The seven sinful clients you want to avoid

We are not saying that all clients are like that but some are and all we want to do, is to put a red flag out there for you!

When you start to get your first few clients, there’s no guarantee that all the clients will be a pleasure to work with. There are different people who deal with thing differently and expect different results. But when it comes to designing – all of those things compiled, have to match with what the designer can provide else it results in wars!

After many years of dealing with all sorts of clients, we can tell you one thing for sure – that you are better off with some clients walking away, than you trying to please them! (which by the way won’t happen anyway!)

Lets look at the Seven sinful clients you want to avoid!


Refers to the over possessive client. If it’s their business, they are bound to be possessive about it. But it gets crazy when clients have heaps of pinterest boards lined up and have researched over 50 pins because they want their brand to look like that, leaving no scope for your creativity. These clients also think of themselves as half designers. Steer clear because no matter what you do they WILL want to modify it and / or want 10 colour options because they think they know the colour wheel better.

Opposite to the one above a detached client, cares nothing about what colours, font, look and feel you go for. They just hire you, tell you what they need and then don’t care what you do. It’s hard to work with clients like these because you can’t feed off their brain – an this can lead to miscommunication or lack of results in the final product. 

A client who wants to see a “demo” before they hire you. What????… The DEMO is the portfolio you saw and got in touch with us! ??..This client will probably ask 10 designers to provide demos and then basically steal one of those ideas and walk away.. And because you never signed a contract or an agreement – you will be left high and dry. Not to mention you would’ve still put in the same amount of hours as you would for a real project and not get paid for it.. Why do it!? PS. have a look at Why you need a design contract?

These clients will try to push you to produce results way faster than the deadlines. Mails, text messages and cyber stalking to know where the project is on a daily basis. Designing is not a slap and go method, it’s a process that requires research, sketching and creating, keeping in mind the demographic and competitors. A client who doesn’t understand this process is not going to value the hours you put in – he just wants the work done and fast!

This client will always try to get more done for the money they paid. Whether they actually need it or not. They might have already loved what you did but “just to compare” or “just to explore our options”.. WHY? If you have what you like then why waste your and the designer’s time in making options that you don’t need!? 

This is where the contract saves your soul. Define your deliverables before the start of the project and have the client sign it! Learn here Why you need a contract?

Raise your hand if you have never been asked to reduce your design fee.. Raise both if every 3rd client wants a discount. These clients will expect a little treat every time they hire a designer. They want your services, they like your work but they don’t understand the WORTH of it. Instead of lowering your rates and standards you’d rather let that client go because chances are they will have this conversation at every step and you shouldn’t have to prove your worth.

This clients comes to you with a half done project because the previous designer “couldn’t finish the project”. How many designers do you know will drop the project half way? Let’s assume it’s a genuine case – This client will first assume that because half the work is “done” you will charge them lesser. Once that bump is crossed, everything you present will be compared to the previous designer and their prices. Where does that leave you in the end? 

And to be fair it’s almost NEVER a ‘pick up where they left off’ scenario.. You always end up doing more – kinda like cosmetic surgery!! Ideally never work over a half done project.. Always scrap and start new, that way there’s no conflict, no comparison and also no negotiation!

No one has trouble working with a well paying, talent appreciating, timely responding client but that’s not why you read this article is it?… We are not saying that all clients are like that but some are and all we want to do, is to put a red flag out there for you!

If you enjoyed reading this article you might like How to scan a Good Client from last week.

To stay up to date with the latest updates, get an insight into our Design Dairies, Resources, Freebies and most of all LOTS of inspiration every fortnight Please SUBSCRIBE to our newsletter or follow our blog by signing up on the sidebar and feel free to leave comments and thoughts below!


Your email address will not be published.