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A collection of client horror stories from designers and freelancers on CFH.

Secret Aaaaagent Brand!

, , , | Right | November 28, 2022

I was helping a client create a brand identity for a new company. I thought that this meant designing a logo, a corporate identity, and also some matching promotional materials. The client’s idea of what I would be doing wasn’t quite so clear.

Client: “I need a company logo that I could apply to all my stationery, websites, email — everything. But I need you to be discreet; this information is highly confidential.”

Me: “No problem. Maybe we can meet up to chat about what exactly you want your logo to express, what the business is about, etc.”

Client: “My company stands for simplicity, information availability, and transparency. I hope this helps.”

Me: “What exactly does your company do?”

Client: “I’m not sure why you need more information. This company will become successful worldwide, but it’s confidential at the moment.”

Me: “Fine. What is the company called?”

Client: “I was hoping you could help me with that.”

He then sent me a long list of possible names that were mostly just his name and his wife’s name awkwardly smashed into one word.

Me: “I’m not sure if I can help you with the name; that wasn’t really what we discussed and wasn’t included in the price I quoted you.”

Client: “You don’t understand! This company will be really successful. We’ll be sure to repay you for any help you give us getting started.”

Me: “You need to tell me what you actually do in order for me to craft a brand identity for you. If I don’t know what your company does, and if it doesn’t even have a name, I can’t create a brand for you.”

Client: “That’s top secret.”

I stopped writing back after that. Who knows? Maybe he thinks I’m still working for him and I’m just being “top secret.”

Some People’s Time Is Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey-Er Than Others’

, , , | Right | November 27, 2022

In August of last year, I finished working on an album cover for a musician. I sent him the final file and left for my summer vacation. While I was gone, he sent me an email.

Client: “Hi, I know you’re on vacation, but I need you to make a small edit and resend me the file. This is very urgent. We are ready to print.”

I took care of it immediately. It was a five-minute job. The hardest part was finding a plug for my laptop. They didn’t write back, so I figured “job done” and enjoyed the rest of my vacation.

Just now, a year later, I receive an email.

Client: “Hey, thanks for the file. We are finally ready to print now!”

Just Wait Until It’s Time To Update

, , , | Right | November 26, 2022

I develop and produce custom software for Windows. A client calls me up saying my software isn’t working.

Me: “What happens when you run the software?”

Client: “I already downloaded it! I have to run it, too?!”

It did not get better from there.

This Is NOT The Museum You Think It’s Going To Be

, , , , , , , , | Right | November 25, 2022

I’m a freelance graphic designer. I am helping a small bed and breakfast in a touristy part of central London create a pamphlet for their guests. Along with information about the B&B, it also contains a small map showing local attractions. One of them I am familiar with: the Foundling Museum, which is about the history of abandoned children in London and what charity did to help them.

It is a hand-drawn map, with spellings provided by the client. I call them up to discuss the final touches before it’s sent to the printers. The client has been brusque and arrogant during most of our interactions and does not like to be challenged.

Me: “Are you sure you want this to go to print like this?”

Client: “Yes! Stop questioning me.”

Me: “It’s just that you have the Foundling Museum as a local attraction here.”

Client: “Yes! It’s an important part of the local history!”

Me: “Yes, of course. It’s just that you’ve forgotten to add the ‘U’ in ‘Foundling.'”

I hear the client aggressively click on their mouse and type something on their keyboard. And then silence. Noticeably prolonged silence.

Client: “F***.” *Click*

A revised version of the map was sent a few minutes later.

Didn’t Size That One Up Quite Right

, , , | Right | November 24, 2022

I was hired to design and order “school spirit” T-shirts for a K-12 school. 

Client: “Why are you ordering so many more of the medium and larger sizes?!”

Me: “Because most of our kids and parents we’ll be selling to wear these sizes?”

Client: “No, no, that won’t do! Order equal amounts of each size!”

Me: “But…”

Client: “Just do it.”

Several weeks later…

Client: “Why are there so many children’s small and extra small shirts left?!”