I recently came across a site called Clients From Hell, a blog that collects “client horror stories from designers”. Horror stories might be a bit of an overstatement – I skimmed a few posts, and there was nothing about people losing an arm or getting their faces blown off by clients. The general theme of the site appears to be designers mocking their clients for not understanding technology, Photoshop, or web conventions.
I’m a designer, and I have done my share of client work. I know how frustrating it can be to deal with clients at times, and I can empathize with my fellow designers. But to publicly mock the people who pay you to do your job seems to be a rather ungrateful and asinine thing to do.
Three years ago we launched Harvest, and since then we have transitioned from a web design studio to a product company. We have stopped taking on client work, and on a number of occasions, we have sat on the other side of the table and acted as The Client. Having been on both sides of the table, I’d like to offer you the client’s point of view:
We, the client, pay designers to create a usable and pretty design. You’d think it works like buying a camera: go on Amazon, add to cart, type in credit card info, check out, and a few days later you get a brand new camera at your door. Working with a designer works more like this: write a big check, meeting, answer lots of questions, review design, meeting (and it cycles a few times), write another big check. And the kicker is: if we don’t like the final design, there’s no refund. Many designs that we have invested money and time in never see the light of day. But we certainly won’t be putting up a website whining about designers or crying foul on Twitter.
Fellow designers, let’s be grateful for getting paid to do a safe and socially respectable job. Show a bit more respect for the people that write us checks (they don’t have to hire us, you know). And please, stop whining.