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In your graphic designing career, you will have to deal with a variety of potential clients. For that reason, you need to be versatile enough to handle each and every type of client accordingly. Different and, at times, bizarre queries may come from clients that hire you. It is seldom that you will come across a client who is mature enough not to come up with silly questions. So in order to be prepared beforehand, I have listed some of the most frequent things that you might hear as a graphic designer from you clients and how you should tackle them.


1) “I want the best design, but this is all I can afford”

This is one of the most frequent things that you get to hear from your clients. Everybody wants the best results but never willing to pay the best price for it. While the decision to lower your prices is completely up to you, but if you are confident on your capabilities as a graphic designer, don’t compromise. Make them understand that everything comes with a price. Explain the quality of time, effort and research you put in, for which you deserve to be paid accordingly.

2) “What if I make the advance payment and don’t like your work?”

This is a very absurd question which most of the clients ask. Although your client hires you after a thorough examination of your design portfolio and claims to be satisfied with your design capabilities but still remains doubtful. Remember that it is your client who has chosen you to do his work, this means he is content with your work beforehand. Just to avoid this mess, always work out the initial payment with your clients so that you may not get deprived of your hard earned money in the middle of your efforts.

3) “I want you to design something similar to this…”

Many a times, clients come to you with a design carved in mind (probably of a competitor) and ask you to make something comparable to it. The trouble begins when you present your design proposals on the same pattern and the client starts comparing it to the inspired resource. Now the mistakes that the client points out are not originally yours, but the faults are in the design that he wanted you to imitate. Guide your client on an ethical level that imitating someone else’s work is not the best way to go. Convince them that they need to be unique and differentiable from their competitors.

4) “Is it an original concept?”

However this one may sound offensive to many graphics designers, but be prepared to expect all kinds of queries from your clients. Graphic designers should not get hurt by this question as it is the clients’ right to validate that the work isn’t copied or plagiarized. A simple approach to counter this query is to make a log of each and every step that you involve in while designing for your client. For example when using Photoshop, make sure you save the “psd” file as a proof of how you actually came about with the work that you have completed.


5) “What the…? This is not what you showed me there.”

This is a very common complain that you might hear from your clients when you send them the finished design. When clients open your design work on their computer screens, it appears completely different, so they argue that this was not the design you showed them previously. What actually happens is that the monitor settings of your client may differ from yours. Since every monitor or LCD has different screen settings, the result may vary. Hence it is better to show the design work to your clients on a hard copy.

6) “Hey I’ve changed my mind … I don’t need a design anymore”

This is the most frightening thing a graphic designer can hear from his client. Imagine you’ve sweated countless days and nights to build the project assigned to you and in the middle or the end of the project, the clients comes to you and says “I don’t need the design anymore, thanks”. Do you think his “thanks” is enough to compensate the graphic designer’s endless efforts? That is why you should protect yourself with a contract, in case your client drops you in the middle of the project. Clarify beforehand that he will be billed according to the amount of work done. Irrespective of how much the project has been completely, you should be compensated for the efforts you have made.
What new did you get to hear?
If you have ever come across such silly and boiling statements from your clients which I haven’t mentioned, or a related client tale to tell, do share them with us!

  1. Ronnie Saini On February 16th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing! this is so true! and I’ve atleast heard a few out of these from my clients. So now I know it happens to us(Graphic Designers) all the time.

    I look forward to your future posts,

    Ronnie Saini

  1. Jodi Salisbury On February 16th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Heard them all! Glad I’m not the only one. :)

  1. 509 Media On February 16th, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I have heard them all before. Some people get very creative with excuses to not pay your fee.

  1. Lichtmalerin On February 17th, 2010 at 4:46 am

    Thanks for sharing - and: Replace “graphic designer” with “photographer” or “creative” ….

  1. links for 2010-02-17 « random thoughts and casual ruminations On February 17th, 2010 at 7:10 am

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  1. Blagoj On February 17th, 2010 at 7:19 am

    The most important part after all this true questions that clients my ask there is always the opportunity to educate your client. And if your presentation is offering the client chance for bigger profit, then the client usually dances as you play.

    Great post BTW!

  1. Minneapolis Web Design Guru On February 17th, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I’ve heard it all too… u just have to work out a contract and communicate with the client. you can be your worst enemy by not speaking up or being confident your work will impress.

  1. Matt Hernandez On February 17th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Great post! A few years ago when I was fresh out of college I had someone hit me with #6 on your list. I didn’t think I needed a contract at first because it was a friend…. Needless to say, I learned my lesson! I look forward to future posts from you.

    Matt Hernandez

  1. adroid85 On February 17th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    # 1 really gets to me. Graphic Design needs to be looked at as a legitimate job in which the professional gets paid according to the quality and amount of work done. Good Design takes time and in order for a designer to spend more time on one project they need to be compensated accordingly. I really wish people would understand this.

  1. Laurent JOUVIN On February 17th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Yep… this pretty much sums it up. I work in a graphic design studio as well as in a post production company. And the above 6 statements apply to both jobs! It’s getting tough out there.

  1. Kamo On February 18th, 2010 at 8:14 am

    thank u for the tips!
    Being a designer is a job not a favour and thats what most people dnt understand.
    Great Post

  1. The Graphic Design Blogger Dude On February 19th, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Ha. So true. I’ve experienced everyone of them back in the day. After a while though your pricing and portfolio quality attract better clients and you get less of these situations. My number one rule is get 50% down first. That way if they bail on you, that becomes your kill fee. Every designer knows that you accomplish 75% of the project in the first 25% of time. The remaining 75% of time is spent on refining the last 25% of the job. So get half down first to protect yourself. I think a lot about fees and wrote about it on my blog.

  1. theLULAdesigns On February 19th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    You hit the nail on the head! Common words from clients and effective ways to deal with them. Great article.

  1. Angel Graphics On February 19th, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Great dear..!
    its Very usefull guidence ..for graphics designer…


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  1. David Behm On February 19th, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    WOW….I’ve heard everyone of these!!!
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  1. Corey Johnson On February 21st, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    This was a great article. Being a graphic designer can be somewhat stressful at sometimes so asking countless questions of what your client wants to you have a detailed sketch or thought of what you can do for the client, then create a contract to make things official just like Charlie said. Great article!

    PS. Always charge 25-50% of total commissioned earned to keep things safe ;)

  1. Jannis Gerlinger On February 22nd, 2010 at 5:18 am

    haha i allready know this statements. Sometimes it`s a horror with the clients!

  1. judith avraham On February 22nd, 2010 at 8:30 am

    i have heard them all, sadly. theres also another one that i hear alot… “you know what, i dont think i need a designer i think i can do it myself/my 9 year old son can do it/ i can take something from word and make it into a logo….!

  1. Manz On February 22nd, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    did someone say déjà vu?

    The first and last on the list are the most important. imo. They’re serious business issues. The others are just silly things that pop up on occasion.

  1. Offset Printing On February 22nd, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I’ve heard the majority of these lines too. But the good thing is, I have responses ready for all of them.

  1. Website Design Gloucestershire On February 24th, 2010 at 6:00 am

    This made me chuckle, your 6 statements are transferrable across into the web industry as well, we’re forever being asked, “How much does it cost to build a website?!!”

    It’s very much like the car addage, “How much will a car cost me?” … well that depends on whether you want a Skoda or a Ferrari!!

    Thanks for your enlightening comments!


  1. Tony Greg On February 24th, 2010 at 6:41 am

    We are running a software house where we are providing different type of services like Web development, graphic designing, SEO and content writing. Every time we made a contract with our client and charge him/her for each module. This thing save us from difficult situations.

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  1. Susie On February 28th, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Interesting to hear about your experiences. These are great tips. It is good to be aware of the things that can go wrong. It is good to be prepared for what can happen. Sounds as though it is pretty common for these things to happen. It is a good idea to get as much information as one can from the client and also explain what your expectations are of them as well as finding out what their expectations are from you. Thanks.

  1. 509 Media On March 1st, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Got this one today…. Just do the design work. I know you can drop some killer work. If I decide it is what I want then we will move forward with the project. After a little discussion of deposit the client decided he….

  1. Ron Bercume On March 1st, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    If you are James Cameron, you ask your designer to set a multimillion dollar movie title type face in Papurus, we have declared him public enemy #1 for all designers.

  1. Md Sajjadul Farooque Robin On March 8th, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Although I am a programmer, but I needed to go under these sort of things. It’s the common case may be for all web developer/designers. Voo!

  1. Ovi Dogar On March 15th, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Yeah…great post! I’ve heard the majority of these lines too…

    Ovi Dogar

  1. Justin On April 26th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I have heard all of these and more. My advice is to never treat the client as stupid…they just don’t know our business. We have to edcuate our clients on the process and what all is involved when working on thier projects. We have to explain that. Without being rude, lay down some ground rules early on and act professional in you meetings and contact with clients.

  1. Superstar Web Design On May 17th, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Justin made some good points. You have to let clients know “the rules”. I guess that’s why contracts make so much sense. Otherwise you can end up doing alot more than what was agreed upon. Many businesses have to watch out for this type of thing.

  1. Mac On May 26th, 2010 at 12:02 am

    There’s one more rule to know:
    The client approves the design for it to be printed, so all burden of mistakes found in the design after it’s printed falls onto the client.

    My story below :
    Some film makers (Design Client) are just lazy. There’s one film maker I work for who is too lazy to examine the text and it’s spelling. When he is the only one who “approves” the my design work before it gets printed. My client whines and complains that there are some spellings mistakes and he has to have me make the corrections so he can do a re-print….when he is the only person who “approves” the entire design before print – so it’s his fault for not checking “ALL” aspects of the design.

    Any designer or any “professional” film maker knows that the client who is the absolute last line of defense to ensure there are no mistakes before print, so the burden falls onto the client – not the designer.

    In simpler terms, you would not buy a car without checking the engine, kicking the tires, having a mechanic inspect it or take it for a test drive…..

    so why doesn’t my client examine the text and it’s spelling before approving my design ?

    The Answer : He’s too lazy to deal with the fine details of design and doesn’t own up to his mistake of not checking the design before “approving” the design before it gets printed.

    In conclusion, It’s best to make it very clear in the beginning to the client that they approve the design and accept the burden of mistakes found after their design they pay for gets printed….

  1. Aleutie On August 16th, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Very true. But what about my personal favourite: “I don’t really know what I want, but it’s not this”?

  1. vangelis gaitatzis On April 9th, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I need this to be done Perfect, Urgently and Cheap.
    Ah and BTW, after you deliver, I”ll cut you a postdated check for 2 months.
    Thats OK with your.

  1. Web Site Design Gloucester On September 30th, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Heard all these and more!

    My favorite is “it will only take you five minutes…”

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