The life of the creative isn’t easy.
Clients make insane demands every day. Some of them don’t realise it’s insane, but some of them do, and they ask anyway.
So, here are a few of those stories of life on the creative coalface, based – as they say in the movies – on real events!
#1 Round and round
Derek has found himself trapped in that spiral where the client doesn’t know what they want, only what they don’t want. And that keeps changing.
Difficult Client: “I want this!”
(After receiving exactly what he asked for)
Difficult client: “No, I want that!”
(After receiving the amendments)
Difficult client: “No, not that… That!”
(He’s pointing at the first piece again, This could go on for a while.)
Me: “I’m just going to get some materials. I may be gone some time.”
#2 The gestation period
Stuart has had to patiently explain why some things just take time.
Client: “Can you do it by tomorrow? It’s really urgent because we’ve nearly run out.”
Me: “Can’t do it, sorry. Why didn’t you ask me last week?”
Client: “I was too busy. But why does it take so long?”
Me: ”Well, it takes nine months to grow a baby. Less than that, and there’s a strong possibility that it’ll come out wrong. Just saying.”
#3 When ‘we’ means ‘you’
Richie has encountered the classic client who turns up late, but expects you to be early.
Client: “Sorry I’m over two weeks late supplying the required text and images, but I’m sure with some sharp graphics we will meet the print deadline!”
Me: “You’ll get it by nine.” (Aside to myself) “I’m just not saying which nine!”
#4 The but of the joke
Client: “That job we discussed six weeks ago, but I didn’t confirm.”
Me: (Already suspicious) “Yeees?”
Client: “I can now confirm it.”
(Wait for the “but”. Apparently there isn’t one.)
Me: “Okay, good, I’ll -”
Client: “But I need it by six tonight!”
#5 Managing mischief
Laura knows that sometimes creatives are asked to do magic.
Client: “We want to print an A4 poster.”
Me: “No problem.”
Client: “With a button that clicks through to the website.”
Me: “Ah, another job for the Harry Potter paper.”
#6 Those three magic words
Chas is familiar with the all-too-common assumption that making things look easy means they really are easy.
Me: There is a bizarre belief among clients and colleagues that starting a request with the words “can you just” makes whatever follows the easiest thing in the world.
Of course, if it was that easy, they’d do it themselves.
#7 The cheque-ered flag
Stuart is in the driving seat, when it comes to over-taking tight-fisted clients.
Me: Worth noting: The winning driver in a motor race completes the course faster than anyone else, but doesn’t get paid less than the other drivers because he’s put in fewer hours. He gets paid more.
Think about that next time your client wants a job doing quickly and cheaply.
#8 Size matters
Gordon knows that what clients call ‘big’ is rarely what designers call ‘big’!
Me: “Could you send me an EPS or a high res version of your logo, please?”
(Client emails through a scanned letterhead)
Me: “Umm I can’t really use this. Can your communications department maybe send me something?”
(They email through a 4kb jpg.)
Me: “We’re on the right track. Do you have a high res version of that, please?”
(They email through a 22kb jpg.)
Me: (Face planted on my keyboard) “I’ll just press the ‘embiggen’ button, shall I?”
Also for your consideration:
And now a few stories by long-suffering Creatives who wanted to remain anonymous.
#9 Aroogah… aroogah… cliché alert
Client: “I really want it to be engaging.”
Me: “Of course, what would you like it to say?”
Client: “Something dynamic.”
Me: “Okay. But what, exactly?”
Client: “Something that pops!”
Client: “Something that knocks their socks off.”
Me: “Something with the wow factor?”
Client: “That’s it!”
#10 You can’t please all of the people.
Client: “Can you make it really modern and contemporary, with a retro edge?”
Me: “Not really. Who’s your target market?”
#11 After the boat has sailed
Client: “Has it been printed already.”
Me: “It has. 5,000 copies right here, all boxed up and ready to go.
Client: “Oh. Cos I need a slight change to the text.”
Me: “Fair enough, I’ll get my Sharpie. Might take a while.”
#12 Predicting the future
Client: “It’ll be a five minute job, mate.”
Me: “Really? How do you know?”
Me: “Could you do this in five minutes? No. that’s what you need me for. So, I’ll decide how long it takes, okay!?”
That’s what you think… What you actually say is:
Me: “Fine, leave it with me.”
Over to you:
If you’d like to share some of your own hard-won wisdom, or some horror stories that wake you up at night – you’ll find a sympathetic audience here at Heart Internet.
If you’d like us to share your story in our next ‘Things clients say’ blog, we’d love to oblige – and we’ll keep it anonymous if you’d prefer! Just say the word.
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