20 Terrible Client Emails That Every Designer Dreads

By on May 2, 2016 in Inspiration
20 Terrible Client Emails That Every Designer Dreads

Do you ever dread checking your email? You just know that today's the day when you'll get one of those terrible client emails that will make your cringe. To help ease the pain, here are some unfortunately all-too-familiar emails that we hope will make you laugh.

If you see something familiar, Pin, Tweet, or otherwise share it out. If you have a terrible client email that's even better, share it with the world with the hashtag #badClientEmails.






















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  1. GentlemanDesigns

    Here is another one good, from one of my clients, sadly: "Imagine this is your website. Do it like you'll like. But I don't like the design."

  2. celandine

    Hhahahhahaha :) I remember the days when these used to freak me out :) Then I learned to a) say 'no' to some clients, b) explain the steps of the cooperation very clearly to others and b) insist on payment upfront, at least partially. Suddenly 90% of these are automatically resolved. Magic!

  3. graham.johnstone

    Good list! I've been slowly weeding out my "I want twice the work for half the price yesterday" clients over the years. My happiness and income have actually increased and my stress levels have decreased.

  4. caspian

    How about also "Please center everything" and "We need to fill in all the white space."

    Great collection. Funny and cringe-inducing at the same time.

  5. emberstudio

    Have to play devil's advocate here... Half of these could be completely avoided with a good contract in place. And if there's no contract, that's the designer's fault, not the client's.

  6. tahiya

    adding the Instructional designer's favorites:
    We already have a training, we just need the powerpoints spiffed up.
    Can't you just format the textbook into our template?
    There is no exact way to show the behavior of protons, but can you make an animation?
    We like to write the tests AFTER the course is designed.
    We have 600 PDFs. Just convert them to eLearning, OK?

  7. domenica.rohrborn

    All of these made my heart cringe.
    Another favorite is run-on paragraphs about changes that need to be made and them changing their minds a million times throughout.

  8. Storkman

    I've had a few of these happen. One more - just last week I met with my nightmare client who I (was) designing a new logo. After 2 rounds of great designs, he said he likes his old 2 color logo, the same font and basically the same exact logo. I did exactly what he asked and then I received an email. "I'm not happy with the logos you just showed me. I just want to keep my old logo. Send some money back". Lucky I asked for half down, so it wasn't a total waste of my time. No - it was a total waste of my time. I didn't refund a dime.

  9. Anomen341

    Do it for free and you can put your name and website on it so everyone will know you did it and it will get you a lot of work.

  10. Candle

    I love ... I got to it personally. "If you make me the project for free, I promise I will speak about you to my clients."
    Yes of course! We live with the fresh air and promises ...

  11. artam

    "We really liked the last 12-page report you did for us. We have another report that is also 12 pages with twice as many photos and 3 times as much text, and we want to get it out next week." Two months and ten rounds of edits later...

  12. braindance

    I will never forget this one:
    " Hi, we had some photos taken this weekend at a family picnic, problem is grandpa has his back to the camera in all of them. Can you turn him around so we can see his face?"
    It was at that point I reconsidered joining the Peace Corps.

  13. monica.chitwood.7

    I'm cringing at SO many of these! I still get irritated about this one...
    "Why can't you get a proof to me yet today? (Requesting a custom designed invitation on a Sunday around 5pm) It's such a simple design I'm asking you to make for me, it should be really easy and fast to do. I could very easily design it myself, I just don't have the time." Ugh!!!
    And @Linda B that is HILARIOUS!! I'm laughing so hard at that one! ;)

  14. secondfret

    @Linda B Sure thing, I'll just make a "flip grandpa around" Photoshop action that I can run on all the images. Ten minutes of work, tops.

  15. conan99

    Thanks Josh, I've been using your PS action, but it doesn't look much like MY grandpa! Is there an update soon?

  16. linda.bouchard.79

    My favorite just came in. I know we owe you a lot of money but we need this newsletter printed asap. If you won't do it I will find someone else.
    Two weeks ago a new client called on a Thursday and said "I need a logo designed, business cards, presentation folder and presentation folder inserts by next Tuesday". (and I pulled it off somehow)

  17. Matt_Sawyers

    Here's a recent one:
    "I don't like the color you used, can you change it to a different color?"

    I had a client get upset with me because my contract says 50% beforehand. And I told her "Well it's better than shopping at the grocery where you have to pay the full amount for your groceries before-hand"

  18. diablofredd

    im fairly new in the business but now i know to get minimum 50% up front and if client refuses then too bad is neighbor just offered the entire cost upfront with a tip at the end. :)

  19. DomWint

    These are great. Also…
    "Don't get me wrong, I like it. It's just missing something…"
    "Can you just add some gloss?"
    Anything that starts with "Can you just…"
    "I want my website to have a black background." Then they send a really intricate logo, as a jpg at 7kb on a white background.

  20. survivor

    I have one client for years and he is a great example of "final-final.v4.jpg" and then "Looks great, can we just try to change the color of some elements?" These "can we just try to..." turns the final image into final-final-final-final.... :) On the other side, this client is paying me for hours spent on the design, so I don't care to try unlimited tweaks for him.

  21. aaron.wrixon

    If it's any consolation to all of you, writers get these emails too. I can count 10 or 11—at least—that I've received.

  22. Jackie0719

    "I'll pay you soon for all the past work, meanwhile can you create a full-color flyer? I need it tomorrow. And start thinking about how you will help me create other stuff down the road."


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