I'm working on a logo for a client. They just told me this:
Client: Make it stand out by not standing out too much.
I was approached by a friend of a friend that has an advertising agency to create ads at 10€/hour (I know, I know...). All the while he kept saying most of the work is for trendy Chinese products and that the only important things when it comes to the ads are quantity and speed.
I created ads (videos, banners) for 2 different clients of his, one for a tanning company and one for a butchery, he was pleased with both and at least the first one (tanning company) was done on a very high level because I had good pictures and videos to use.
Then came the famous ads for Chinese products. I was given pretty poor instructions but nonetheless, being independent is important. I was given examples of the previous work and a link to the website, which only had horrible pictures (imagine AliExpress level pictures, with text etc.).
I sent them in, working overnight like always, because he always sent the things he needed 1 day before he needed them. No response for 4 days in which he must have seen it and then he probably got a response from his client.
Client: The creatives are very bad and the client asked me about my mental health. No offense, but it looks like I'm going to have to find someone who knows his stuff a bit better (at least regarding ads for trendy products). Did you even look into any other examples at all?
Me: Unfortunately, I can't do much without any quality material, especially not from today to tomorrow. I did a lot of searching online and most of the pictures are of very poor quality and there are no videos to be found, at all. And when it comes to the banners, I stuck to the exact style you provided.
The exact style I mentioned? He sent me 3 examples of the banners - each just a product photo or a product photo on top of a background photo, with a large circle with -X% written in it. That's it. That's what he got from me as well. And that's what he wasn't pleased with. The videos he sent were videos of the products being used (really short and already edited, so unusable for me), which of course he didn't provide at all - I assume this was the issue the client had but... I can't make the statue of David out of manure.
Sent him the bill - awaiting response and expecting issues.
Client: I want my website to be exactly like this person's. Everything they do, I do.
A few months later:
Client: Why did you write this page about this topic?
Me: Because you told us this is what you do.
Client: I don't do that! I said I do what's on that person's website! Don't you ever listen?
Me: (looking at that topic on the website she told us to copy) Yes which is why we included it.
Client: Just do what they do!
Me: Ok, we will write that page then.
Another month later:
Client: Why did you write this I told you not to do this!
I was contacted by a lawyer starting up a new venture (not the first time that's happened). The target audience was the catering industry, and they were adamant they didn't want a "corporate" looking site. They sent me lots of photos of spices and exotic foods.
Client: I want it full of rich, warm, vibrant colors, like these photos.
No worries. I designed a site full of rich, warm, vibrant colors. As far from traditional "corporate" as I could get, though still with all the usual elements and requirements.
Client: That doesn't look very professional. It's got too much color. It needs to be toned down.
This time they sent me photos of farms, with lots of produce. Not all that dissimilar from the spice photos. I designed another site, again using the color palette they requested, but winding back the use of color and introducing more white space. Still very professional.
Client: No, no, no.
Me: What don't you like? Those are the colors you wanted, and I've reduced the use of colors as you requested. What do you want?
Client: It still needs to be colorful. I don't want cold, clinical corporate. It needs to be rich, warm ...
Me: Both of those designs used rich, warm colors, just as you asked, using palettes from the photos you sent. The second one reduced the use of those colors, just as you asked ...
Client: More color, rich colors, not corporate, warm ...
Me: I don't think I'm a very good fit for your job. Maybe you'd be best served with another developer ...
A couple of months later I checked in on her new caterer's supply business website. White, black and blue. So corporate that it looked like something IBM would have had 20 years ago.