From the eye-in-the-sky point of view, graphic design seems quite a tame profession. It seems absolutely like any regular profession – talk to a client, gather the brief, dole out the work and collect the payment. However, the average graphic designer will face plenty of unique situations in their lifetime and some of them are way beyond anybody’s imagination.
Here are some instances when even the best graphic designer in the world would struggle to find meaning in life!
The Cheap Client
In all honesty, this happened to a friend, fresh out of design school. Called in for an interview right after graduation, my friend was eager to please her first employer. She dressed up to the hilt, went in for the interview and found out that it was in a house. On walking in, her prospective employer came in with the details of the project – four line drawings needed for her 10-year old son’s room.
The pay – all of $10! Still unwilling to put down her first opportunity ever, my friend decided to bargain. Eventually, my friend completed the job for the grand price of $11.50 plus a bottle of cola and a pack of chewing gum!
The Difficult Client
This is from a brief received from a client for a project that was launched on a city-wide scale. “I would like my hoardings to depict unimaginable love, passion and divinity. It should force the people to come buy the product and guarantee that they, at least, come to our website to find out more.” That was the brief – seemingly understandable and quite normal, right? Wrong!
You see, the hoarding was meant for an trade fair where the clientele would be industry specific folk. The biggest hurdle was the product, which was something that’s quite hard to sell – plastic Aglets! If you don’t know what they are, then look down at your shoe laces and the thing at their ends, which help you pass it through those loops, are called aglets. Try representing those with love, passion and divinity!
The Painful Client
There are plenty of times when the role of a graphic designer changes from that of a designer to that of a magician. Clients often come up with the horrific thought of creating an expansive, mind-blowing design, but then changing the entire brief at the last minute. One of our largest clients, also the country’s biggest manufacturer of motorbikes, came in with the task of creating a never-before setting for the launch of their latest bike models and brand ambassadors, in one massive gala event.
After designing a 100-foot stage, innovative audience seating and massive installations for the stage & venue, everything was in place! Exactly 48 hours before the event, the client had an epiphany and suddenly, everything had to be changed. They wanted the same extravagance and brilliance except, everything needed to be changed. How we pulled it off – combining existing elements to create new ones, moving things around and who knows what other kinds of skull-drudgery, but we managed to pull it off.
Sometimes, design isn’t about inspiration at all – It is all about hard work and holding yourself back when all you want to do is choke the client to death!
The Missing Client
The project was 20-days long, went on for 12 days without a glitch and then it started happening. For the next 4 weeks, the client completely flew off the radar! He reappeared for long enough to give a new set of instructions and feedback before disappearing again. Of course, on each magical appearance, he would demand for work to be carried out at light-speed – that was given! Eventually, what was supposed to finish in 20 days, took over 7 months to complete. That was over a year ago – we’re still waiting on the payment!
Just some of those clients who send a shiver up our spines! These clients make us pray every morning that they choose our competition’s design over us. Yes, we designers are evil that way!
Image Credit: Fabbriciuse
ALFREDO DO NASCIMENTO – author
For this American-born Brazilian, life is all a big party! For someone who knows design & illustration as deeply as Alfredo, everything comes naturally. This award-winning designer works for 8 months in a year before taking off on unknown journeys, getting stuck in weird locations and even working menial jobs to bide his time – that’s his way of recharging the batteries. He also knows the stresses and challenges of working in design and the importance of keeping clients happy. He recently suggested to a critical client that he should take a Chav Test, and soon learned that lesson! Having worked in graphic design in Brisbane, Paris, London, New York, Boston and almost every other major design centre on the planet, Alfredo is one of those greats who will never really know how good they actually are!