Right Working Romantic Related Learning Friendly Healthy Legal Inspirational Unfiltered
A collection of client horror stories from designers and freelancers on CFH.

They Don’t Scroll, But They Do Fold

, , , | Right | May 19, 2022

Client: “We would like a fully interactive website for our members. We have already created a lot of the content, and we have put together a couple of CDs full of images from our archives for you to choose from. However, one thing that annoys me about websites is this whole ‘scrolling’ thing. I find scrolling really annoying. Would it be possible for you to build a site that doesn’t scroll?”

Me: “Um, I’m not sure I understand. Do you mean when the page is too wide and you have to scroll right to read all the text?”

Client: “No, I mean scrolling down the page.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond. At this point, the client’s secretary interjected to point out to the client that websites have to scroll or they don’t really work.

Client: “Yes, but our brochures don’t scroll, and they contain lots of information.”

The secretary and I stared, speechless.

Client: “Well, okay. We can come back to that later.”

The client finally got the new site, and even though you had to scroll, was very pleased with it.

Consistency Has To Do With Texture, Right?

, , , , | Right | May 18, 2022

My client, a marketing director, tends to be very particular about consistency in point sizes across various pieces.  

Me: “I can’t get this headline to wrap properly!”

Client: “What about rewording it to fit?”

Me: “I’ve tried that; nothing seems to make it fit.”

Client: “Just make the point size bigger.”

One of the other designers at the table points out that it will break the consistency across the ads.

Client: “Consistency doesn’t mean doing the same thing all the time.”

No one knew how to respond to that.

Just Pay Your Bills, Dude

, , , , , | Right | May 17, 2022

I was working on-site for a client for several months. He then started questioning every point of the invoice.

Client: “I didn’t see you on Wednesday, so I am not going to pay you for it.”

Me: “I was here; you didn’t see me because you weren’t in the office on Wednesday.”

It was at this point that I decided to cease our relationship.

A Bad Client In So Many Ways You Could Write A Book

, , , , , , , | Right | May 16, 2022

I am contacted by a potential new client looking to rebrand their book series. It sounds like a great project, plus the client is actually a small publisher rather than the indie author and that’s always nice to add to a resumé, so I take the job.

The actual design process goes well. I get the proofs done quickly, get them approved easily, and start polishing up the final design.

This is where the trouble starts. First, the breaks between responses get longer and longer. I can’t get answers to questions or approval for drafts for up to two weeks at a time.

Then, I suddenly get a response from a new person who says they’re taking over for my original contact. Okay, cool. I don’t need to know the inner workings of their company.

The new person is even worse about responding in time but puts it off on the author, saying that they’re waiting to hear back from the author about some details about color and image choices. At this point, I’ve filed this client away as “not the best, but I’m loving the project, so whatever.”

At one point, I don’t hear from them for eight weeks. My follow-up email goes unanswered. My second follow-up email also goes unanswered.

Finally, they reply with a one-sentence approval. I finish the project and send the final proof and an invoice. This is at the end of September. October passes. November passes. December arrives. I send a final follow-up and then decide to heck with it. They have my information, and they don’t have the files, so I’m going to enjoy my holidays in peace.

Come January, I decide to do a little investigating (just making sure they haven’t tried to use one of the watermarked proofs as an actual cover) and find that the domain for the company is no longer active. Their email addresses are linked to that domain, so now I’m concerned that no one has even been receiving my emails.

The company is an imprint of a larger publishing house, which lists my first contact as one of their staff members, so I reach out to her through an alternate email.

Two days later, I get an email from the marketing department coordinator of the imprint, very condescendingly informing me that she’s the person I should be speaking with and sending my invoices to.

Cool. Fine. I’ve never heard of you before in my life and you are neither of the people I’ve interacted with but… fine. Here’s your invoice and the final proof again. Approve it, pay me, and I’ll send you your files.

I finally get paid and I send the files.

Two weeks later, I get another email from my original contact… asking for the files. Insert banging head on wall here. Apparently, no one at this company talks to anyone else.

They need an e-book and paperback. We’ve discussed this, and I sent a JPG of the front cover for the e-book and a PDF of the full cover for the paperback. But there are different print-on-demand (POD) services, and I now learn that they need files for two different ones. This was not previously agreed on, but it’s a pretty simple matter of just inserting the design into a different print template, so I just do it and don’t argue.

Then, they tell me, “Oh, sorry, when we said we wanted [POD company #2], we actually meant its subsidiary company, [POD company #3].”

They use exactly the same templates because they use the same physical machines but okay, here is the same file; it just now has [POD company #3]’s logo on it, instead.

The client complains that they don’t want a version that has all the “extra” bleed room and markings that the template uses, and I explain that this is how [POD #2 and #3] require their files to be submitted. At this point, they have four different files, three of which are full paperback covers; one of them should work.

I hear nothing for almost two months.

At 2:00 am one night, I get an email that says, “I don’t want to be a pain, but you’ve given us PDF versions in the past. Can we please get that for this project? This is how we’ve always submitted our files and we want to keep doing it this way.”

…the files you have are PDFs! The original file without the large template I sent was a PDF!

This is the first time I’ve ever worked with your company. I don’t think anyone cares how you’ve “always” done it. If you don’t submit the files correctly, they won’t accept them. Period. But you have all the potentially workable files you might need. This is no longer my problem.

I send an email saying, “Dear Client: On [date], I sent you a PDF of the cover without any excess bleed or margins. If [POD #3] is going to accept the files that way, they should accept that one, as it’s the exact same thing as what’s on the proper templates, just without the appropriate layout.”

That was three weeks ago. I have not heard back from them. They wanted me to do this author’s entire series, but after this escapade, I am firing them as a client and will not be working with them again. Even if I charged twice my rates, it’s not worth it.

I Usually Go To Bing First

, , | Right | May 15, 2022

I had a potential client that asked me to stop by their office for a consultation on redesigning their current website. When she offered to show me her current site this is what she did (and I wish I was exaggerating).

She opened Internet Explorer, which defaulted to Google’s site. In the Google search field, she typed in “Yahoo . com”, clicked Search, and in the results, clicked the Yahoo paid ad. Then, in Yahoo’s search box, she entered her website’s URL, clicked Search, and in Yahoo’s results, she clicked the third link from the top.

Me: “Do you do this every time?”

Client: “How else do you expect me to find my website?!”