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Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by ARRIVALS, Mar 7, 2012.


    ARRIVALS Well-Known Member

    Morning all.

    Not sure how many other people would actually write about this sort of thing, but I'm going to anyway.

    My question is, how do you get over being shot down by a client?

    I've had a couple of clients in the last couple of months literally dislike every idea/concept/design I've put forward to them. They've pretty much dismantled every aspect with no particular reasoning other than "it's not what I had in mind - can you start again?". I assume there is a decent level of trust, they've seen my portfolio, like what I've done and came to me specifically. I don't pretend to think I've mastered the art of design but I do like to think I know what I'm doing to an average level at least.

    I think my confidence has taken a bit of a hit. Do I put it down to one of those annoying clients who literally dislike everything until they get what they want, and not trust what me, as the designer is offering? Or am I just being over confident and should just take it on board, learn from it and get over it?

    Any advice would be great. :icon_confused:
  2. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member

    When people dislike stuff without any useful explanation and can't provide or contribute to a proper design brief you need to stop shooting in the dark and ask them to show you an example of something they like; if they genuinely do have something in mind, I'm willing to bet it's something they've seen. This may not be your most creative gig but it sounds like you need to send them away happy quickly.
  3. Corrosive

    Corrosive Moderator Staff Member

    You just have to take it on the chin and get on with it. I've had it many times and you feel a bit sick for a few hours (even days) but it is those experiences that help you to grow as a designer I think. Once you get over the kick in the guts you can go back to the drawing board and push yourself harder. If every job was a cakewalk you wouldn't progress. I've seen your work mate, I know you are good at what you do. It's just that some clients/jobs are harder than others.

    ARRIVALS Well-Known Member

    Funny thing is, before these particular projects, and like all clients I work with, I get them to answer a range of questions, specifically about who they are, what they do, specific ones to do with the actual design, what they want, what they don't want, examples they like etc..

    Rather contradicting I must say.

    Cheers Toby :thumb:
  5. pcbranding

    pcbranding Member

    Don't worry :) It does knock one's confidence, but as you know the nature of design is that it often boils down to 'like it' or 'don't like it' and nothing can change a client's mind no matter how well thought out the concept is.
    It doesn't get better, you just learn not to let it worry quite so much. It's a good sign if it does bother you as it means you care about your work.
    Unfortunately well thought out design isn't always what the client wants or goes for and ultimately they're paying you.

    It only becomes an issue when your quoted fee is exceeded and you're left asking for more money when in fact they think you it's your problem for not getting it right!

    Chin up :)
  6. DAVOR

    DAVOR Member

    To be honest, I sometimes suffer from periods of self doubt but I think most designers do. I think you just have to accept some clients will behave in such a manner, it is their loss, they are not getting the benefit of what they pay for.

    I accepted a long time ago, that you can guide a client (or in my case boss), provide them with reasons why they should take a certain route, but if they insist, then eventually you give them what they want. There are times when it will hurt and anger you, but that is what makes a decent graphic designer, someone who cares about their work.
  7. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    What everyone has said here is absolutely right. You will also learn that with some clients you just do what they want and only when it's really not suitable guide them to the best options. My problem seems to be that no-one is coming back to me - I do a quote and then a stoney silence!! I must be pricing myself out of the market - and I don't consider myself expensive!

    Being blanked by one client who I've worked for for about 8 years - no complaints. Lost a job (on print price I reckon) and she now seems to be avoiding me. Ah well... onwards and upwards hopefully!
  8. pcbranding

    pcbranding Member

    You can only guide a client so far, before you hold your hands up and say 'fine'. If they choose to design it themselves (via you) then earn the money and move on. There's a fine line between designing a cracking portfolio piece and earning a living.

    Re. stoney silence/moving on - something else that we have to get used to and it's often down to either your contact moving on and the new person bringing in their contacts or they've found someone to do it their way AND do it slightly cheaper or they've hired a graduate and taken the design internally.

    Ho hum
  9. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press Moderator

    Some great comments - 100% accurate and resonate. The folks you refer to are a small percentage (and that % will decline with experience / client qualification). Narrow requirements - people always have some idea of what they want - help them narrow. I'd also practice concept presentations techniques with people who will give honest face to face feedback.

    One of our designers (Goldsmiths grad) asked having been offered the job (2 years ago) 'what if they don't like my work' - he has grown in the role, still gets knock backs (rare) but qualifies the feedback - which sometimes vanishes.

    Use the valuable elements of the feedback, solicit further info (though try and obtain this at the start, not always easy I know!) and lt the rest flow over you.

    Peter (sounding a little like a hippie).
  10. dedwardp

    dedwardp Member

    The most frustrating one I had was a logo design where I was told that they knew what they wanted and would know when they saw it, but didn't know how to express it. Was a complete nightmare and the job was never completed.

    I think it becomes frustrating but, as said, just move on. The next piece you do will probably go well and all of a sudden you'll have forgotten about these. You still want to learn from them and see what you can take forward into future projects but don't spend too long worrying about them, they came to you for a reason in the first place.
  11. ahcstudio

    ahcstudio Member

    I'm glad someone wrote about it! happens to everyone at some point so don't let it get you down!

    A clear design brief and a good relationship with your client can reduce situations like this. Projects usually go wrong when the brief is vague, the client is undecisive and very picky. If client says to me "I don't really know what i want, i'll leave it to you" i pester them until they give me a clearer understanding or ask them to try elsewhere because i know the project will be a nightmare. Most of the time clients have at least a vague idea of what they envisioned even if they tell you they haven't. If you can get those ideas out of them you will have won half the battle and be well on your way to producing something they will like.
  12. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    I've just taken a setback today on a project I've invested the past 2 weeks in after being assured that after viewing the original drafts, that was the route the client wanted to go down.

    Now, it's "too childish" and I'm having to start from scratch.
  13. ahcstudio

    ahcstudio Member

    Just remember, that's the client's fault, not yours Tony. Happy to give you some feedback if you want some :)

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