Ah, clients…

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

The Design Rants site is well worth a visit – I’ve subscribed to the RSS feed. Basically designers post their stories about the bizarre behaviour of their clients, and they’re all too familiar.
Of course, a lot of the problems could easily be solved with better communication between designer and client: things we see as odd or unreasonable on the part of the client are completely ratonal to them, and if we started involving ourselves in their business we’d be sure to sound just as daft.

But don’t let rationality get in the way of a good rant – or laugh.

This story was posted today and, like many others, it’s one I lived through almost word for word:

So, the client (a small sporting goods store) draws up their little schematic of the ad that they want. In one spot they want a coupon, and they have sketched out an example of what they want: the whole coupon in reverse, with a white box in the middle of it with black type advertising their sale price on whatever, beneath that white box is the name of the store in reverse, and then beneath that, in another white box, they’ve sketched in this weird…thing. It just looks like a bunch of vertical lines. Then, they’ve drawn an arrow, pointing at the box with lines. Next to the arrow it says: “bar code.”

Right. Must be they’re gonna supply that later. So, compose the ad, send it out to the accout manager, who calls back: “They’re sending the bar code over to you now.”

Me: “Okay, great, are they emailing it or sending hard copy?”

Account manager: “No, faxing it.”

Me: *headdesk*

It gets better. So what do you think the client faxes over? A BARCODE FOR A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ITEM SOLD AT A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORE. A national department store, in fact. Client’s coupon is for athletic shoes, department store’s barcode is for sheets. Not to mention the fact that they want me to SCAN a freaking BARCODE.

I call back the account manager, and ask, in politer terms of course, what the hell is going on here. His explanation: “Oh, the client just likes how the barcode looks in the ad. He thinks it makes it look more official.”

As it finally turns out, the client doesn’t even use barcodes.

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