Dealing with clients is a great challenge for everyone. Oftentimes, we encounter problems in working with our clients. These are actually not just habits of clients but are the realities of work. It now depends on how you deal with it. Here are some habits of clients that most designers experience:

1. Asking for great designs with a low price.

great designs with a low price
Image: marekkosmal

Most clients would like to have a great design but many of them also want to pay little for a great work. Let them know that experienced and good graphic designers charge higher than amateur ones because they give better outputs. Let them know the value of one’s skills and talents in the craft of designing. To do away with misunderstandings when it comes to pricing, make sure you have a written contract.

2. Wanting you to make a design first before they give a down payment.

design first before they give a down payment
Image: The Club2010

There are clients who want you to finish everything first before they give you a down payment. Do not tolerate this. What if they did not like your design and wouldn’t pay for your efforts? It is okay if the company asked many designers to submit their designs and then the best one will get the job. That is a different story. But if a client personally came to you and lets you make the design without the assurance that he will hire you, well, you’d better think about it.

3. Slow payments.

slow payments
Image: Unhindered by Talent

Some clients are really hard when it comes to paying. So it is always wise to ask for down payment and agree on a terms of payment. Never give them the final files unless they are fully paid.

4. Insisting on what they DO NOT want and not knowing what they want.

Insisting on what they DO NOT want
Image: Andy Newson

This is indeed irritating. You cannot push through the design because your client keeps on telling you that this and that should be replaced. And when you ask him what he really wants, he actually doesn’t know.

5. Giving you low resolution Images to use.

low resolution
Image: africa

Usually, most clients do not know about resolutions or anything. So try to explain to them that these images will not look good when printed and recommend the use of a different high resolution image. But if they really need to include it, make it small and include it in the contract that they have provided you these type of images and the result of such is out of your responsibilities anymore.

6. Asking for so many revisions.

so many revisions
Image: Eduard Titov

It would be appalling if you keep on repeating your designs. So, have a gone discussion with the client before you start making the design to make sure you’ll get it right. You can also agree on the number of revisions you will do for the project and put it in the contract.

7. Asking for additional work without the intention to pay.

additional work
Image: Eduard Titov

Before starting the project, you have to inform your client that if there are additional works, there will also be additional payments. There are some clients who merely lets you work without the intention to pay. Once again, include it in the contract and make it clear to the client to avoid problems.

8. Not available when needed.

<br /> <h2/>8. Not available when needed
Image: Eduard Titov

Most often, clients are busy with their work and wouldn’t be available all the time. Of course, you would need their approval for your designs and there might be certain questions you need to ask. This depends on you on how you will deal with problems like this. You can actually tell your client beforehand that you will contact them whenever you need to ask questions or whatever. And if you really cannot get in touch with them no matter what you do, you can drop them or you just make the design anyway and wait for their response.

9. Sudden cancellation of projects.

cancellation of projects
Image: owl-ancestry

There are instances that you or your client decides to cancel the project. But make sure that even if it was cancelled, you’ll be paid for the work you have completed. State it in the contract that they have to pay for the job you have completed at the time it was cancelled. But it is still up to you if you refund their payments (if they have given already) or if you won’t ask payment for the work you have done.

10. Asking for files on projects done years ago.

 projects done years ago
Image: Sweetsongs

Some clients misplace the files you give them and will still ask for it years after the completion of the project. It is time consuming on your part to look for copies of their files but to avoid this, you may keep copies of all your projects in an external hard drive or in CDs or DVDs.

11. Knowing and controlling everything.

knowing and controlling everything
Image: Graur codrin

Some clients keep on telling you what to do and they want you to follow them every step of the way. Tell them politely that since you are the designer, you can make the project according to their preferences but with your creative idea. It won’t hurt to suggest things to your client and give them some input.

12. Rushing you on projects.

rushing you on projects
Image: solveigmalvik

There are times when a client needs the project immediately and would want to rush you on working with it. That is okay if they’ll give you additional payment. While there are also clients that even if they don’t urgently need the project, they will keep on rushing you to finish but then are not good in following the terms of payment or doesn’t have money yet to give you the full amount. Before you start a project, agree on a timeline with your client especially for those who needs it project right away.

Of course,you would like to avoid having a contentious relationship with clients for this will not help in up building your name and your company in the market. So, always be professional all the time and avoid being tempered when dealing with clients. If you really cannot work on them well, you may recommend them to other designers. This way, your client won’t feel rejected. Always be nice. After all, clients are the ones who help you earn a living. How about you, do have bad experiences with clients? You may want to share that to us.

Ronald Bien

About the author: A Graphic Designer and the founder of Naldz Graphics. He launched Naldz Graphics to help the Design Community in providing quality design resources and tutorials.


  1. Yeah freelance work can get pretty stressful… lord knows. But I find these habits to be very interesting. Certainly you’ve spend a lot of time on this post, and brought up a lot of key issues. Keep it up Ron!

  2. Wow! You really know these things. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  3. I strongly disagree with what is said in #2. Clients should pay you for your work regardless of whether they are considering other designers or not. How is it okay to require an agreement of payment before doing work when you’re their chosen designer, but not if they’re asking for work from multiple designers? This makes no sense. Anyone contributing work or ideas for a project needs to be paid for their time, even if they want to solicit work from other designers and only choose one in the end. That’s a form of spec work and it is unprofessional and unethical.

  4. Quality! Describes a lot of the clients I’ve had in the past..

  5. You have described it beautifully but you should also have backup files of projects which you have done…

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