Client: I know all of the artwork is done already and we approved the design direction, but can you make it black and white?
Me: Why? If we do that, we’ll have to rework a lot of the imagery since you requested a “vibrant” design.
Client: Yes, but I think this has a lot of potential to be shared across many websites, and I don’t want it to clash with any of them.
Me: Don’t you think making it black and white would harm that potential?
Client: Yes, but I want to make sure it matches every website in case it needs it makes use of that potential.
I used to design and edit a magazine for the charity I worked for. It had been published for over 60 years and the cover always featured a large purple masthead.
One day I got a phone call from the chief executive saying that the purple was completely unsuitable and that it had to go. Confused, I went to find out what the problem was.
It turned out that he’d just had his office redecorated and the purple clashed terribly with his new notice boards.
Client: What are those cross dash thingies on the corners of page? Can’t you take them off? They are not supposed to be part of the design. I don’t want them to show up when these go to print.
Me: Do you mean the crop marks?
Client: Yeah, that’s what I said.
Client: Make the words right there bold.
Me: They’re already bold. If you want them to stand out more, we could -
Client: No, shut up - just make it bolderer.
Client: This red is terrible! Why did you pick this red!?
Me: It’s the red from your logo. I can change it to the blue if you would prefer.
Client: No, no, no… I’m sending you a word doc right now. It’s perfect. Use that!
I open the file to find text with a rainbow gradient and neon pink drop shadow.
Client: I don’t like the color… I have the correct color in my Photoshop.
Me: Well, can you provide me a color code you like…
Client: Black is 10%, Yellow is 26%, Magenta is 82%, and Cayenne is 100%
Client: Yes… as in CMYK! Don’t you know your colors?
A client was extremely adamant about how inviolable the grid of their bi-weekly product folder was. They even wanted “maintaining sanctity of the grid” to be part of my job description. It divided every page in a specific set of tiles that could only be combined but never diminished in any way.
Client: There needs to be another product added to this page after all. Put it between these two.
Me: Okay, but you do know that would break the grid, right?
Client: No it doesn’t, you can adjust the grid. Just shave a few inches of those other square spaces and squeeze in another smaller one there.
Me: But then they’d all be different sizes.
Me: If all spaces are different, it’s no longer a grid.
Client: I’ve had it up to here with you and your grid!
"Please create a minimal baroque font."
After a client asked me to build a website with very specific colors (grey and white) and even giving me a website to base the design off of:
Client: There isn’t enough color on the site.
Me: But you specifically asked for only grey and white.
Client: I know, but it doesn’t have enough color.
Me: Okay, we’ll tweak the original idea. Did you have any colours in mind?
Client: Let’s go with something bright and matching.
Me: Luckily, almost any color will go with white and grey as the base palette.
Client: How about black?
Me: …especially black.
I worked as an in-house designer for many years. I was once asked by a manager to design a flyer for the annual conference.
Client: We need the flyer to be designed and printed by tomorrow lunchtime - that’s the mailing deadline. Can you do it?
Me: Sure, but I’ll need the information for it in the next hour or so.
Client: Oh, we won’t be deciding anything until the board meeting next week. Just design something. The mailer goes out tomorrow and the flyer has to be in it.
Me: I can’t design a flyer if you don’t give me the details…
Client: Just get it done with what you have.
I design a flyer that says little more than ‘annual conference, details soon’ in big letters.
The next afternoon I get a call:
Client: (furious) What kind of a flyer do you call this?! It’s useless - there’s no information!
They sent it out anyway.