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A little while ago Andy Rutledge tweeted the statement:

“Dear designers, it’s not the clients. It’s you. “Clients from hell” only work with designers from hell. Reflect on your life.”

I found myself shaking my head at the push-back and knee-jerking made by some peers. The reactions were that of personal insult and/or an immediate recounting of a client interaction that was perceived as brutal.

The message was obviously lost on some.

As designers, especially those of us who - ya know - work for ourselves, we have the luxury of choosing who we work with. It’s that simple. Why would you willfully choose to work with someone you, yourself, would define as a client from hell?

See how I said define? While the parameters of what defines a client from hell will vary from designer to designer, the reality is this: you vet your clients, and you chose to work with them.

An argument had been made that if you’re a designer working within a firm you aren’t the one to actually retain clientele. However, when you get down to brass tacks, if a client is so disruptive to your creative flow it starts to affect your productivity, that particular client is now costing your firm money. There are always measures to address and resolve these issues in reputable design firms. If your firm is focused solely on their bottom line, rather than your ability to design a quality product, it then becomes your choice to stay with that employer, (willfully knowing you will have to compromise your ideals to do so).

Many years ago the best boss/mentor/jedi master I ever had, looked at me and said, “As much as people tell you this world full of grey areas, it isn’t. The world is your own, and your choices make it black and white.” I just stood there and blinked, like she punched me in brain. But she was right, you alone choose how you live and work.

I’ve made some shitty choices in my life but I’ve survived, learned from them and moved forward making better ones. It’s the same with my design career, I’ve refined my client evaluation process to ensure I only work on projects that fit my ideals. Does it mean that my early, less then ideal, clients were from hell? Nope. It just means that my own standards weren’t fully established.

So the next time you’re ready to captain-kirk-drop-kick a client because they’re making your life difficult, remember where they got the invite into your life to begin with, and adjust your future vetting process accordingly.

Stacie / Perfektion Design
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stope32 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2012
Nah, this is bullshit. You should be approached like pro in your field, not like some monkey with pirated Photoshop. Clients from hell emerge from time to time regardless of your choices. Deal with them and channel your frustration the way others do...
bographics Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2012
Yes, it is important to learn from every project and client you have. You should not always run away from the clients you don't like but try to present them the real situation from the beginning. The better "selection" comes with the experience!
JiMxLoNeWoLf Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Clients from hell?....... designers from hell? pff that's a new description for my job.... maybe he only wants some attention like a child in a teenager party......
Cymae Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I think that Client-From-hell stories are more a way for artists to vent their frustration from time to time, not that many of us have aneurysms over it.

When you are a creative person working in an environment where people are blocking and channeling your creativity towards their goals day in and day out, sometimes you just want to let off some steam.

Sometimes complaining is an end unto itself :)

Still, well written.
Ikaax Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Excelent journal this one. Amazing!

PS: Yesah, your "jedi master/boss" was totally right there, amazing sentence she told you!
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