Brand Design Photography & Styling Clarity Consulting

Lesson Learn-ing: Don't call your client a moron

I’ve been tested pretty darn good over the past few weeks when it comes to restraint. As a freelance designer, you’ll receive email inquiries from all different kinds of people. Some know a little bit about design, but I’m finding out that most people know diddly squat about the subject…hence the reaching out for help.

The restraint part takes effect when the people reaching out want something done with little to no money to put towards the adventure, almost expecting you to work for free. I wanted to send a really rude email back saying something to the effect of “I’m not coming to you, asking you to work for free” or “you’re a moron”, but then I remind myself that not everyone lives and breathes the design world. Most people don’t understand what goes into making something”look pretty” or how many hours you’ll be staring at the computer screen making things happen, and they surely don’t know how much money you paid to go to design school to be able to call yourself a professional.

So lesson learned-ing is to stop and think before you email a potential client back with a string of profanities or evil stares. It’s really really tough you guys. I’m sure a lot of you know exactly what I’m talking about 🙂


22 comments on “Lesson Learn-ing: Don't call your client a moron

  1. Oh, I know exactly what you mean! Some people just assume that design just happens, as you say. But it definitely isn’t so. I even had one client trying to dictate to me how to create his logo (real time sitting next to me, pointing his pen at my mac screen- totally nerve breaking!) like it was as simple as abc and I am a retarded designer I haven’t created the logo in one day..

    1. So glad to have a new reader! Makes me really excited. I’m glad you stopped by and are enjoying what you see so far 🙂 Happy Monday!

  2. YES. To ALL of this. I’ve been dealing with this more and more lately, and it’s beyond frustrating. I emailed one potential client a couple weeks ago saying that I, currently, didn’t offer the design service she was inquiring about – and she completely jumped to conclusions and replied, “Is it because you don’t know how to do it? Why can’t you just read a how-to online? I really need this done.”

    …You bet I rewarded myself with the largest coffee in the world for responding back in a kind manner. 😉

    1. Oh Man. Some people have NO censorship when it comes to that kind of thing. Sorry you had to deal with that icky stuff. I’m finding out this kind of thing happens SO often as a result of pure ignorance. Thanks for stopping by Lady!

  3. Hilarious. I have this problem as a musician. I sing opera and people always want me to break out into song for them, or just sing at parties for nothing…so lame. Loving your blog.

    1. No, You’re right. But when you do spend years of your life paying for a learning with some of the best, It’s super difficult to hear that people would like you do work for next to nothing. I didn’t mean to make it sound so black and white because in some cases, self taught individuals can really rock.

  4. I can totally understand this! As a makeup artist people are constantly trying to negotiate prices with me. Although I realize your work is a lot more extensive and time consuming, the idea of not paying someone what they charge is disrespectful and basically a slap in the face. I’m so happy your respect yourself enough to kindly respond to those people while standing up for yourself and your hard work. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much. Sometimes you can get heated and respond without thinking. I’m definitely learning that its better to send an email the next day than to send one in the heat of the moment.

  5. Ooooh…but you want to, though. Oh how you want to! I totally get it. I’ve worked in freelance animation for years and it – like design – is constantly undervalued. People just think it takes a few minutes to draw something frame by frame, apparently! lol. I’ve written sooo many ‘and this is why I charge that price’ step-by-step through the process e-mails that I’m pretty sure I just copied and pasted it eventually…argh! I’m about to embark on design, so at least I’ll be prepared for that? 🙂

  6. The really sad part about this is there are designers that do design logos and what have you for next to nothing because they think it will get their foot in the door. Which then makes it really hard for us who know better because potential clients think well if this designer does it for nothing that must be the way it is. Its sad how low many people value art in general.

    1. It’s shocking how low someone will accept just to get the job. I understand doing this kind of work as a student, but once you migrate into the professional world, I feel it’s your job to maintain quality for the design community. Frustrating for sure!

  7. I’m a fellow designer and I deal with this kind of thing all the time. One of my favorite was when I was creating a menu for a certain restaurant, the owner offered to pay me with food (a giftcard to their restaurant). My response was “let me get with my landlord” to which we both laughed and I said, “I’m sorry, I wish I could but I’ve learned that none of my creditors take giftcards” He understood and I’m pretty sure he felt bad.

    I think I handled it pretty well, witty, funny and kept my cool 😀

    Stick it to the man!

    1. So funny. I love it. It’s the reality though. Trade deals usually aren’t good for paying the bills. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. oh man, I know exactly what you mean! I had to divorce a client after our first session was spent with my explaining to her how to log in to facebook for TWO HOURS! She had told me what her web design budget was and it was really, really low. If I’m gonna be explaining to someone the difference between the search bar and the address bar in addition to developing their site, you bet I wanna be paid what I’m worth and more! 🙂

  9. UGH YES thank you. You should see some of the emails I get and people want some of the ugliest things I have ever saw and I am like ugh I am not putting my name on that.

Leave a Comment