You know the feeling … It’s Friday, it’s five to five … Tonight’s the night! The one night when you finally get to click off on-time and have a weekend. Like a person.
Then it happens: The phone rings and you hear those doom-laden words: “Can you just …”
Of course, they assure you, “It’ll just be a five minute job!”
And you know that you’ll be at your desk ’til midnight. Again.
The life of the creative isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it – instead of ringing us up at the end of the day and getting us to do it for them.
But the client wants what the client wants!
Here are a few examples of those conversations where you just have to keep telling yourself: “The client is always right … The client is always right … The client is always right.”
1. Everything’s free on the internet, right?
CLIENT: “Look, I’m not a designer, but I’m pretty sure we can use their logo.”
ME: “No, we can’t use their property. It’s their copyright.”
CLIENT: “Even if we change the colour?”
2. Predicting The Future
CLIENT: “How long will it take for you to build me a website?”
ME: “Well, that depends on what you want it to do, how many pages, things like that.”
CLIENT: “I don’t know yet. So, how long?”
ME: “Let me just look in my crystal ball.”
3. Designed by committee
ME: “Any thoughts on the new version?”
CLIENT: “I love it. Signed off. I’m just gonna show it to everyone else in the office and see what the team thinks.”
ME: “Oh, good.”
4. Photoshop Can Fix Everything
CLIENT: “Can you make the sun shine?”
CLIENT: “In the photo. It’s very grey.”
ME: “The photo you supplied? It was taken in the rain.”
CLIENT: “Yes. Can you make the sun shine?”
5. The font you don’t want
CLIENT: “Can the type be in Helvetica?”
ME: “But everyone uses Helvetica. Don’t you want something that’ll stand out?”
CLIENT: “How about Comic Sans? Hello …? Hello …?”
6. On the money
CLIENT: “I know designers who charge less.”
ME: “I know clients who pay more.”
7. Writing is easy, everyone can do it
CLIENT: “Why am I paying you for a whole day, just to write one line?”
ME: “Why aren’t I charging you for the years of experience and qualifications and the lifetime of skillfully honed craft that went into writing that line?”
8. You know you want to work for free
CLIENT: “I don’t like to pay upfront. You don’t pay for your electricity upfront, you pay for what you use.”
ME: “You pay for your food upfront, whether you eat it or not. I have to eat too.”
9. Avoiding innovation at all costs
CLIENT: “Can you make it like my competitor’s ad, please? I know that works, their shop’s always full.”
ME: “So they don’t need you to advertise their business as well, then, do they?”
CLIENT: “How do you mean?”
10. Online schmonline
CLIENT: “Can you build me an eBay?”
ME: “You mean an online auction site?”
CLIENT: “Yeah. That eBay makes millions.”
ME: “True. Although it took years to build up its business.”
CLIENT: “But that was before the internet.”
11. You know you want to work for free (again)
CLIENT: “Could you do me a quick favour?”
ME: “For free?”
CLIENT: “I’ve got loads more work lined-up for you, after.”
ME: “So I can charge you upfront for that, then?”
CLIENT: “No, I thought this was a favour.”
12. Do you have a time machine?
CLIENT: “So, can you do that by tomorrow!”
ME: “Not really, no.”
CLIENT: “Great. Bye.”
ME: “Hello? Hello?”
When Clients and Creatives Clash
We’re pretty sure there are moments here you’ll recognise – but feel free to share in the Comments Section below – your own “The client is always right” moments – those times when your clients have asked you for something outrageously unrealistic.
Then we can all feel your pain!