ones who are detached from the project. In most projects, client involvement is crucial but these clients couldn’t care less about the various characteristics of the project. Consequently, there miscommunications and flaws in the final design can easily occur.
5. The ‘Finicky’ Client
Share Your Experiences:
To all my fellow graphic designers, recognize any of the aforementioned types? I’m interested! Please share your client horror stories below. How did you deal with it? What did you learn?