What are some of the BIGGEST LIES you have HEARD as a designer?


We have all heard things from potential clients, current clients, and even other designers. The question is, what are some of the incredible lies you’ve heard? I have a few I could share…

April Sadowski • “It will get you exposure”
“It will take you five minutes”
“It’s simple”

6 days ago • Like

Jake Miller • Oh I like that! One of the things that I want to accomplish is to help shed light on what it is we do. As a graphic designer, 5 minutes is like taking a breathe. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that clients do not see. On the other hand, the “it will get you exposure” comment can go both ways. I know designers have said that about a specific project only to have it fail.

Rich Appenzeller • I have a couple of minor changes….

David Garcia • “I really can’t afford this. Can you do it for free?” Then see in Facebook how they live a high maintenance life style and take vacations on a regular basis.

Coone * • Art-gallery owner who wanted me work for free: “No, I cannot pay you for this. However, I’m giving you an opportunity to get some field experience… you can use the results in your own portfolio of course. No problem.”

Ungrateful designer: “If I wanted a piece of art from your gallery and tell you I have no money but you can regard me hereby as a free shopping window, would I be welcomed by you? Would you take me seriously as a customer?”

Art-gallery owner who wanted me work for free: … (silently walks to elevator, leading to luxurious loft)

It’s appalling how generous they can be…

Jake Miller • @Rich, Whenever I hear that one it makes me laugh. Not in the clients face but silently I am thinking, “sure…” @David, what kind of answers have you given to something like that? I typically say something like, “Sorry, I can’t do it for free. But if you would like to talk about what you need we might be able to find a way to work within some sort of budget.” @Conne, That one sounds rough and I many people would get a little steamed up about that. Ouch!

Jeff Judd • There are always the clients that will say, “…all you have to do is _____…” Why did they need me to do it for them then if “all I have to do is ______”. Everybody thinks they know how to do it all and how to do it better. Why are any of us here in the first place then?

max singer • it will be good for your portfolio = $0.00

Jonathan Stevens • “Great opportunity”

Coone * • @Rich: “I have a couple of minor changes…. “
I heard that one before as well, though I must say I would file it under “ignorance” rather than “lies”.

Most of the time clients simply do not realise the impact of their wishes. A lot of times the changes in question should have been discussed earlier on.

Step 1 would be: stay calm and patiently explain to them this cannot easily be done in this stage. Usually they will understand and accept. If not…
 Step 2 would be to let them know that you will have to estimate the time it takes and bill them for it. (they usually back off if they realise costs them dearly).
 The ultimate step (in case they persist) could be to supress a snarl, keep calm and polite while gently pulling the pin from the complimentary handgrenade that you subsequently donate to them just before pushing them out of your studio.

Maria J Miller • “this (pro bono or highly discounted project) will lead to a lot more work for you in the future”

run fast, run far, far away!

Peter Connolly • @Maria: “This (free) project will lead to a lot more work for you in the future”
 Designer: “Thanks, but I’m already turning work away because we’re so busy. We HAVE to get paid so that we can fit you into our schedule. We do consider free work, but at the moment the only space we have for it is five months away”

@Max: “It will be good for your portfolio”
Designer: “To be honest with all our future clients and prospects, we only put work in our portfolio that we’ve been paid for. I’d love to put your work in my portfolio”

@April: “It will be good exposure”
Designer: “Last time I exposed myself I was lucky to get off with a small fine and a warning…”

A general answer is to ask them how much they paid for their last print run of stationary. If they say that they do it themselves on an inkjet printer, run away. If they still try to get you to work for free, ask them how they pay for the electricity in their office; the electricity supplier won’t be doing it for ‘exposure’ or ‘recommendations for future business’

Can you tell I’m a bit jaded today! :)

Bemmygail Abanilla • That it’s easy and quick. And that it’s low cost job…..

Milan Hinic • “Yeah, this is very good, perfect! I’like it!” few days later – “WE should make some small changes”

Katie Lowry • So we’ve already done most of the design in PowerPoint and just need you to make it look sexy. It shouldn’t take you too long – 120 slides later and a lot of coffee I’d felt something had gone awry. What a waste of a degree!

Brian Dayhoff • “This will be great for your portfolio”

Tammy Williams • “I just have one minor change”

Natsumi Miyata • “trust me, I have many connections, You Will get many references as soon as the work you have done for us is launched.” – and then………. the wait…….then nothing….

I guess I fell for that one a lot, but look at it in a positive manner, my portfolio is still growing, the only thing I stood to lose was not making “instant money”. As long as your designs are stretching out there, with patience and hard work they will be a success.

Piers Chapman • “You can have a slice of the revenue” one of my very first jobs a long long time ago.