In a perfect world, working with your designer would be a perfect partnership of creativity, communication, and collaboration — at least that is what designers strive for. But that’s not always the case…
A designer begins every project excited about what they will create and about bringing the client’s vision to life — they wouldn’t have accepted the project is they weren’t. They are excited about solving problems, helping their clients succeed, and building a new relationship or strengthening an existing one. They value their client and look forward to becoming their long term creative partner.
Designers have so much pride in their work and so much invested in their clients’ success, that they will often bend over backward, throw in extra work, and go above and beyond your contract just to make sure the final result is as good as it can possibly be. Mainly because the success of your project puts their reputation on the line.
But occasionally, a switch gets flipped, and the dynamics of the relationship change. Something happens, or several things happen, that cause a designer to shift the way they view a client and a project.
It’s the critical point where a client stops being a client and starts being a contract that needs to be fulfilled — where a designer throws their hands in the air and gives up trying to make it totally awesome, and instead just wants it to be good and done.
Luckily for the best designers, this doesn’t happen often. Now, I’m not going to lie and tell you this has never happened to me. Unfortunately it has and if it is early enough in the project, we refund the deposit and part ways with a referral to another designer. Or if we’re already in too deep, we complete the scope of work outlined in the contract, maintain our quality standards, and when we’re done, we simply don’t work with them again.
Note: The best designers will always protect their reputation, finish the project with integrity, and deliver the same quality of work no matter what. They simply won’t go above and beyond.
With that said … Here 8 guaranteed-to-work tips you can use to alienate your designer and go from client to contract:
Question Everything They Do Or Say
Constantly challenge your designer and second guess everything they do and say. Ask for their advice then disregard it. Delay the project for months while you get second opinions and suggestions on the design from everyone you know including your grandma, your next door neighbor’s daughter, your mastermind group, your garbageman, your coach, your friends, and yes, the grocery store clerk — because they all know what will work better than your designer.
Dishonor Your Contract
After the contract has been signed and the project has been started, change the scope of work several times. Take advantage of your designer and demand extra revisions and request lots of additional work that wasn’t included in the contract. When your designer tells you they can accommodate you but that the new work would require a new estimate, be very mean to them — threaten them and say rude, nasty things to them.
Disappear Without Notice
Sometime in the middle of the project simply disappear. Stop responding to email and don’t return their phone calls — but be sure to stay active on social media so they can see that you’re still running your business and making money. If it’s a WordPress project, make sure you disappear long enough that WordPress releases an update and plugins release updates so your designer has to do extra work to maintain your in progress site while it hogs space in their development hosting account.
Answer Questions With “I Don’t Know”
Your designer will ask you questions about your business, your brand, your clients, or your goals — and they’ll ask you questions about site requirements, preferences, and what’s working or not working about your current site. Don’t give them any information. Answer every question with, “I don’t know.” And just for fun, throw in a, “Isn’t that what I hired you for? Why are you asking me?”
Belittle Their Work
Never tell your designer they did a good job. Never compliment them or say anything nice. Only ever point out the things you don’t like — and act the fate of your entire business rests on even the tiniest design element. In fact, when they’re done with the design, belittle what they do and tell them you could have done it yourself, but you just couldn’t be bothered.
Don’t Let Them be Creative
After the contract is signed and the project is started, surprise your designer will drawings you did of exactly what you want your website to look like and send them screenshots of sites you want to copy. Tell them you’re not interested in their input or design ideas, and that you just want them to “make” exactly what you sent them — and be sure they know it shouldn’t be hard or take much time because you’re just copying other sites.
Email and call your designer over and over until you get them to answer, even if it’s more than 10 times in on hour. Make outrageous demands that they work over the weekend or in the middle of the night without extra compensation and expect that they will respond to your emails 24/7/365 — and when they don’t throw a huge temper tantrum and threaten them.
Never Respond or Say Thank You
When your designer sends you design drafts, website proofs, or other materials, don’t respond for days or weeks — don’t even acknowledge that they did the work for you. When you ask them to do something for you, never say thank you and just demand more.
Some of the items listed above are deal breakers, like “Don’t let them be creative” — that may drive your designer to their grave with one infraction!
Other tips aren’t as big of a deal, so you may have to do a few of them in a short time span to really make them effective and drive your designer to take up a violent sport.
Are you a designer who has been treated this way? Are you a business owner whom has learned a thing or two? Did I simply make you laugh? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!