In your career as a designer, you will have to meet with a lot of different types of people who will have various demands and possibly, make your life harder or easier, depending on the person. Being a designer, you can’t just choose who you want to work with. Whoever the client, you will obviously have to deal with them and their wishes and demands, good or bad. Here are some client types you will meet in your lifetime and tips on how to deal with them.
These clients have no idea how a design is made and how long it’ll take or what is the process. They are unsure of everything and don’t know what they’re supposed to do. They are in a state of confusion and the designer will keep getting calls and messages and emails from them. The designer should firmly and clearly tell them the process and whatever needs to be discussed so they don’t bug him as much. The prices, the time, the process; everything should be discussed clearly so the client can remember it or note it down somewhere.
2. “Piece of cake” client
These clients are possibly one of the worst clients you will encounter that will make your blood boil. They think that designing something should only take a few minutes or hours time and changing a few things on an already made design is only a matter of seconds. To them, a designer’s job is, “A piece of cake” and “Anyone can pull it off”. You are bound to hear such comments especially if they don’t like something in the design or want to change something and you take more time than an hour. One of the ways to make them see how hard it is to create or revise a design is to have a live design session in front of them or using Skype or something. When they see all the steps needed to change something in a design for themselves, they’ll probably never make such comments again.
3. “Impossible is possible” client
These clients are somewhat like children. They’re worse than the “Piece of cake” clients and they basically have very impossible wishes for the designer. If asked, where they got the inspiration for their design, they’ll show you something pretty normal and they’ll take another design and say stuff like, “I thought if you could take this and this and mix them together, it’ll be like a masterpiece!” And this is all happening in Imagination land. So, explaining to them, gently, how designing works and why their idea can’t be brought to life, is probably the best course of action you can take. Some of them can also be stubborn and the solution to deal with them can be to show them a rough sketch or design of how their design will look different in their mind and on paper.
4. Experienced client
This client will make your life ten times easier. This client knows what he wants, has done his research, doesn’t push you, makes everything clear from the start and is reasonable. You don’t need to dictate everything to him and plead with him or anything. He’ll come to you, give you his data ad the design preferences, will answer whatever questions you have, discuss timing and budget, makes the payment, gets the design, thanks you and walks away. Simple as that. There is no negotiation or much discussion needed whatsoever. This client will make you wish all your client’s were like him.
5. The ghost
This client is one of the worst clients you’ll come to deal with. He will come to you, give you his details and all that is needed and leaves and will disappear. All your calls, messages, emails, queries, all of it will remain unanswered. Some clients might respond after a few days’ time but some will just leave and never return. Dealing with these clients can be quite tricky as well. In the beginning, you don’t know which client is which, so it’s better to just tell your client that you will not tolerate and continue designing for those that do not respond to your messages within 24 hours.
6. Promising client
This client will make all sorts of promises to you and later on, he will forget them. All his promises are empty and for his benefit only. He’ll probably say something like he’ll use your designing services for the future as well if you give him a huge discount or he’ll recommend all his friends to come to you for graphic designing services and leave a great review if you do his first design for free. Once you give in and do his design for free or at a discount, he will take it and leave and never fulfill his promises. Even if you try to contact him again, he won’t pick up the phone and answer your texts or emails. To avoid this situation, you should be firm from the beginning and not cave in to his lies.
7. Bargaining client
This client will also be full of lies about how he can get the design made by someone else for a lower price and a great quality. He will basically force you to reduce the price and get more work out of you and will then disappear. He will use many tactics to try and bargain a lower price and if you agree with him, that won’t be the end. When you’re designing it, he will then try again to further lower the price from the already lowered price. This process will continue till the end. He will probably say you messed up his design and now a discount should be offered and all but you shouldn’t fall for that. You can deal with this client by not giving in and maintaining your price and tell him firmly, that there will be no discounts. So, he can either get it designed by you at full price or walk away.
8. Indecisive client
This client is very indecisive and is also very demanding. He wants a certain type of design and won’t stand for any other. But when you start making the design, he’ll ask for samples and he’ll have an issue with every sample you’ve provided him. He won’t like the color in one, the shape in another, the typography on the third and so on. No matter how you will change the design, there will always be an issue and most of the times, the client, himself, won’t be sure of the problem or issue. He’ll say things like, “I don’t know. Something feels off. I’m not sure what it is.”, and this will make your blood boil especially if you’ve revised the design 6-7 times! The way to deal with these customers is by being calm and telling them that they only have a limited number of revisions and they will only be done once the client is clear on what he wants to change. You can even try and tell him to print the design out and stick it around his office and home to get used to it and get the problem with the design, if there is any.
9. “You’re the expert” client
These clients are friendly and they leave everything up to the designer. They don’t have an idea of what they want and recognize that the designer is experienced and will do the job perfectly. In the end, when the design is presented to them, you can expect 2 types of reactions: either they are ecstatic and love the design or they are picky just like the indecisive clients and want revisions. The ecstatic clients are not hard to deal with at all. But the picky ones, they might take some work and can be dealt with how the indecisive clients are dealt with.