20 Lies Designers Tell Their Clients

By on May 2, 2016 in Inspiration
20 Lies Designers Tell Their Clients

Some clients are amazing, others, not so much. No matter who your clients are though, I'm willing to bet you've told a few little white lies to them over the years. Nothing big, just a harmless little fib here and there. To prove it, we created a series of funny posters that show some typical designer lies and "half-truths."

If you see a lie you're guilty of telling, Pin, Tweet, or otherwise share it out. If you don't see one that you relate to, write a new one and share it out on social media with the hashtag #designerLies. Remember, a little confession goes a long way!





















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  1. NG-UK

    It's "Canada" not "Canda". Did you throw these together at 3am after a Breaking Bad marathon? ;p

  2. andi.fosselle

    To be honest, I was a bit shocked when reading these quotes. These quotes make all of us look like amateurs...

  3. creativenauts

    Should be called "20 Lies Wannabe Designers Tell Their Clients"

    A true professional doesn't lie to their clientele. They are honest and 100% transparent. That's how you build a long-lasting business relationship, not by lying!

  4. cleverdesigner

    Derek Stevenson above stated it best. This should be titled "20 Lies Wannabe Designers Tell Their Clients."
    Many of these play to the stereotype of the "lazy designer." As a community, I do not think we need to make fun of some of these. It's hard enough as it is serving clients in a SOHO environment without them second guessing our practice.

    Okay, except the underwear one. That's like 100% true.

  5. sirmon

    I'm with @Andi Fosselle & @Benjamin Protasio on this one. Some of us work hard and put a lot of thought into our work and still struggle to convince clients that our cost is justified. Joke or not, I think it's in poor taste for a design community to post up potentially damaging perceptions to the world like this. just giving more fuel to the fire for clients to place little value on our work and demand lower prices which hurts the overall industry. Boo.

  6. steve.caprio

    haha.. not sure what's funnier.. this post or all the designers with sticks up their butts crying about the post in these comments like their clients subscribe to this stuff. if you struggle to show your value and this post hurts your business.. maybe you're not as good as you think. hahaha.. it think it's funny.. and i'll show it to my clients cause they value me as a person and the service I provide. lighten up. Just my opinion though.

  7. secondfret

    Hi all, good discussion all around. I definitely agree with the sentiment that, ideally, you just wouldn't go around lying to people, especially the people that pay your bills. Designers have serious jobs and should have serious client relationships... but it's good to lighten up and crack some jokes (maybe even at our own expense) every now and then.

    The idea here is that we've all been in the situation where we were late on a deadline or tried to sell work that we knew wasn't our best, and it's ok to laugh about it and MAYBE even admit to a tiny fib you told once.

    If you're looking for posts with serious advice for designers, there are a million of them on every design blog (including this one), just don't forget to laugh at yourself occasionally :)

  8. VintageTypeCo

    Good point @Josh Johnson - people are saying these are things only amateur designers would say... well, true... but we were all at one point amateur designers... so learn to laugh a bit.

  9. htcom

    @Josh Johnson - I'm with @Paul Sirmon & @Benjamin Protasio, there's a difference between poking gentle fun at ourselves (ie highlighting that no one has a fax machine and funny things we say to clients to gently steer things when our true thoughts are much harsher...) and talking about pay and laziness disparagingly.

    I'm 50/50 on this post - on the whole I think it's in poor taste for a site that serves so many designers.

  10. summer.wierth

    Thank you Josh Johnson, its true we should be as professional as possible, but if you cannot laugh at yourself and have fun creating you may need to rethink your career. BTW, yes I have bit my lip while watching a great creative fall apart thanks to client "advice". I would think that has happened to everyone!

  11. harlw

    @Josh Johnson @Paul Sirmon @Benjamin Protasio @Stamen Yanev
    I agree, and often preach it, that we need to be able to laugh at ourselves but there is something about the way these are presented and written that is extremely off-putting to me.

    Some of these are genuinely funny and appropriate – others, not at all.

    The issue is that many of the "problems" highlighted in these quotes are the result of designers shelving professionalism and respect for their clients in favor of selfishness and procrastination OR clients themselves lacking respect for the profession and the individuals charged with doing the work. If you have told lies to clients like the ones above you should not be laughing about it - you should be calling them on the phone or meeting in person to apologize for your lack of professionalism and working hard to mend that relationship in the wake of the damage you have done. By telling a client that the design "looks better this way" when you are tired of working on it or don't want to end up in conflict really only excuses yourself from the real work of educating yourself and your client on what will actually be best for their business and their goals. You hurt yourself, you hurt me, and you hurt the client and all your future clients because you were to lazy to do the right thing and strive for excellence and integrity in your work.

    If my clients read this it would give me a heart attack as it has the potential to reverse much of the incorrect thinking that I've worked for a decade to correct.

    I think if you don't respect yourself or your clients you are perpetuating these ideas that in turn waste time, energy, and money, frustrate clients, discredit professionals, and miss an opportunity to make the web and the world a better place to live.

  12. almost_hectic

    Whoa, some folks are taking this list far too seriously... I dont think it was meant to be taken seriously. But I know Ive been in many similar situations and wanted to say some of these thing. I think thats the way people should be looking at it. Perhaps if the title were "20 Lies Designers Would Love to Tell Their Clients" maybe then some folks would feel better about things.

  13. sirmon

    Well said @Aaron Harlow. Maybe I do have a stick up my butt as @Steve Caprio said but I think it's a stretch to assume that those of us on the other side of this issue don't have fun or enjoy our work @Summer Wierth. On the contrary I enjoy my career very much and have for almost 20 years. I love the craft and maybe that's why I take it seriously.

    Our work is important. What we do can be the difference that takes a product or service from zero to hero. We solve problems. We create desire. We have the power to change minds and possibly the world. Maybe that sounds a bit too idealistic but it's true.

    Trivializing our own work/careers is disrespectful. Taking it too lightly as to lie and be flippant about our shortcomings isn't the face I'd prefer our career to present to the world. Whether you agree or not every one of us has a responsibility to shape the "brand" of graphic design. Treating the work and your clients with disrespect isn't how any of us would like to be seen I think.

    Granted some of this discussion may be pushing it out to an extreme and I'm not saying every word of this post is wrong or disrespectful. The ratio may be tipped more in favor of fun. It's the other bits that I take issue with.

    We're all entitled to a viewpoint and mine is to respect our field, ourselves, the craft, and our clients. I'm not saying anyone who has done any of these things is less than or should be tortured, but maybe we shouldn't excuse or glorify it. I could be wrong.

  14. harlw

    @Mike Girard You are right in some respects - the title of the post and the premise that these would be posters hanging on a wall somewhere definitely contributes to the disconcerting nature of some of these.

    In the end, they were presented that way by the author; @Paul Sirmon, myself, and other's response is justified in my opinion.

    edit: grammar

  15. LebahStudio

    Ok ok... I am not pro designer... I am a Civil Engineer and just hobbies ... that's truth :P

  16. SapphireReg

    LOL. Chill guys. It's supposed to be fun. Some guys are taking this post too seriously. Some are on point and true though

    I have encountered a client who has no idea what he's doing. He changes a lot of things from the Initial talk. Sometimes tells me that he won't take the design anymore after series of changes. Hey can you it like this, how about making it like this, change this to this. Ok. Now change this to this. Sometimes, he even contacts me after we already finished the job a month ago and asks me to edit something out and expects it to be free.

    We all have a different "taste" but sometimes they really do ruin it. :D

    But all is well. Just have fun with the process. :D

  17. labinastudio

    Not always like those, anyway.. some of them are untrue otherwise another designers do it. But it keeps me giggling, nice post!


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