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joshuatree0587's picture
70 pencils

Client Troubles

There are a few clients that I've been working with for a few years now, and in that time we've become friends. However, each project has had its challenges. Sure, *every* project has scope creep and the like, but with these the main issue is a little different.

The main problem that I have is that the interface designs are never implemented well. I've come to expect that images will get stretched, fonts & colors will be changed, and sometimes the implementation will even go as far as changing which direction a list scrolls, or which buttons are visible at certain times.

They're really consistent clients, so obviously I'd like to keep them, but how do I communicate clearly that I'm unhappy with the way that my work is being treated post-delivery? Or is this just something that I should keep silent?

- Josh

Commenting on this Forum topic will be automatically closed on December 20, 2012.

YoungZM's picture
915 pencils

You can really deal with it in three ways from what I see, none of which create total benefit but the last.

Keep your work as controlled as possible by writing clauses into your contracts that your clients are signing. The risk here is obviously losing them.

Be a friend and advise why you don't feel the changes they've made are for the better. The risk here is just sounding petty and not getting what you wanted.

Work closer with your clients to hammer out all of these implementations in the design stage before your work leaves your office and gets delivered. Take into consideration all of their whacky requests then and show them the outcome and your solution if you disagree and why you feel yours will serve their brief better. Charge appropriately and make sure the client knows you care about your work.

In the end I feel graphic design is prone to clients butchering your work and a lack of our own pride and preference showing through because ultimately we need to receive our monetary end of the bargain which means doing a whole lot of things we don't feel are kosher to art & design like adding blue whales riding green ponies on a milk carton. I think the only true way to win is to seek out the dream clients who will let you serve them while you serve yourself. It's more fulfilling but it may not pay the bills (pro bono). There's only so many hours in a day so it's about balance.

Alex's picture
397 pencils

I'd start by sitting down with them and finding out why they are making these changes to your work.

You mention that they are good clients who are reliable in other ways - but the fact that they are making these changes means that what you think you do, and what they think you provide are two different things.

In the past (though more recently than I care to remember) I've run into the issue of clients who hire designers simply as 'people who can use design software' rather than thinking, problem solving experts. That's lead to uncomfortable moments similar to (and, on occasion much worse than) the one you describe.

Sitting down with them and talking through your designs and their implementations is a great opportunity for you to understand where they are coming from and to promote yourself as a design expert rather than a creative-suite-user.

(Also, you mention in your first paragraph that 'every project has scope creep' - that's not good!)

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