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20 Things You Should Never Say to a Graphic Designer

Yet another list of things you shouldn't say to a graphic designer? This seems to be everyone's favorite way to shed some light on the the ways in which clients misunderstand what we do. Although the format is a little trite, lists like these are good for a lot of laughs in the industry. When I see them published for the benefit of clients and potential clients, however, I worry that it makes us seem like whiny prima donnas.

That being said, this article by Janie Kliever at hits all the high points, and expresses them more articulately than most. I agree with most of them, but it might be helpful for me to share which ones I disagree with, and why.

No. 3. Don’t say: “Can you put it in a format that we can edit?” Go ahead and ask, I'll politely tell you that if you don't have Adobe CS, you'll probably want to do it yourself. I don't work in Word or Publisher.

No. 4. Don’t say: “Can you do lots of different versions? I think I’ll know what I want when I see it.” I can do a couple of different versions, if you're clear about what you're looking for. It's my job to ask the questions that will let me know how to proceed, and to tell you if I don't have enough information.

No. 7. Don’t say: Can you do something that looks exactly like [this other designer’s work]?” You're more than welcome to show me another design that you like, and then I can ask what you like about it, and we're well on our way to figuring out what you have in mind. I'm not threatened by the idea of doing something that more or less resembles another design, if it's good - although we can probably come up with something better.

No. 10. Don’t say: “I know someone who works for half that. Could you lower your rate to match?” This tells me right off the bat that we're not a good fit, and if you have another designer who can do the work at half the cost, why are you talking to me?

Of course, if you've read this far, you've probably followed the link to the article, and you're probably aware that it's a website where non-designers can "drag and drop" using pre-designed templates to create their own printed materials. This could potentially take a lot of work away from freelance designers like me, possibly along with a lot of aggravation. If you decide to work with them, drop me a note and let me know how it goes!

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