10 Warning Signs of Bad Client Types

Clients are supposed to be a focal point of any graphic designing business. Without clients you are obviously nothing because they are the main source of your income so keeping them happy is very important. However, this does not mean that you should be completely dependent on them. If you have spent years in designing industry, you would obviously know by now that all clients are not good clients. You will have to do work with some really difficult clients as well. If you are a newbie, you obviously cannot afford to turn down an offer regardless of how difficult the client comes across because you are desperate to gain experience.

10 warning signs of a bad client

For any relationship to work cooperation and mutual understanding is a must. But some clients are unaware of these words.  In order to be a successful designer, you must follow work ethics but there is a certain kind of clients that needs to be avoided so that designing does not become a futile exercise. You should immediately turn down a client when you feel that it is impossible to make this client happy or if you have an intuition that this client will not be an easy payer. It is difficult for newbie’s to judge difficult clients but observing their behavior can really help in judging them and then turning down their offer.

Let’s take a look at 10 warning signs to identify bad client types.

Best critics of your previous work

Best critics of your previous work

If you are just a few projects old in designing industry, you will obviously keep the prices lower than the established designers. Although it can help you in getting new work but some clients will look down on you because of low prices. These are the clients who will criticize everything in your previous work. They will always tell you that your previous work was not up to the mark and hopefully this time you can put in some honest effort. If you hear anything of this sort, do yourself a favor and turn down the offer from the client then and there.

Too many expectations

Too many expectations

A sensible client will always have a rough idea in his mind as to what he wants from a designer that he is about to hire. Obviously, he would want to achieve something par excellence but he would be intelligent enough to have real expectations from the designer. Clients who are confused and have too many expectations from a designer are difficult clients to deal with. Managing their expectations can get really difficult. So, if you want to save yourself from hassle, avoid working for clients with too many expectations.

History of bad experiences

History of bad experiences

A client who has a list of bad experiences in the past should be avoided. Such clients are never happy with anyone’s work and that is generally because of unrealistic expectations. If a client tells you that previous designer was horrible, do ask them a few questions regarding what they disliked  about your previous work. This will help you in analyzing if it was actually the designer who was at fault or if it is the client who was impossible to satisfy. If they paint a picture in front of you that every designer in the past was horrible, do not work with them because you do not want to be a new addition in their list.

Bound to Pick Holes

Bound to pick holes

If you are lucky enough to take hold of a project, the initial requirements would be to send out a proposal with all the details regarding project. Some clients are in a habit to nit-pick on everything and if a client picks out way too many mistakes in your proposal or initial ideas, it is time to move on. Now, I am not saying that you should not be open to changes. If there is a room for some logical changes, go ahead and change things accordingly. However, if you feel that client is just picking out on things for the sake of it, there should be no looking back.

Slow Pacers

Slow pacers

Slow Pacers from 123rf.com

Some clients like to drag their feet. They will take so much time in just responding to a single email. Due to such slow pacers, your whole schedule is bound to get disturbed. Delays are quite realistic and they can happen so if this happens once or twice, it is okay. However, if they are taking too much time in providing feedback or replying to your important emails, opt out of the project. If a client takes more than required time just to sign the contract, consider it a warning and avoid getting into any mess by working with him.

Reason behind communication gap

Reason behind communication gap

It is important for designer and client to have a good communication level so that all questions are answered in the beginning leaving no room for misunderstanding. Some clients do want an exceptional result from you however; they are not willing to participate in the project. A client has to give out a proper direction to the designer so that he can deliver the desired results. If a client thinks that figuring everything out is a designer’s duty because they are being paid, it is definitely a wrong approach. Most clients do understand that proper communication is very important and they provide designer a platform to begin with.


Know it all

If a client is trying to be over smart in front of you, I can assure you that this client will act as if he knows each and everything about designing. Sometimes, they think that their knowledge is more than a designer’s knowledge. They will have a bossy attitude and they will undermine your talents and capabilities. Obviously you do not want to be treated as a puppet. If you are facing difference of opinion in everything, avoid such clients. You will only end up wasting your time and efforts.

An Indifferent breed

An indifferent breed

This is the kind which is totally different from the one mentioned above. This breed of clients will be least interested in the project. This will result into misunderstandings and final project will be full of flaws. So, try and avoid clients who are not interested in their own project.

Always in a rush

Always in a rush

Always in Rush from 123rf.com

You will also come across a few clients who will be in a rush, always. They can also be called hasty clients. They will expect you to finish work in no time. Even if you try to make them understand the procedure of designing, they would still want their project designed in no time which is obviously is impossible. Avoid working with such clients as they affect the quality of your work.

Love Bargaining

Loves bargaining

This type of clients is also known as cheapskate clients. They will bargain on pricing every time they see you. It does not matter if you have told them a million times that your fee is fixed. They will still try their level best to make some room for bargaining. Avoid such clients who cannot value your work’s worth.


There are no dream clients in designing industry. You will obviously get to work with clients that are easy to deal with. But, you should avoid working with the types mentioned above because gradually you will realize that it was not worth it.

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  1. Girish says:

    I think I cannot work with anyone. Every client has any one of these fault. 😉

  2. Yo says:

    Really wonderful post!Congratulations!

  3. warren says:

    wow..this post really makes me thinks a lot as i always keep on finding the best solution handling these “special” type of clients..
    Good one bro!