Clients Screwing Up Your Web Design Work?
July 2nd, 2014 by Mike Locke  |  10 Comments »    

In this video I talk about how I deal with clients that override your design decisions and screws up your web design work.


    Kris Jolls    
    July 2nd, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Haha the title made me laugh and I knew the answer before watching lol. The problems usually start when your all done with a site or logo with all their requirements and they ask ‘can you make it pop?’

    What are your thoughts on asking the client to use the work in your portfolio. I usually ask but never thought about asking to use drafts and not finals.

    Mike this also holds true when your client takes the site and becomes a code expert. Don’t link to their site! lol

    Mike Locke    
    July 2nd, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    @Kris – “Can you make it pop”… that’s a classic line. No need to ask in regards to posting the work. That’s my philosophy. I feel if I worked on it (and I haven’t signed any legal disclosure telling me I can’t post the work) then I can post it. Also yes, you build a site and in six months, there’s an entirely new section coded differently. That’s why is so important to post your own version of the site rather than the “live version”. ;)

    July 2nd, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Hehe yeah, great title, one which I think every designer thinks at some point.

    I think there are positives and negatives to client control of projects… to an extent of course. I think the initial review on the client’s part of your design is your ‘hold your breath’ moment. Because you don’t know if they will love it, hate it, or they “love it”, but want a few “small” changes (which ends up being a massive list), and I hate to disappoint. But once it’s out of the way you know what the client wants and what to give them so that they will be even more satisfied upon the next revision, which I would say is a positive. But at the same time as you said, a limit on creative control can be slightly frustrating, which is certainly a negative.

    It’s probably not such a big problem in freelancing because you have more communication time with a client, so you can discuss or convince them about what designs would be best. But I’d imagine that in the corporate world, as you said, once they have told you what they want, that’s it – bottom line, back to work sort of thing.

    July 2nd, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Mike good video, by far the funniest, cause we all deal with that all the time.

    My rule is simple since im just a freelancer for now, the customer is always right if he doesnt want to adopt my suggestions. He/she is paying i do what they want.

    Luckily some clients will listen to your ideas and understand why its designed that way. Sometimes communication can help a lot.

    The worst client is the one that doesnt know what they want and will take anyone’s opinion out there but yours. lol

    Juan Sidberry    
    July 5th, 2014 at 6:34 am

    This is some really good comments and insight…

    My input: ” I almost always say, in one way or another, to a client or boss that you are paying for my professional opinion and expertise, however, I will do it the way you want because the end product is your.”

    @Madere, you are spot-on. I had the same comment: customer always right, good communication is key, and know that YOU are the professional at design not the client. Once we balance all three things, the path is smoother.

    July 6th, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Great video, Mike! I recommend posting large screenshots of 5 main pages with the option of a link to the live site below. At least the potential clients can see what you originally did. I think we’ve all had those clients who thinks they can make changes themselves, then screws it up. They often underestimate the HTML and CSS coding involved.

    July 7th, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Hello Mike, thanks for the great video. Yes I have been trying to find a solution for this since so long and today your advice was really helpful. But I do have something to ask you, I still don’t understand how can we use the content and photos the company provides us to work with? Because they purchase those images from stock websites and even if we have the access to their High Resolution images and use those in our portfolio designs then won’t it be a problem? If its not too much to ask can you like make a small video regarding a personal project….. like regarding on how to mould the company’s design we make there into one of our own portfolio work? I do a lot of graphic design work and I have made so many designs over there but I just don’t know how to use their content and photos to fit into any personal project. I would appreciate it a lot if you make a video regarding this. Use any of your CBS projects you were giving an example of. Keep up the good work. Mike! Thanks once again for such a helpful video.

    July 11th, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Hi Mike. My past bosses always said I’m dead stubborn when it comes to their criticism of my designs. But in plain terms, I tell them that if they’d be a little nice to ensure that their critics is a bit constructive, I would definitely take it in good faith. but most times, what have you got “Syl this design does not make sense” Goosh! this turns up the madness in me. You mean I take all this time thinking, sketching sticking my ass to the computer for hours and this is all I’ve got as compliments, Oh no I won’t accept that. But your approach seems OK. Just do what the bosses say and get on with using the best options for your portfolio. Great counsel I got here, but guy it’s not that easy abeg!

    July 15th, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Timely, Big Mike! ;P

    Fortunately for me, the work
    that turns out the worst are
    projects that the boss’s
    sister-in-law tries to farm
    out from time to time.

    The last was a client’s micro-site
    that was awarded to a friend
    of the sister-in-law.
    Her claim to fame was, she designed
    the original metal credit card.
    American Express I think it was.
    The site turned out to be a
    big blue blob that had faulty
    HTML5 and nothing worked as advertised.
    She bailed out on it 3/4ths of the way through.

    So…the upshot is, that’s set the
    stage for me to be very assertive
    about what goes into a site and
    what does not. It doesn’t matter
    of she doesn’t like it…the Boss does.
    He’s been burnt too many times to
    ignore me at this point.

    However…it doesn’t ALWAYS pan out
    that way and this TIMELY blog is a
    VALUABLE piece of advice that I’ll
    be doing, going forward and I’ll
    start doctoring my portfolio archive
    of original layouts too.

    September 29th, 2015 at 8:06 am

    So your answer to design criticism is to keep a personal version for yourself, then just go with whatever the client wants, thereby disconnecting yourself from the project. I can see that this might reduce your frustration but it really isn’t professional just to do what they want. It may help your portfolio but it doesn’t give the client what they are paying you for ie your expertise. Sell your ideas to the client, overcome their objections, show them what they are paying you for.

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