Things that Should Never be Asked to a Web designer

Hi there,

Designers are creative beings and great to work with. However, there are a few things that you should avoid asking a designer if you do not want to see his darker side.

Clients are kind and they pay us. So even if they act unreasonable at times, we try to keep our calm and act politely to appear helpful. But there are some incidents which cause our blood to boil. Some of these examples are mentioned here.

1. Can you give us layered files? We would like to make a few changes in-house.

It has been tried a lot by clients, who want their in-house team or someone known to make some changes in the files and in the end try to modify how the project looks or feels, even if they just want to change a font they do not like.

At such times, we designers respond by stating that the files are too big and can’t be transferred or these are organized in a way which is not easy to understand. You can convince the client that he wants any changes, then he can discuss these with you. However, even you know the reason why client is asking for layered files, but it is better not to show that you actually know.

2. Can you do it in (Insert a name here)’s style?)

This goes something like this. Your client has seen someone’s work which he likes. He finds out the person’s name who created it. However your client realizes that he can’t hire that particular designer because he charges a lot. So now he wants you to replicate his style.

It can be really frustrating, as you want to establish your personal style and not copy someone else’s. So you show your client a few of your earlier projects to make him realize how well you can do the same thing. Or you can create a few mock ups in your own style and how him different ways which can make your design look better than that designer’s.

3. Can you give that in word format?

You will definitely come across many clients throughout your career who are not at all familiar with designing process. When a client asks such a question, you can say that sending a word file is not possible as you have created this file in (insert the software). But you can definitely send a PDF file which you can open in Adobe Reader and review.

4. This job will give you a lot of exposure. So would you do it for free?

Again, one of the old tricks where client tries to convince you to work on a commercial project without having to pay you anything.

This one is hard to avoid. It is like telling your dentist to whiten your teeth for free. But you will tell your friends who did it and they will come to you and pay you.

You are likely to respond by saying that you are busy and would not be able to work on such project or you do not accept non-paying projects at all.

5. This is fine but can we add another image from Google?

This is another scenario of dealing with clients having no clue of designing process, forget the IP laws. They do not realize that every image on Google is not copyright free.

This usually happens when you show him a mock up of the project which includes stock images you have actually bought. The client is not too impressed with images, although you explain to him that these will be changed. He searches on Google and likes an image which he wants to include.

Here you will need to explain that you cannot use that image as it is someone else’s property. You can offer to get a similar image clicked by a professional photographer, if the client is so adamant.

6. Content is not available right now. Is it possible for you to design the website first and we can put the content later?

Imagine you have no clue about what the website is for. Client has not decided the company name, there is no slogan, colour palette or not even a vague idea of content. But client wants you to design the website. You have no clue what client has in mind.

You might want to shout at the top of your voice and ask him to get out of your office, but it is very important to stay calm at such times and respond polity by telling the client you cannot do it as you need to be clear about the site’s content first. Also explain why you want to know his objectives before you can begin any design work.

7. Can you make it pop a bit?

This is again one of the old clich├ęs that clients say. What they actually mean by saying this is to make their logo a bit bigger. Although it will not have any effect on the design, it might make it appear a little brighter. In a few cases, where the client emphasises too much on popping things up, the design can turn a bit garish.

Before responding or reacting make sure to ask the client to clarify what he actually means. Is it more brightness they are looking for. You should try to make him understand calmly that there is a reason why you have chosen this particular colour palette.

In case the client still insists, then ask him to give you a minute and come back later. As they begin to leave pretend to actually make the changes he wants. Then listen to their response when they come back and see it after a while. Another good idea is to increase the brightness of the monitor a little. This might do the trick and save you from killing your design.

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