Actual design direction from the marketing department for a print piece:
Client: Make it look like a tablet, including the camera on the side and plastic framing. Oh, and a cursor.
Me: A tablet... cursor?
Client: Yeah, like an arrow.
I'm working on a website redesign for a client in the education industry. I work at an agency and we have very strict approval points because clients tend to "change their minds" later on when it becomes more of a headache to make changes. This conversation happened after we have finished designing all of the templates for the website.
Client: Looks great!
Me: Excellent. Can I mark these designs as approved and pass them on to our development team?
Client: Yes, they are approved, provided that we still have the ability to make changes later.
Do you know what approved means?
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I was hired to create clay relief illustrations for a kids educational workbook. The owner of the animation company who hired me was excited about my style and had me come into his studio to start work immediately. It’s important to note that he walked into the ceramics studio I work at and specially asked if there were any ceramic artists for hire. The task was that I’d make about 12-15 flat clay relief illustrations that could be easily photographed from a top-down camera angle.
The first red flag came when the client made me sit beside him as he meticulously sketched each page design on his laptop, then got irritated that I wasn’t familiar with using Photoshop on a Mac. (He specifically hired me because I’m a ceramic artist, and also wouldn’t allow me to use Photoshop on my own laptop. He also said that sketching on paper wasn’t allowed.)
He then presented me with a box of half-used Sculpy clay that was full of dust, some of the colors mixed together. Sculpy that had been used during kids animation classes that he now expected to be used in his new professional project. I explained that I’d been hired as a ceramic artist and assumed I’d be able to use clay and glaze I was familiar with using.
He told me that I’d be expected to work in his studio and that I was making things very difficult by demanding to work, you know, in the actual ceramics studio he visited to find ceramic artists.
I was already there, so I decided to give it a shot. He told me to make him a bee. I made a flat bee with 3D elements- but surprise, he actually wanted a full 3D model. I explained this was all gonna be hard to photograph and waste a lot of time, and reminded him he’d hired me to make a relief, which was flat with 3D details.
I finished the bee, and for two hours he critiqued it, demanding I change the size of the stripes, change the wings, criticizing ‘imperfections’, and making me add legs. Finally, when I was done, he was irritated that the 3D model didn’t sit flat on a table. The following conversation happens:
Me: This is just a test model. We’re making reliefs, right? The bugs in the relief will be attached right to the rest of the piece. I’ll make the background first as a flat layer, then add 3D bugs and plants so you can photograph it.
Client: No, we’ll use this bee. Is it ready to photograph?
Me: ...No. I need to make the entire clay illustration. You want these made from ceramic, right? It’ll be much faster and better quality if I work in my own studio with my own materials.
Client: Can you just bring the clay here?
Me: It’s a different clay, it needs to be put through the kiln. I’m honestly not familiar with Sculpy and it’s a completely different technique.
Client: It took you hours to make this bee! This is gonna take forever! You need to work in my studio since you needed so much guidance.
Me: You hired me because you loved my art. I work much faster with clay that needs to go into a kiln, it’s a totally different material. You’ll need to trust me and let me work if you want me to do this.
Client: I can’t pay you what you quoted. You just took so long. What if we just did a few bugs in clay and photoshopped the rest of the drawing? How much would you charge for one bug?
Client: That’s way too much!
Me: If I made this just to sell as an ornament, I’d charge $40 because of how big you wanted it with all the details.
Client: ...Well, we’re gonna have to discuss this. Come in tomorrow from 10am-4pm.
Me: Yeah cool.
I didn’t go back. I emailed him that night to tell him he’d be better off either hiring an actual Sculpy artist or figuring it out himself.
Client: We want to create an ad for a national trade magazine.
Me: Great, what is the concept of the ad?
Client: We want the Boogeyman creating fear for the would-be buyer.
Me: The Boogeyman?
Client: Yes. Like the concept of buying this type of product is scary like the boogeyman, so we want to see the boogeyman scaring the buyer.
Me: Ummm... what does the "Boogeyman" look like?
Client: You know, like the boogeyman.
Me: I'm gonna need a point of reference here.
Client: Just make up what you think the boogeyman looks like.
Me: Aside from me putting a name tag or sign on this Boogeyman, how would anyone know it is the Boogeyman?
Client: Oh, they'll know. No need to put any name on there.
Me: So if I am the one "making up" what this Boogeyman looks like, and to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever actually seen said boogeyman, wouldn't we still be the only ones who know its the Boogeyman?
Client: We think it will make sense to the reader.
I have been working on an app for a client and it is almost done. So far it has been smooth sailing. The customer wanted some nice pictures of the app so that he can show it off to his employees. I loaded the app on some devices, took a couple of screenshots and sent them to the client.
Client: Thank you for the images. The app looks nice but I would like to have the actual photos of how it looks on a phone.
Me: The images I send are exactly how the app looks on iOS and Android.
Client: No they are not. I require SCREENSHOTS, not images.
Me: These are screenshots. They were made while the app is opened on the phones.
Client: No, they are not screenshots. My iPhone has a home button and a camera on the front. I don't see those in your images. So please make some actual screenshots and send them to me.
So at this point, I realized that the client's definition of 'screenshot' is little different than what it actually means and that he wanted the actual physical shape of the phone around the screenshot. I didn't feel like arguing about it and just proceeded with the "screenshots" with the physical device around it.
Me: Here are your screenshots for Android and iOS. (Taken on iphone 10 and Samsung S8)
Client: I don't need iOS/android. iPhone and Samsung are popular right now and those are the screenshots I want. Can you convert them for me?
Deep, heavy, long sigh...
I have been working with a client for a month or so now, doing illustrations for his website. I'm new to freelance with businesses, but doing my best. As additional work, the client wanted a standing roller banner for a conference. I designed it to the specs of an eBay listing, uploaded it to a Google Drive folder, and sent them the link.
Me: Here's the link to the finished banner, it's a huge file so just email the printers with the link and they'll be able to download it themselves.
Client: The instructions are that if the file is too big to send it via WeTransfer or something like that. If that is the case can you send us that file?
Me: The Google link is just as easy to send to the printers, the PDF file is too big to attach to an email. They can access the link and download it themselves.
Client: We are having trouble with the upload. Could you to send her the link to a WeTransfer file? Probably best to follow the printer's instructions, otherwise might hold everything up.
Me: I don’t know how else to explain. What is the email address for the printers, and the message you were trying to send? I will do it.
These emails were in quick succession late at night, and I'm still waiting for a response half an hour later.