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    No matter which field we belong to, our most common complaint is ….”My client is really difficult to handle.”  And yes, being a graphic designer, I think we are the ones who mainly get to deal with the most complicated clients :( all my sympathies for my friend designers. In the logo designing business, it is a blessing to possess the invaluable skill to convince your client ….Oh God save me!!

Although it is part of our job to provide ample of options and choices to our clients (this is what we are paid for) but don’t you think our suggestions are not valued? What I mean to say is that the endless instructions of our customers’ make us end with not-so- good designs. Being a designer, we better understand what kind of logo will be effective but some clients become too stubborn with their choices. Is it reasonable to slaughter our creative skills and instincts to follow our customers’ strict orders? Knowing that the irrelevant instructions by our client are leading to a disastrous design, we still pursue them. This leaves us with a BIG question mark???

1) Does your client murders your creativity skills?
Graphic Design is a field where clients are mostly influenced by people close to them and approve the final designs after consulting family and friends. It’s no surprise when a client says “my wife wants the background blue.” We are asked to make changes according to the recommendations of people who might be observing a logo so closely for the first time in their lifetime. There are many other statements you have to follow unwillingly

  •  “Could you just throw some colorful splashes to make my corporate logo funky”
  • ‘My friend thinks the text should be in red, bold and underlined….”
  • “You’re charging me more – My neighbor tells he got a logo design just for $150!

2) Does your frustration make you evil?

Every graphic designer believes in the term “Client is always right”. However, at times a complicated client can be frustrating, not leaving you with many options. In such circumstances your evil part overtakes and you decide to follow the clients’ instructions no matter how bad the outcome is. To avoid further hard work and argument with the client, I have seen many designers finalize an inappropriate logo design, with all evident flaws and faults.

3) How do you Deal?
We all know that chances are very few that you completely satisfy a client….he always sees a room for improvement. A client mostly does not have an idea that his required changes will leave his logo design unattractive. In such circumstances, you have two options…either you quietly make the changes according to your clients’ wish list (without warning him) or you try to explain him the faults (and gear up to prepare another series of designs).

So my friends, be frank and make your confessions….how do you handle such situation? Do you pursue your client or let him go with his wrong decision? Don’t forget to be honest ;)

Author Charlie B. Johnson

has written Posts 388 .

  1. Kyle Gile On October 19th, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Well I hate to say it, but this article is 100% on the dot.

    In some situations, a client can be more complicated than the logo design process itself.

    I’ve had a few clients who ask for minor things changed, and they don’t seem to realize what they are going is bringing the logo quality down a lot. I’m not saying this is the case every time, but I’ve had a few times where it is. Though sometimes a clients recommendation can indeed be a good one.

    When a client makes a bad recommendation, I will of course warn him and then ask again whether or not the client would still like me to make the change. It usually works out in my favor, because most clients will trust the designers opinion over there own. But there are some clients that are stubborn and don’t care what the designer has to say.

    So my opinion to everyone else, warn the client first before making the change they request if you think it is a bad idea. Then ask again whether or not they still want to make the change, or agree with you.

  1. Pam - Ryvon Designs On October 19th, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I think as designers we also need to keep in mind that logo design “rules” are really guidelines. We can make suggestions, but what we prefer or feel is “right” (based on accepted practices and experience)may not be right for the client.

    A perfect example is this blog post, hailing the amateur logo:

    A logo, yes should be simple and memorable, etc., but should also express the company, their style, and their brand. Sometimes, rule-perfect professional is NOT the right way, and as pros we need to be humble enough to remember it when needed.


  1. Catherine Azzarello On October 19th, 2009 at 11:11 am

    I learned a while back to not show the client every comp I had made. Bottom line: the client will inevitably select the least effective.

    Offer fewer choices: 3-5 are good for first round. And most importantly–don’t show something you cannot live with. If you put it on the table, be prepared to follow through with the design.

    I don’t even show the client color in the first round. Being old school, I make it clear that logo needs to function in one color for the (often unanticipated) fax/embroidery/stamping/whatever future application. Additionally, since I charge considerably more than $150 for logo design, my expertise is respected. If a client’s wish is detrimental to their brand, I explain the WHY of it.

    That, and a contract with deliverables and number of edits spelled out is enough.

    Ultimately, the client is paying me to create something for them. I send the client away happy. If I’m unhappy with the result, so be it. I have the option of NOT including that piece in my portfolio.

  1. Shawna On October 19th, 2009 at 11:37 am

    It seems to me like the smartest and most ethical thing to do is try your very hardest to explain why you’ve designed it the way you did, explaining why you’ve chosen the colors you did, or something. If they still don’t like it, try some new designs. I fully believe that if you can’t please them, you won’t have to worry about telling them to bug off and find a new designer lol, they’ll do that on their own. But hopefully you could make them see that what you have designed will work for them.

  1. Leftfield On October 19th, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Does your client murders your creativity skills?

    Usually i got mass murderers. At the end, after very clear explanations Why/Because i am making like he told me. If the final work is not satisfying for me and my showcase (here i become nasty) there is no support for him.

    After this kind of job, his every question is on waiting (phone calls, emails, chat…)

  1. Pierre On October 19th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    I strongly disagree with your statement “Every graphic designer believes in the term “Client is always right”.”

    I dont. The client comes to me because I have a particular skill. I am the expert. That’s what they are paying me $80/hour. So I make it well known that I will not take any of the BS that you are talking about in this article. The clients input consists of approved or denied. If they dont like the design I make them a new one. I DO NOT TAKE RECOMMENDATIONS after our initial consultation!

    It works just fine for me. If it scares off clients so-be-it.

  1. Shane Walgama On October 19th, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Tricky question.. i do admit it is an untold rule that as a graphic designer it is our duty to provide the best logo that gives the client what they want but is also relevant. the problem is that clients come into a brief with so many ideas but with no idea what they want. i believe that as a graphic designer we should be proud of our work. to keep me motivated i believe that “you are only as good as your last LOGO” so i try provide my clients with the best.

    difficult clients are few and far between in my experience but if i am faced with a difficult client, i make it very clear that i don’t agree with his/her choice but if it is what he/she wants then it’s their wont see it on my portfolio though.. :)

  1. cheth On October 20th, 2009 at 3:10 am

    well I don’t agree with the point that client is alway right. Show something awesome and they will ask you do design something crap. well I just smile *evil smile* and give him what he/she asks for. saves my time and client is satisfied. After 2 months the same client requests for the logo he rejected ;) Now say who had the last laugh? :P

  1. Jeff Archibald On October 20th, 2009 at 9:02 am

    The client is not always right, and neither is the designer. I find the best way to handle the logo design process is to a) educate the client, b) show them 3 or so drafts, c) allow them to make revisions, and d) explain to them why this or that revision isn’t wise.

    As Kyle said up top, most clients will listen to you. We also have to be sure that we’re not refusing an edit because we’re stroking our own egos as well.

    However, there are those immovable mountains of bad taste clients. Those are the type that are best to pinpoint prior to project start, but if you unfortunately get caught up in a project with one, you have two options:

    a) design the horrible logo they want, or
    b) give them their money back.

    Either way, you won’t get any recommendations from them. However, I would rather be lighter in the pocketbook than have crappy logos with my name on them out in the marketplace.

  1. Tessa Carroll On October 20th, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Difficult clients happen. How you react to them varies depending on your situation. Occasionally, you’ll get those clients who are “always right.” The ones who make decisions by committee and won’t listen to your recommendations. Other times, all it takes is a little reasoning to show them that their decision isn’t the best one for their business. Regardless of the end result, never argue with a client. Show them what they want to see alongside your recommendations. Explain the differences gently. If they still insist on the “wrong” thing, give it to them, but like Shane said, don’t put it in your portfolio or connect it to your body of work.

    Tessa Carroll
    VBP OutSourcing

  1. SCM-Designs On October 20th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Clients can certainly take a design to a place we don’t agree with, but with that said, I honestly feel it is our duty as designers to talk them through the reasons we feel their input may not serve their desired intentions. They came to us as designer in search of design skill and expertise, and frankly, that means we sometimes need to speak up. They may not take to it at first, but my guess is they will appreciate it later. But – this will not always work (as we all know).

    Read my recent blog pertaining to this subject here:

  1. SCM-Designs On October 20th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Another technique I like to use is this:

    When a client is steering my design in a direction I don’t feel confident in, and efforts to redirect have failed, I finish their piece as requested. But while I do that, I also finalize my version and always present it at the same time as their approved version. I have had about a 50% conversion rate by doing this. When they see theirs next to a final “designer’s” logo, I have found that they say that my design did not make sense to them in concept, but suddenly does I. a final state.

    Just something you could try.

  1. clippingimages On October 20th, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    We have to satisfy our client with creative design logo and client satisfaction must give most priority. After huge hard work if client not satisfy then everything gone better to ask client requirement and follow their instruction to complete job easy and acceptable. Thanks for sharing this nice post. :)

  1. Jeremy On October 21st, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    If I provide the logo choice I stand by my quality work…then I let them choose the logo they want
    I provide a product THEY like and want, it’s not what I like. Some designers want to design what they like. Do people buy products they don’t want….no.

  1. Creative Logo Design On October 21st, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I’ve definitely had very rough clients, where no matter what you design they just don’t seem to be happy, you almost wanna just make THEM draw it! Hahaha, I deal mainly by promising myself that being able to deal with this client will just make the next one easier!

  1. Dean Ford On October 22nd, 2009 at 11:00 am

    As a professional designer one should only show designs that you are 100% happy for a client to choose. If you only have three good ideas, show three ideas… As for compromising on the design, sure there has to be a little give and take but clients should respect your opinion – they wouldn’t hire an accountant then change all the figures on their tax return.

  1. Jonathan On October 22nd, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Surely it doesn’t matter about the quality of the logo ‘just make it bigger, yeah that’s it, little bit more, more, touch more, that’s the way we like it, no it doesn’t unbalance the page at all…’


  1. Jonathan On October 22nd, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Don’t offer designs you don’t like or would die a little inside if they pick that one. Yes you might have promised three but the law of sod says that they’ll pick your least fave iteration. If you don’t want to be stuck with it, seeing it, working with it for years to come don’t present it.

    We’re a service, a very experienced and talented service. They pay for our time and talent. We give them the best response to the brief we can and give them options. We justify them, we explain them and show the validity of each one. If we can’t explain and express ourselves well enough then that’s our fault, we’re in the communication business.

    This isn’t fine art, this isn’t about personal expression. If given the right explanation and information that the best solution isn’t apparent then you have to respect the paying client’s right to put all your advice to one side and got with whatever they want.

    You can then offer a considered and polite opinion on the merits and consequences of this choice and then accept their decision. These are people skills as much as design. If you don’t want to work with them after that, it’s up to you…

  1. Sebastian On October 22nd, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Completely agreed Shawna!

    I just received my PhD in Image and Communication Studies (after a fair amount of effort I might add) and still get the occasional “My nephew thinks the slogan should be in blue” comment. “B*TCH! THIS IS MY LIFE! I AM THE DESGINER! I ALREADY TRIED THE BLUE, AND EVERY OTHER COLOR AND THE ONE I CHOSE IS THE BEST!”, I say, but not out loud, that would just be rude.

    So my approach is that of Image Consultant. You must realise that is it is your job as designer to interpret and relate the image to the client, who, more often than not, does not initially get the “meaning” of the design.

    I wrote a blog about this:

    Hope it helps :)

  1. BlindAcreMedia On October 22nd, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    We usually design a handful of logos for clients so they can choose which they like the best. Sometimes out of the batch that we design, there are some really strong ones that come to life. If the client doesn’t like one of the ‘better’ ones, we really try to explain to them why the others would work best. We still leave the choice up to them, but we just give them a little push in the right direction.

  1. thomas On October 22nd, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Everyone who really things that the client is always right shouldn’t call him/herself a “designer”. Try “Oh-you-pay-me-so-i-do-what-ever-you-want-even-if-it-doesn’t-make-sense-wana-be-designer”.

  1. ds r4 On October 23rd, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Hi Guy’s,
    It is the smartest and most ethical thing to do is try your very hardest to explain why you’ve designed it the way you did, explaining why you’ve chosen the colors you did, or something. If they still don’t like it, try some new designs.

  1. Andy On October 25th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Communication is both ways. Client to Designer to Client… As soon as one thinks they have all the answers the game is lost.
    And, remember aesthetics is subjective, you are not your client. But you can help them because you have design skills and hopefully communication without too much ego.

  1. hera On October 25th, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    This article is roght on spot, and i must say, congrats to all of you who haven’t met my clients. I’m not a freelancer, so i get to do what it takes to keep the agency happy and in business, and when a client rejects the hundreth time my designs adnd go complain to my boss that i disregard their paying, i will sure let go of any shred of conscience. you will be surprised how many people pay a shitload of money just to tell you in your face that they know better, being a lawyer and all.

  1. elisa On October 26th, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Sometimes the client knows what they want and they do not want to let your opinion influence them.

  1. Bryan Moore Creative Design On October 26th, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Haha. I like this article! The way I cope is through reasoning. I try to explain that they hire me for my creative instincts. While the client is always right I let them know that I am always right when it comes to design. That’s why they hired me. I will reason with them and give them logical feedback as to why they are wrong. I do this is in a polite manner of course but I find that it works to be professional and explain the theory behind why I choose a color or a color their friend suggested won’t work.

  1. Jose Martinez On October 28th, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Its a real tough situation. There are those people whole love the flash and funk but don’t understand that graphic design is sometimes a science in its own right. You have to be as honest as possible, because when that client leaves and a few people tell them that they dont like their logo its your name that is on the product. Whether you told the client it was wrong or not, other people wont know the whole story. Your work is your marketing. So fight to the end for the perfect product. If not just drop the client.

  1. r4 On November 5th, 2009 at 3:55 am

    More people would have the courage to pursue entrepreneurship if they knew they could just be themselves.Hey good stuff…keep up the good work!

  1. brandon On November 24th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Awesome article

    Battling clients on logos and other projects will wear a designer down to the point where they’ll be considering other career options. Personally I state my case and tell them I will do it the way they want it but I think it is a bad choice.

    I quite showing clients sketches a long time ago and now show only 3 finished options, all of which I like. This has helped a lot. Our firm unfortunately gets a lot of first time design clients, which sucks for us. We have to fight them every step of the way in order to give them a logo which will work best for them. Go figure.

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