guy screaming into the phone: ways to deal with difficult graphic design clients featured image

How to Deal with Difficult Graphic Design Clients

If you are working as a graphic designer and have gathered a notable amount of experience as a graphic designer, then you most probably encountered a client who was very difficult to work with. If you are looking for help on how to deal with that difficult graphic design client of yours? Then welcome to “5 ways to deal with difficult graphic design clients.”

Here I will shed some light on how to deal with those problematic graphic design clients and whether you should continue dealing with them or not!

1. You Are a Freelancer

The most important thing about being a freelancer that non-freelancers think is that you are your boss, i.e., you make your work hours, and no one has control over your freedom because no one employs you.

The most common example of a difficult graphic design client is they think you work for them. But the reality is you work with them. If the client you are currently working with is acting like your boss, then you need to remind them they are not your employer and you work with them, not for them.

graphic designer work space with two monitors next to each other

What I do when a client is acting like they are my boss is I casually bring up an example about my old job and tell them how my former boss treated me like he used to own me. Then I tell them this is the reason I quit my last day job because I had a bad boss.

Then I tell them how happy I am with the decision to become a freelancer and how you do not have to work for anyone because you work with clients and not for them. You do not need to tell them the same story but tell them your version of why you decided to become a freelancer and tell how empowering being a freelancer is.

After telling all this, the client definitely should get your message and they will most probably start to behave accordingly.

2. Be on Par With Your Client’s Energy

You just showed up at the first meeting with your client, and the meeting went well. You and the client agreed to work with each other.

After shaking hands on that deal the client says “I cannot wait for you to knock this logo out of the park! But you reply in a hesitant voice “I will do what I can in my limits.”

cleint meeting with paper on a table

See what you did there? You just made the client doubt you, and that’s a red flag. You do not want the client to question you and make them think “Did I choose the right man for the job?” Instead, What you should have said is “ Hell yeah! Dude, we are going to knock this logo out of the park!”

The client was aggressive in articulating himself. So, you also should be aggressive in articulating yourself. But do not be out of line. Be professional, and your tone should duplicate the excitement your client has.

3. Always Write Down All The Specifications Your Client Wants

Freelancers especially those who are new on the field always complain about how demanding their clients are, but they share the responsibility for this equally. A simple way to deal with this will be to have a fixed scope for all your works.

Create an agreement stating what you will do and what you will not do for them and put everything together in a contract. Before starting to work with a new client sit down with them and ask them what they want you to for their design.

In that way, you will have an idea of what you should do for them and what you do not need to do. You will then create a written document of the services you will provide and get a written confirmation from them.

woman writing down notes on a meeting

Clients tend to forget most of the time what they told you before and sometimes they need some written documents showing them that the services you agreed on offering them.

A client might ask you to do something that was not agreed upon beforehand, and in that case, you can always turn to that document and show it to the clients. You can tell them what you agreed on before and if they want other services and facilities from you.

You can charge them extra for those services, and if they are okay with that then you will update the document again stating the changes, and you will send a copy of the papers to the clients. The clients should always have a documentation copy.

Do not be those freelance graphic designers that are not tidy with their work. The key to success for any profession is how organized you are with your respective business, even when it becomes hard to deal with those nagging clients to be professional and deal with them kindly.

Never behave rudely with them as they will give reviews to others that will be self-destructive to you. Act like a professional and accordingly towards your clients.

4. Always Focus on the Outcome

Most of us, I mean us human beings tend to blame each other for our own doing. Like things that could have been done right by us but we will blame others for us not doing things a 100 percent.

See, most graphic designers will blame their clients for giving them lousy input and most clients will blame their graphics designers for not listening to their directions appropriately. In this case, what I do is I pay attention to my clients carefully, and I ask some questions that give me a feel about what they would like their design to be.

graphic designer with a client looking at the designs on a computer screen

My primary goal is always about the outcome. No matter how bad your client is nagging you about. If you disagree about something, try to find a middle ground and make them feel like you are supporting them and you want the best for them.

If the client feels like you are not getting their point, then ask them politely “What would they like the final product to be like?” The answer to that question from the client will let you know what the client wants to see from you.

I always prioritize the outcome over anything. Anything the client says should be related to the result of your design. See, if you give the client what they want, then you get a happy client. A happy client lets you know you are doing your job right.

Always focus on making the clients happy in that way you will build a good relationship with them also, if they want any other graphic designs in the future, they will come back to you. They will even recommend you to other people who are looking for graphic designers.

5. Remember You Have the Power

Remember that you are a freelancer and you do not work for anyone. You hold power to terminate a contract if you want to, of course, there need to be a valid reason. The best thing about being a freelancer is you hold all the power.

If a client can decide that they do not want to work with you and they can fire you, you also have the same power to lay your clients off if you feel like you do not want to work with them.

For example, I started my freelancing career working for a company. It is a big company, and the paycheck from that job consisted half of my income. But my decision to quit that job was because it was dragging me down.

They treated me like an employee, but they forgot I am a freelancer and they signed a contract with me so that I can work with them, not for them. So, I quit that job, and it took me a better part of a year to get another work like that, but it only took the next morning to feel better about myself.

Final Words: 5 Ways to Deal with Difficult Graphic Design Clients

There are many more ways to deal with a client, but I chose to write the 5 most important thing about how I think a graphic designer should deal with their client. I hope “5 ways to deal with a difficult graphics design client helped you!”.

You Might Also Like...