Clients from Hell

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A collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from designers.
Updated: 31 min 30 sec ago

I’m working with a city government. We spent weeks in big meetings mapping out goals for a new...

1 hour 56 min ago

I’m working with a city government. We spent weeks in big meetings mapping out goals for a new website.

I finished the site and got paid. BUT, it took over a year for them to make up their mind to take it live.

Turns out they wanted to implement things like fully responsive dynamic content, useful apps, etc – all things I told them they needed in the first place but which they opted not to include.

Once the site finally went live, they asked me to start from scratch.

Twist ending though: they’re going to pay me to do it again! So I guess maybe they’re their own client from hell?

1000+ Logos, Elements and Textures - only $19!

15 July 2018 - 3:20pm

This week’s deal is on a GIGANTIC bundle of elements that make creating original logos a breeze.

> Take a look. There’s a LOT here. 

Not only do YOU need a logo as a solopreneur, but logos can be the cornerstone of a design business. This bundle gives you a ton of tools to quickly and easily create professional logos - mix and match over a thousand elements to create a design that’s both original and utterly classic. In fact, just looking through this collection will inspire you! 

This bundle includes a number of other bundles, and sold separately they would add to $110, which is already a deal! But if you buy this week, you can save 83% and only pay $19. This pack will pay for itself in no time!

> Check out the deal here. 

A client sent me a photo of themselves holding a layout sketch.While sitting on the toilet.I still...

15 July 2018 - 1:40pm

A client sent me a photo of themselves holding a layout sketch.

While sitting on the toilet.

I still don’t know if they wanted their junk included in the illustration.  

A client sent me a photo of themselves holding a layout sketch.While sitting on the toilet.I still...

15 July 2018 - 1:40pm

A client sent me a photo of themselves holding a layout sketch.

While sitting on the toilet.

I still don’t know if they wanted their junk included in the illustration.  

"I don’t like this Word file and I’m tired of PDFs. Please save it as a jpg so they can enter their..."

14 July 2018 - 3:20pm
“I don’t like this Word file and I’m tired of PDFs. Please save it as a jpg so they can enter their info in it that way.”

- Just the wrongest person.

"I don’t like this Word file and I’m tired of PDFs. Please save it as a jpg so they can enter their..."

14 July 2018 - 3:20pm
“I don’t like this Word file and I’m tired of PDFs. Please save it as a jpg so they can enter their info in it that way.”

- Just the wrongest person.

I’m working with a client who says they’ve “done design” and act like they know more about it than I...

14 July 2018 - 1:40pm

I’m working with a client who says they’ve “done design” and act like they know more about it than I do. Today, while looking at a design for a pamphlet:

Client: This logo on the back – I know it’s our partner’s logo but can we change the color? It doesn’t fit with our pamphlet.

I’m working with a client who says they’ve “done design” and act like they know more about it than I...

14 July 2018 - 1:40pm

I’m working with a client who says they’ve “done design” and act like they know more about it than I do. Today, while looking at a design for a pamphlet:

Client: This logo on the back – I know it’s our partner’s logo but can we change the color? It doesn’t fit with our pamphlet.

I’m supposed to design a campaign with the logo of the company I work for and the one of the company...

13 July 2018 - 3:20pm

I’m supposed to design a campaign with the logo of the company I work for and the one of the company we’re associated with so I ask them for their logo (I have one version of it in vector format but they wanted to use their new version) and receive a 100 x 115 px JPG and PNG logo. I proceed to call them to ask for a vector file.

Client: What do you mean a vector file? What’s that? Doesn’t PNG work for you? It has a transparent background!

Me: I would need either an .AI or .PDF file of your logo since an image can’t be resized any bigger without losing quality. Could you please ask if you have that version? The designer who did that logo must have it.

Client: No, that’s all we have. But let me export the PNG logo to PDF so you can work with that one.

Me: 

Client: Look, there’s even a website where I can export it to different formats! Hold on… 

He starts reading the exporting formats (they were all image formats) and got excited when he read .GIF as if he exported the logo it would move.

I’m supposed to design a campaign with the logo of the company I work for and the one of the company...

13 July 2018 - 3:20pm

I’m supposed to design a campaign with the logo of the company I work for and the one of the company we’re associated with so I ask them for their logo (I have one version of it in vector format but they wanted to use their new version) and receive a 100 x 115 px JPG and PNG logo. I proceed to call them to ask for a vector file.

Client: What do you mean a vector file? What’s that? Doesn’t PNG work for you? It has a transparent background!

Me: I would need either an .AI or .PDF file of your logo since an image can’t be resized any bigger without losing quality. Could you please ask if you have that version? The designer who did that logo must have it.

Client: No, that’s all we have. But let me export the PNG logo to PDF so you can work with that one.

Me: 

Client: Look, there’s even a website where I can export it to different formats! Hold on… 

He starts reading the exporting formats (they were all image formats) and got excited when he read .GIF as if he exported the logo it would move.

I made a promotional video for a client. I found a perfect song for background use, but it was...

13 July 2018 - 1:40pm

I made a promotional video for a client. I found a perfect song for background use, but it was watermarked with a woman’s voice saying “this is a watermark. Please buy a license to remove this voice sample.”

Me: Do you like the song I used?

Client: No! It had a woman talking through the whole thing for some reason. 

I made a promotional video for a client. I found a perfect song for background use, but it was...

13 July 2018 - 1:40pm

I made a promotional video for a client. I found a perfect song for background use, but it was watermarked with a woman’s voice saying “this is a watermark. Please buy a license to remove this voice sample.”

Me: Do you like the song I used?

Client: No! It had a woman talking through the whole thing for some reason. 

This client must have taken a management seminar from “every...

12 July 2018 - 8:55pm


This client must have taken a management seminar from “every bully in every 80s movie.” 

This client must have taken a management seminar from “every...

12 July 2018 - 8:55pm


This client must have taken a management seminar from “every bully in every 80s movie.” 

I am a full-time, PAID, award-winning photographer. I’ve worked with a particular retailer for more...

12 July 2018 - 3:20pm

I am a full-time, PAID, award-winning photographer. I’ve worked with a particular retailer for more than four years, both as their photographer and as an exhibiting artist in their gallery. I just ended year five of my on-going project.

Every year, they have a one-day national sales event, which I have photographed for them, in exchange for product – they make BEAUTIFUL, expensive, wonderful products, which I would not otherwise purchase.

This year, the new manager has made some changes: one is not caring for exhibitors, which resulted in an in-coming artist removing my work without permission, sticking labels to the glass on the pieces, and piling the work in a corner. 

The other is a seeming disregard for collaborations. 

Today, I received an email:

Client: I hope all is well with you! Are you coming by for (said national sales day)? We just wanted to make sure our favourite photographer will be joining in on the festivities. Just so you know, [The manager’s sister] will be the designated photographer for us this year so you’ll have to come by and snag a few photos with us ;)

 Thank you so much for spearheading previous photoshoots!! You are truly an angel <3

Wow. I feel so much better to be displaced by an amateur, but be asked to come work for free. WTF? 

I am a full-time, PAID, award-winning photographer. I’ve worked with a particular retailer for more...

12 July 2018 - 3:20pm

I am a full-time, PAID, award-winning photographer. I’ve worked with a particular retailer for more than four years, both as their photographer and as an exhibiting artist in their gallery. I just ended year five of my on-going project.

Every year, they have a one-day national sales event, which I have photographed for them, in exchange for product – they make BEAUTIFUL, expensive, wonderful products, which I would not otherwise purchase.

This year, the new manager has made some changes: one is not caring for exhibitors, which resulted in an in-coming artist removing my work without permission, sticking labels to the glass on the pieces, and piling the work in a corner. 

The other is a seeming disregard for collaborations. 

Today, I received an email:

Client: I hope all is well with you! Are you coming by for (said national sales day)? We just wanted to make sure our favourite photographer will be joining in on the festivities. Just so you know, [The manager’s sister] will be the designated photographer for us this year so you’ll have to come by and snag a few photos with us ;)

 Thank you so much for spearheading previous photoshoots!! You are truly an angel <3

Wow. I feel so much better to be displaced by an amateur, but be asked to come work for free. WTF? 

Me: Okay, since we’re crunched for time I need you to prioritize these changes. Give me the most...

12 July 2018 - 1:40pm

Me: Okay, since we’re crunched for time I need you to prioritize these changes. Give me the most important change first, the second most important change second, etc etc. That way I can do what’s most important in time.

Client: Okay.

I pushed through until deadline, targeting the key issues and getting everything essential done in time.

Me: Here’s my final version to push to live.

Client: What are you talking about? You haven’t finished half of our first priorities?

Me: I asked you to list your top priorities in order – I worked to your list.

Client: Yeah, that didn’t work for us, because EVERYTHING was top priority. We just gave you an alphabetical version.

For the record, of the 117 “top priorities,” they wanted:
* Setting backgrounds to a slightly different color
* Shifting Headlines 5px left
* Changing Button Colors

Me: Okay, since we’re crunched for time I need you to prioritize these changes. Give me the most...

12 July 2018 - 1:40pm

Me: Okay, since we’re crunched for time I need you to prioritize these changes. Give me the most important change first, the second most important change second, etc etc. That way I can do what’s most important in time.

Client: Okay.

I pushed through until deadline, targeting the key issues and getting everything essential done in time.

Me: Here’s my final version to push to live.

Client: What are you talking about? You haven’t finished half of our first priorities?

Me: I asked you to list your top priorities in order – I worked to your list.

Client: Yeah, that didn’t work for us, because EVERYTHING was top priority. We just gave you an alphabetical version.

For the record, of the 117 “top priorities,” they wanted:
* Setting backgrounds to a slightly different color
* Shifting Headlines 5px left
* Changing Button Colors

Client: Why are BOTH these tablets already dead? What were you doing on them and why weren’t they...

11 July 2018 - 3:20pm

Client: Why are BOTH these tablets already dead? What were you doing on them and why weren’t they charged?

Me: …Did you try turning them on?

Client: How the hell am I supposed to turn them on? I don’t know how to do that!

Me: How do you turn your iPhone on?

She then stares at me blankly as I pressed the button on the top right edge of the tablet - the near-exact same spot where the power button is on her iPhone - and sure enough, it powers up to 100%, ready to use.

Client: …Well, why did you turn them off in the first place?

Client: Why are BOTH these tablets already dead? What were you doing on them and why weren’t they...

11 July 2018 - 3:20pm

Client: Why are BOTH these tablets already dead? What were you doing on them and why weren’t they charged?

Me: …Did you try turning them on?

Client: How the hell am I supposed to turn them on? I don’t know how to do that!

Me: How do you turn your iPhone on?

She then stares at me blankly as I pressed the button on the top right edge of the tablet - the near-exact same spot where the power button is on her iPhone - and sure enough, it powers up to 100%, ready to use.

Client: …Well, why did you turn them off in the first place?

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