Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Life of a Designer: The Horror Stories

Halloween is just days away and since I've been in a horror kind of mood, what better way to commemorate all of this than by sharing some client horror stories! The following stories are true, only the names of clients and companies have been changed. Let's start with mine.

Client: So Dennis, I talked to my investor and lawyer and it seems that there is already a restaurant called the Mahi Mahi Grill. We need to axe the logo and start over asap.

Me: Didn't you assure me that the name was available before we began work on this logo?

Client: Look I say a lot of things, but it turns out there's more than one state in this country and in Massachusetts there is Mahi Mahi Grill. So let's just start over.

Me: Fine Bob, we can start over, just take care of the invoice for this logo and we can get it going.

Client: Wait, what? I'm not going to pay you for this logo. Were not going to use it! We'll pay you for the new one.

Me: Bob, work was completed on this logo regardless of the circumstances. Would you ever tell this to your dentist or mechanic?

Client: I wouldn't pay them for work I didn't use and I don't need this logo!

Me: Bob, am I being Punked here, because I can't believe you're not getting this.

Client: Whose a punk?!

Long story short, Bob got the concept of paying people for their work after his wife, who was in the other room, heard his yelling and explained it to him. She actually got on the phone and apologized to me. We never worked again after the second logo. 


This next horror story was submited by Illustrator Mandy Lau. There was a disgareement about the price of the illustrations she's set to do after submitting a sketch that the client loved.  Turns out the client didn't see that Mandy had asked for her to read and sign the contract where the rate she agreed to was stated. This is where it picks up.

(At this point, I am very confused. I proceed to forward the client’s previous email where the client stated: "Hi Mandy: I want to work with you... yes! Let's proceed at your rate.”)

ME: As explained in my previous email, I mentioned I could not produce the illustrations for 1 peanut per. The best is 1 almond per, which you replied with agreement...

CLIENT: Mandy ...Please call me ...I also would like to apologize in one respect as I never actually reviewed your agreement/contract until today...My counter proposal is 2 peanuts...The reality is as you know this is Nutty Land and there are a million other designers/illustrators who are just as qualified... We do not wish to devalue what you are doing or creating ...Please tell me how we can make this work or else I have to outsource to students and alumni at Nutty Design Center, Nutty College of Design in Nutty Suburb or the tons of other top rated illustration programs in our city...
(The client had sent about 25 emails, each averaging about 600-1000 in word count, within the span of a few days.)
Around close to 7pm Nutty Time...

[Email Subject Line: “Executive Team Awaiting Your Call”]
Mandy: Its after 6p.
We haven't heard from you.
My executive team is here in conference waiting to discuss the project w/ you.
My direct line is 1-800-NUTTY

(Client proceeds to send a series of unpleasant, attacking text messages throughout the night)

ME: Hi Client: Thank you for your interest, but I do not wish to pursue any business with your company.

[Email Subject Line: “Get Wise”]
Dear Ms. Mandy:
The best thing that ever happened to our organization yesterday was "ending the relationship" with you...
1. You (insanely and comically) attempted to overcharge us...--- LMAO
2. You are narcissistic with the weird belief that you can not be "replaced"...

...FYI: We outsourced this exact design project online... we have been inundated with illustrators here in Nutty Land ...We are also over joyed to work with Americans who are incredibly talented , not difficult [the way you clearly are!] ...I hired three top freelancers today with Master's Degree's in Design who are working for 1 peanut per sketch or LESS (LMAO) and our entire executive team is in heaven!

Whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...

Thank you for "not working out" ... Thank you for being "arrogant" ... Thank you for not realizing how "obsolete" you truly are according to the big picture of branding!...I strongly recommend you see a psychiatrist and you stop trying to hustle people and charge them 2x (LMAO)...Get Wise!

CEO | Executive Producer

(Client proceeded to CC me on all email correspondence to her team glorifying the success of her product launch and attached the final illustrations.)

Would you have done it differently? Do you have any horror stories to share? Did a client ever take you to the brink and make you snap or were you able to keep your composure? Tell us what happened and make sure to share this post on twitter (via @salvatier), facebook and Google+. Thanks for reading!