Client: I've changed directions. Use this.
No amount of careful planning, writing, concept work, design, review, and approval can overcome an executive who finds a picture of a pug dog wearing pink sunglasses on the Internet.
STORY TYPES Design Disasters
The client sent me animated gifs to be used at the end of a broadcast sponsor banner spot. That's bad enough, but the gif didn't fit the template. I tweaked it to fit.
Client: We don't like it. Please do it closer to this proof.
The proof had the gif going outside the template.
Me: It has to be tweaked to fit.
Client: No, don't tweak it at all.
Me: ...Tell you what. here are the dimensions they gave me. If you can fit something in there, great.
Suddenly my original proof was perfectly fine and approved.
Actually a very, very good experience, but still made me speechless ...
Me: So here are designs for your new website. I'm open to your comments and ideas if there are any.
Client: No corrections needed, we're happy with design since it "looks like a website".
... and that was the only feedback on quite a big web project. Paid in whole, without any revisions. To be honest with you, I'm still waiting for someone to scream "Hidden camera!".
I'm a designer, and I did a wedding invitation design for free for a family member. I was even going to pay for the printing as a gift. It was beautiful, hand-lettered, custom art inspired by their wedding flowers and colors...and then after not hearing from them for a few days after submitting the draft I get this:
Client: It's really pretty, but it's missing the character that this one has!
They sent me a picture of an invite clearly made from some online generator by two people who have no idea how to design invitations, in dimensions my printer can't readily print.
Client: I guess the fonts are just really hard to do...
The font they loved so much from the generator was a Google font.
Don't work for family.
Client: So we've got a big launch to promote to CEOs and MDs who we want to invite via email so they spend more money with us. It needs to be high-end as we're targeting CEO's but our budget is a bit low.
Me: Okay, let me put a proposal together and see what we can do with that. Which email agency are we working with on this one?
Client: Oh just send it to me, we'll ping it out as a JPEG from our account managers outlook accounts.
I work as a video editor and producer for a music festival, creating the video backgrounds to performances. It's an unpaid internship I'm doing for college credit. The company does not provide me with any funding or access to equipment, or any libraries for stock footage.
I was asked to create the video that would play alongside a Star Wars performance by a symphony orchestra. I thought it would be a cool idea to show footage from the films to go along with the different movements.
Me: So did you guys contact who you needed to get permission to show the footage during the concert?
Client: No, we thought it would just be easier for us if you just create something without going through all that legal hassle.
Me: You want me to create a random video using stock footage for a Star Wars-themed concert?
Client: Is that going to be a problem?
Me: These people are paying to see a Star Wars concert, and you've already advertised it as a "multimedia experience with accompanying video." They're going to expect to see footage from the films.
Client: Well, can't you just make it LOOK like Star Wars without the actual footage?
Me: I have no access to good stock footage libraries, but I can try.
I made a video as best I could using free video footage, and showed them the video. I couldn't use X-Wings, TIE Fighters or lightsabers, so I tried to make it as space-themed as I could.
Client: Why is there so much space-themed video? Can we tone that down? We're gonna overload the audience on space imagery if we keep it like this.
In the end, the audience payed to see a Star Wars-themed concert as the festival played a video that showed flowers, cityscapes, oceans, and landscapes. The audience was not pleased.
A start-up lingerie line came to us needing a brand re-work. Their logo looked silly and amateurish (it basically featured clipart of a bra), so we were tasked with classing it up. Their exact requests:
After about 6 rounds they stopped responding to emails and never paid the final invoice.
Some months later a few of us who were on their mailing list received an email that they relaunched with a new look.
Their new logo is their name in lower case Times New Roman with a space between each letter.
You know. Young, fresh, elegant, and iconic.
About 10 years ago I had a client from an NGO that wanted a website. We agreed on a budget and we had a briefing meeting.
Me: This is the website mockup, it will have all the sections you requested and will be optimized for search engines and accessibility.
Client: This is fine, but we wanted something more flashy, more dynamic, with more color.
Me: This is what I usually do with my NGO clients. We're delivering the message in a simple way. After all, you're not selling Coca Cola.
Client: Yes! that's what we want, Coke's website.
Me: Well you don't have the budget that they have for a website.
After some convincing, the Client begrudgingly accepted, paid the 50% in advance, and sent shitty low-res images and cringey text. I delivered the website to the best of my abilities on the deadline. I get no feedback or response from the client at all. Two weeks later after total radio silence, I found out they replaced the website I made with a full Flash made website with some vector animations over the shitty images on a slider. It was "dynamic" but looked like total garbage.
At least I got my deposit.
I advertise that I offer local businesses a discount on my designs to show my support. I got a call from a potential client asking for a logo.
Client: We want a logo made for our store, and it needs to be similar to the logo we had before, just cleaner and more modern.
Me: I can definitely help you! Send me what you have for your current logo and I can get started.
I received an email with a word document attached. Curious I opened it and saw that there indeed is a "logo" in it, made with clip art that has been stretched. I died a little on the inside but was happy they were making the choice to get it done by a professional.
I worked on a few mockups and send them back.
Client: These are wonderful! Let's go with option A.
Me: Perfect! I can get that exported...
Client: But we want it to be more square, change the font, make it less feminine, and we should probably change the pink parts to a more gender-neutral color. We don't want to offend our male customers.
Me: OK, no problem. I'll rework this with those changes.
I made the changes.
Two weeks went by this time.
Client: This looks wonderful!
Me: Great! I can...
Client: But, the font is different from the first mockups and the colors are wrong. I thought we agreed to keep the pink?! Why is it a different color now?
Me: I have it in my notes you wanted to make it more gender-neutral, so I changed the font and the pink...
Client: No! I want the pink, just make it less feminine! Also, we hate the new font. Can't you just make it the one that's in the document we sent you?!
They used Algerian, so there was absolutely no way I was doing that.
Me: Definitely, I'll take another shot at it. As for the font, [lie] I, uh, don't have that one [/lie] so I will pick something that is close to it.
I make revisions, make all the pinks more of a coral orange color, switch the fonts, and send it back.
Three weeks later I send an email asking if it's been approved and if they'd like me to send the exported files. No response. Good thing I got paid up front I guess.