“How does this color look on your monitor? Is the ‘chocolate’ looking more like the burgundy wine that one drinks while eating the chocolate?”—An out-of-the-blue ‘consultation’ email from a client who owes me over five figures.
I was on holiday at the beginning of the month and a colleague was supposed to deliver a design project in my stead. However, the client said he was happy to wait two weeks until I came back so that he could keep working with me.
Client: When will the magazine be delivered?
Me: Not be until tomorrow.
Client: It was supposed to be delivered at the beginning of the month. It’s two weeks late.
Me: You said you were fine with the project being delayed while I was away.
Client: Yes, but I thought you would have made up that time so it could be delivered on time?
I volunteer for an organization 15+ hours/week. Part of my job requires updating the 40+ members via email and the site. After realizing members aren’t reading anything posted/sent to them, I ask where we are going wrong.
Client: Information on the website doesn’t work for us. We just don’t have time to read it. We’re too busy.
Me: What about email?
Client: We don’t have time to read emails, either?
Client: Sometimes, if we remember to check our phones. You know what would be really great, though?
Me: Sure, what works?
Client: Phone calls. Could you call us with this information?
Me: You mean call you and read all the information in the emails and on the website to you? All 40 of you? Every week?
I was working as a copywriter doing a weekly editorial-style newspaper ad for a hotel that is part of a renowned worldwide chain. The hotel had just done some remodeling and wanted to feature its new off-the-lobby luncheon restaurant in an upcoming ad. We were having a meeting to discuss concepts and so on.
Client: We have an international clientele, so we decided to give the restaurant a French name. We’re calling it (writing on the whiteboard) the “Café Royale.”
Me: You should drop the “e” off the end. In French, “café” is masculine, so it should just be (erasing the final “e”) “Café Royal.”
Client: But then it wouldn’t look French. (turning to the general manager) Let’s go with the French spelling. (pauses) The one with the “e” on the end.
The Food & Beverage Manager of this hotel, who was also present at the meeting, was a Frenchman. Later I asked him why he didn’t object. He said, “I’ve long since learned never to try to teach French to Americans.”
“Thanks for the email signatures, they look much better now. There’s just one thing though: The line “Please consider the environment before printing this email” comes out very blurry when we print our emails.”—
Client: Hi, thanks again for coming in today. As discussed, below is a brief for some work I’d like you to complete so we can see how you apply your skills and knowledge to produce creative to our guidelines.
Can you please design and code a homepage design 985 pixels wide (height is not restricted) using the images I’ve provided on our FTP. Please include roll over effects. I leave the layout and the message to you, but try something different to distinguish yourself. Check the examples I’ve sent you for what we like. Feel free to just put some place holder text in I’m more concerned with the design and coding. I’ve included our brand guidelines as well as our fonts for you to use. Everything is in a folder called for-adam.zip. Attached is the login information.
I’d also like to see what you can come up with for a wallpaper concept based around a Polaroid theme. It needs to stay on brand and not be too dominating. It also needs to be a repetitive pattern so that the it scrolls with the page. Something like [the attached example].
Please submit the work to me by Monday morning 9am.
Keep in mind that this was all had to be completed - over the weekend - simply to be considered for the position.
Me: If you have your own design in mind that you can give to me, the project will cost (x). But if you want to start from scratch, you’ll need to pay (2x) for me to bring in a designer.
She stated that they have no idea about what kind of design they wanted, and paid me the extra to get a designer. Two months later and over 200 hours of work on the site, the site was ready to go live the next day (the deadline). Then…
Client: I’ve attached the design we want to go with, if you could just make that happen that would be great! Thanks! :)
Attached was a 200mb PDF.
I would chalk it up to an error in communication, if she hadn’t sat through 5 design meetings with the designer and I, hammering out details.
A client required a single image for the front page of a new website but was indecisive and asked me to chose one. They couldn’t work out how to send a few it via email, so they offered to post the file onto a DVD disc instead.
Me: I’ve just received your package. I’m a little confused - you’ve sent me 17 DVDs and they all appear to have your PC backups on them.
Client: Oh yes, good to hear they arrived safely! Just choose an image that you think is best for the design.
Me: None of the discs are labelled and they all appear to be complete backups of your computer - some dating back several years. To make things easier, could you let me know in the folder the images are kept?
Client: OK, but you’ve finished the webpage now, so you have time?
Me: Not enough time to go through all of these DVDs. Look, sorry if I wasn’t clear. I don’t know where to look because none of the discs are labelled and they each contain your entire computer backup.
Client: Well I’m not technical but even I can find them if I google them!
“We would like to use the motif which we’ve sent you, but it doesn’t look winterly enough. Can you turn the beach into a winter-wonderland and the woman in the shirt wearing something warmer, but more revealing?”—
I had a client who wanted me to illustrate multiple characters for a game. First they asked me to illustrate one character to see what style I would do it in. I sent it to them. They changed their mind and asked for a different style. I redid it and sent it to them. They seemed to like this better and asked me to continue with the next two characters. After sending those in, they changed their mind again. After the third revision, they sent me a email telling me they wanted me to redraw every character created thus far.
Nine months after delivering a website to a client, I had the following email exchange.
Client: Hey, my computer isn’t working, could you tell me what’s wrong with it?
Me: Sorry, I don’t do computer repairs for clients, I only sell web design services. You’ll probably need to contact whoever you bought the computer from, or take it to a computer repair shop.
Client: Well, you built me a website, correct? And part of that contract was that the site would be available from any computer, correct? Well, I cannot access MY website from MY computer, so that makes this YOUR problem.
Me: I don’t think you are understand how our contract works.
I’m a wedding photographer. In my country, there’s special ceremony at midnight and it is very important to clients to have it in photos. This dialog with wedding organiser took place few minutes before that ceremony.
Client: Where do you think we should have this ceremony - outside or inside?
Me: Inside, since there are no lights outside.
Client: Ok, let’s do it your way.
She proceeded to switch off every light. We had the ceremony in an almost pitch-black room.