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A fussy client. A bad sign of things to come…

I have taken on a job with a quirky fashion designer who wants a new identity for her website and a simple logo (just her name and no icon). I have met with her twice to discuss designs and ideas, and I just from these meetings I had an inclining that she was going to be very particular about things and had very specific likes and dislikes from our conversations. She is a very quirky character who designs some lovely fashion inspired from a dominant vintage theme – she loves the 1950’s. She also has a strong hand-made theme. So I sent her some logo concepts – all different , and some inspired from Saul Bass with a hand-cut lettering feel, as I felt this was very 1950’s and appropriate to suit her style. She replied and said she didn’t like any of them and rather then explain why – could she come over to mine and we work on the computer together on some designs???. My initial reaction was ‘no way, this is not how I work as a designer!’ I couldn’t think of anything worse than having to sit with a client and painstakingly go through the design process.. it would be creatively stifling and feel unnatural.

Thing is I now feel I may have underestimated the costs for this job and can just see me working on if for hours and hours. I quoted roughly between 14-18 hours to design the logo and website visuals. Now I am happy to submit some more designs that are perhaps a different approach, but if she still doesn’t like these I feel like knocking this one on the head. I don’t need the job and don’t need a client who wants everything for a cheap price.

Any advice please - what route should I take?….


Senior Member
I would stick to it, politely inform her that it is not part of your service to go to her home and work on it together. If she has hired you based on the strength of your work then she should trust you to deliver, so you need to politely remind her that you have an established and well organised design process and you will be happy to produce some more concepts but it is your policy to work alone on designs.

I would not suggest giving up. That will shed you in a terrible light as a designer. Just because a job is difficult that is no excuse for just walking away. It is down to your skill as a communicator to discuss with your client what she wants, ask her what she didnt like about the original concepts and work closely to deliver results. Maybe this will involve more research, more sketches, more brainstorming, whatever it takes you need to do it. If you cant, and you say you dont need the job and you cant handle difficult clients then you need to re-asses your career choices.


Staff member
ah a designer designing for another 'designer', it can be hell especially if they can't articulate their ideas very well.

I'd politely say no to working with them, unless they're prepared to up their budget as it slows down the work process etc.

I'd also be asking for the client to be giving me some things/logo's they like the look of (I normally try to ask for reference material where possible anyways) as well as explaining what they do and do not like about the designs.


Active Member
Knock it on the head and let her design her own. Experience tells me that you will rack up the man-hours and she will be a pain in the arse. You will produce something you don't like and she will the haggle over the fee because she has inputed so much. There are difficult clients or clients who don't know what they want ( till you do something, then they refine and dabble till they are happy ) These clients are simply looking for an skill extension of themselves. Sometimes No is an Answer - BB book of life.

As a designer, part of your role is defining the brief and getting the direction off difficult clients. If that is not defined then you will have endless guesses at answering the brief.

Designer clients are a huge drain on resources and enthusiasm.
Cheers guys - some great advice and feedback there. I'm not giving up immediately - I will get a more detailed brief from her and go back to square one....watch this space. But from past experience like some of you, I know this could end like the worst job ever.

I forgot to add that she also presented me with some of her logo attempts which were just a long list of her name written in different (mostly awful) fonts- as a starting point. So as you can imagine, this did not give me any food for thought!


Active Member
Although I agree with berry on this one, the challenge is sometimes too tempting, if this is the case, get everything, and i mean every last detail written down, agreed and put in a contract. Specify time, deliverable(s), amends, everything, so there is no room for the client to wriggle when the inevitable delays, and requests for changes come your way.

Good luck.


Active Member
You're not living up to your forum username at the moment, unless it's ironic of course. :)
If you're going to have another go it might be worth devising some form of design questionnaire to send to your client, perhaps ceratin issues have not been covered in the design brief?


Senior Member
It would be useful to know a bit about your situation Optimist. Is this one of your first projects? Is the client a friend of a friend etc or a proper client who has hired you on ability?

While I agree there are some jobs that are just more hassle than they are worth, I do think that if you are half way through a job with a client I really dont think you should just pull out because its difficult.

Many members here have given you good advice on how to communicate better with your client. It sounds to me like you are not sure what direction to take next; is that the clients fault or are there things you could do better to improve the lines of communication between yourself and client?
I have been designing for quite a few years now, though only freelance for a couple and I have dealt with pretty much every type of client before. The client in question is a pure client – not a friend, and came to me through my advertisement online.

Hmmmm…you know the more I think about how much time’s gone into this so far, the more I want to take Berry’s advice. She left the logo concepts ‘open’ to me to interpret from her likes and dislikes so I did a variety of styles . How do I put it to her politely that she may be better off with a different designer? She chose me out of four other designers based on our style of work and versatility (or so she said), so perhaps she could go back to a designer she looked at initially?