I created a new logo for a client. They also asked for a pure white version.
As a jpeg.
STORY TYPES Design Disasters
Client: So, I want the website font to be Impact, but italic Impact.
Me: I don't think Impact even supports italic.
Client: Can you make it work?
Me: I can try, but honestly it's a really bad idea for a few reasons.
Client: Just do it.
My inner typographer died during this project. Especially when I presented it and the CEO asked "why is the font so ugly?"
...AFTER the project went online and all the print materials were done.
Client: I want the logo to have a modern feel.
Me: Sure, I’ll create some mockups.
Skip ahead to next week.
Client: I like it but it isn't quite what I had in mind. Can you just use Times New Roman in extra bold? I really like that font. I use it on everything.
Me: (struggling to comprehend this request) …?
I was working as a concept artist for an indie company that wanted to make a video game. They needed a ton of assets and I wasn’t sure if I could fit it in, but they literally begged me to submit an art brief. I agreed.
They sent me a rough concept to go off. I started to put the artwork together, trying to give them a fresh take on the concept.
As time went on, they changed every… tiny… detail of my design to exactly fit the initial concept until they were practically designing it themselves via emails.
At this stage, I lost interest and passion. But when they mentioned working alongside another reputable design studio I sat up and paid attention. Having my work seen by them would be great exposure. Maybe they would hire me someday! These guys were one of the top design studios in my field.
Client: So we showed your work to that design studio!
Me: Really? W-what did they say?
I was wondering what they thought of it, and nervous that I had no say in any of the design as the client had 100% creative control.
Client: Well, to be honest, they didn’t think you made it.
Client: They said it looked like you got a totally different artist to work on it.
Sigh. In a way, I guess I had.
I never worked on a second brief for that client.
I got contacted by an on-again, off-again client to design their annual breast cancer benefit tee shirt.
Client: We haven’t been using you for a while since our tee shirt printer guy does our design work for free, but the shirt you did last year was such a huge success and the guy who normally does our designs says your work is on a whole other level, so we really want you to do something unique and knock it out of the park this year.
After getting their thoughts on the general direction of the design, I send them back an eye-catching monochrome vintage tattoo inspired piece that fit with their message of cancer-killing warrior women and the general design brief.
Client: This is perfect! You totally made everything we envisioned come to life! This is seriously amazing! Now can you just put our logo on the back of the shirt?
I swapped the logo colors to match the pantones we selected for the front of the shirt, added a small breast cancer ribbon and sent over the mockups.
Client: On second thought, we really loved our logo on the back of the shirt so much that we think THAT should be the front of the shirt. Can you just simplify the current front design and put that on the back instead?
I managed to simplify the front design to something that still remained true to the spirit of the design and put that on the back. I wasn’t thrilled, but what are you going to do.
Client: We changed our mind again, sorry. Can we put the logo back on the back of the shirt, add a few more breast cancer ribbons to it, and then just put a big breast cancer ribbon on the front of the shirt with a quote about breast cancer and our name? We want this to be a super simple design. Thanks!
In the end, they ended up paying for three separate designs and still went with the ultra-generic tee shirt design that their printer could have come up with for free. I got paid, but I’m still bitter.
I was started working for a recruiting company redesigning their website. The client sent me a logo that was really old-fashioned and ugly.
Client: Don't worry. I know that logo is out of date. We're just going to use it as a placeholder until the new one is done. It's going to be much more modern and streamlined.
Phew. I went to work, doing my best to create a beautiful modern website for them. Then they sent me the new logo.
It was just as ugly and old-fashioned - maybe more so.
Me: Uh... Can I ask who designed this logo?
Client: (proudly) I got it from one of those websites that design logos. It was free!
For the past two years, I've provided design packages for an annual event run by a non-profit collegiate organization. I'm a member of the organization and really believe in what they do so I even did it for free.
This year they decided to go "in a different direction" and made all the materials themselves. They were AWFUL. Worse still, several members of this organization approached me to ask if I had designed this year’s materials. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that the clip art they slapped on a PowerPoint is associated with my name as a designer.
Well, it’s easy to say that I’ll not be designing for this organization again in the future. They can have their clip art if they want it.
An email exchange I just had:
Client: The business card you designed is TERRIBLE. The background is bad, the fonts are ugly and the general layout is just unappealing. You have no sense of taste. We are paying you a lot of money but you give us this crap? I'm CCing the CEO on this so he knows what I think.
Me: I didn't make this design. Your CEO did. He just asked me to print it.
He didn't reply, but I wish I could have seen the look on his face when he got my response.
I have worked with some ridiculous clients over the years but a recent one takes the prize.
Client: I want all of the home page to be shown at the same time without the visitor having to scroll.
That would be fine, except the client insisted on jamming a crazy amount of content into the home page.
Me: If you look at most sites online, you’ll find some scrolling is normal unless there is very little content on the page. I think scrolling is preferable to making the content and layout so small that it’s entirely unreadable/unusable.
Client: Yes, make it all small.
Client: Do it.