Clients from Hell: a website for designers to vent


I think you meant empathize/empathise instead of emphasize??

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He did make that dialogue box kind of big.

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Don’t you make black more vibrant by adding a bit of purple or blue, maybe layer it a bit, and then throwing a nice gloss on it?

Admittedly, these possibilities may be dependent on the media and materials you’re working with, as well as how much more that client wants to pay for their vibrant black. Which would probably just result in it’s own Clients from Hell situation.


Client: The site looks great, but how about just popping up the newsletter offer on EVERY NEW PAGE even if they’ve already cancelled it. I think that would really make it pop!!

Me: ???


Unfortunately, Clients from Hell was ruined by its own success years ago when people started submitting made-up stories, retreads of stories that were old in the 80s, and so on.


I read the site frequently and it always makes me glad that I am far removed from design work. The horror.

Of course you know in many cases it is quite possible that in the recounting, the stories may be omitting important details or otherwise introducing significant exaggerations, but nonetheless.

(Also, holy heck that newsletter signup box is getting on my nerves.)

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I recently redid a logo and spent most of my time worrying anything I sent the designer would end up on that site.

I’m curious: if/when the withdrawn post is automatically deleted, do replies to that post get automatically deleted, as well? Let’s find out.

Edited to add: Two more hours to find out! This is sooo exciting!

Edited a 2nd time: Interesting: the original post is gone, but reply-with-reply seems to jammed a wrench in the software’s gears…


I have seen replies to the original get deleted, but how about replies to those replies?

What about replies that quote deleted posts?


Grabbing some popcorn…


If care enough to worry, and you paid your invoice, I’m sure you have nothing to worry about.

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I was tired of getting emails for graphics from this old crank brand manager that included requests like making banners more “feminine” and “fresh” so I thought I would tactfully point out that her terminology was meaningless. This is the email exchange, her replies in itals:

Too much pink – when we (notice the royal “we”?) ask you to pick colours that are more feminine, we don’t mean girlie… our customers are women, not little girls - try soft contemporary greens, blues, corals etc. We could use a more modern font also.

Typically ‘feminine’ in colour terms usually means red, pinks and purples. I agree that may not be the palette that women typically like, but when you say feminine that’s what it means to a designer. If you do a google search for “feminine colour scheme” you’ll notice the majority of images feature reds, pinks and purples. If you have particular colours you’d like me to use, you can always send them through. Typically it’s best to send graphics as examples, rather than printed documents because things always look different between what’s on the screen and what’s printed. A good place for choosing colour palettes is kuler: an adobe site where users submit colour schemes. if you find one you like there you can click on “info” and then send me the link of that page and I can use those exact colours.

In terms of fonts, words like “modern” are very non-specific. I assume you mean sans-serif (non-decorated text without ‘tails’ on the ends of the strokes) but generally speaking nether serif and sans-serif fonts are considered “modern” these days. After all, sans serif fonts have been in use for over 100 years. If you are interested in selecting a particular font style, there are hundreds of free commercial use fonts available from

With the new longer title text the layout should look fine centred, but in cases where the title is shorter in length than the sub title it is inadvisable to centre the text as we are trained to read text from the top left, so the way a person scans the email means that they will often read the sub title before the title, which is the opposite of our intention.

Clearly you do have worries. Perhaps you should spend more time on the design and less time patronising me. If you want me to be blunt, I didn’t like your layout.

What I wrote to you is the truth according to commonly-held design conventions. I apologise if you feel like I am patronising you but all I was doing was giving you options and making an attempt to improve our ability to communicate ideas via email. As I said, I am more than happy to make the banner as you would like (which is why I said ‘no worries’) but there are aspects of your requests that I disagree with. There is nothing more to this situation other than that and this is how I work with all the other brand managers. There is no right or wrong in design - everything is subjective - which is precisely why these frank discussions of opinion are required.

I don’t agree with you either, but let’s move on. Yes, design is very subjective so let’s not get into a discussion about “truth”. It would be helpful if you went ahead with my original suggestions, and rather than write an essay if you feel my ideas are not working or workable , offer some practical alternatives (visually - not in a long-winded email that you have researched on google). You are entitled to disagree with me, and I’m happy for you to offer better alternatives, but I want to see them, not hear them or read them.

I am in no way offended if someone doesn’t like marketing materials that I design, but what I was trying to do was improve efficiency. Since briefs for emails come in text form it is somewhat important to be able to communicate clearly via text. Making graphics takes quite some time and so instead of making many iterations of the same email it is better to be able to communicate clearly what is required. It is entirely impractical to make visual alternatives for every iteration of an email blast. Nothing I wrote to you was “researched on google” - I merely provided that as an example to illustrate to you what the word ‘feminine’ means to a designer. I don’t know why you feel that what I am saying is offensive or patronising, I am trying to make better graphics for you to sell more of your product.

Old people: If you are stubborn and shit, people are gonna share your idiocy and laugh behind your back at what you think and say. I sent this to at least 5 other people via email because this person is renowned for being opinionated as shit and making requests that won’t make a lick of difference in sales outcome of the marketing material but things that just HAVE to be done because her self-appointed authority on style isn’t satisfied.

Now her graphics requests are perpetually at the back of the line and done as quickly and terribly as possible.


One of my favorites was a guy who, working through a sales rep, kept asking for a “fun font”. We didn’t have too many, um, “fun fonts” on stock, so we did what we thought was best. Guy literally came back with, that one sucks, try again. Honestly, his exact words.

We tried another. No.

Another round of revisions. He questioned whether we have a mental handicap (not his exact words.)

So he sat down at his own computer, looked through his list of fonts, and zeroed in on…


And of course, because we all had a screen-only version of Arial on hand, we used Helvetica instead.

Helvetica. The “Fun Font”.

EDIT: I should mention: this guy was a real-estate agent. This was the same font we used on all his ads.


So basically the were saying “feminine” but meant “pastel”.

Thanks for the link to Kuler, by the way.

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Well, I’m a woman, and I have absolutely no idea what “contemporary” green, blue or coral looks like.

In fact, I’d argue that most shades of coral would strike me as old-fashioned, not contemporary.

It’s impressive how professional you kept your responses in that email-exchange-from-hell.

Count yourself lucky, you probably just narrowly missed having to create an entire layout in Comic Sans.


Oh no, that’s the “wacky” font.


Sharing lousy client interactions is satisfying but doesn’t really make the world a better place, does it? And we need to be very certain we’re not the ones who end up looking like unprofessional jerks in the stories we tell.