7 Deadly Red Flags of Bad Clients

Prevention is better than cure. Spotting red flag client can be confusing. Even experience professional designer sometimes will miss their judgment between good client and bad client.


Here are a few of the client I often avoid.

The Poor Communicator

I’ve met client where she combine a 10 sentences email into one sentence paragraph without any full stop or comma. Sometimes digesting her email took more time than making an business card amendment.


I need to spend 30 minutes to digest her email where the design amendment will only take me 15 minutes. If you love to solve a puzzle within a message just like in the movie, Da Vincci, go for it then.


Tesco Discount and Free Gift

This one only apply in Tesco. I did a free business card for one of my client before, the next they want a free letterhead. Then I realize I’ve been wasting a lot of time doing free stuff. I could spend that time looking for another client.


This is how some client think, “if I can get this half price, why not that one?”


Who Were Once a Designer

This type of client probably doesn’t have a clue on what they want and still claim themselves “I am once a designer”.


They want a logo that really pop, they want a funky colorful leaflet and they give you a minimal design brochure from their friend as example, they want to use Brad Pitt image as a logo, they want the same design like that one they saw across the road.


The worse thing can happen when working with this type of client is they won’t listen to you. They think they are right all the time and you should listen to them since “they were once a designer”.


Client Who Give You an Unfinished Project

They were either just fire a designer or being fired by a designer. Ask them what makes the project unfinished. Listen to both side, client and the previous designer who work with them before making decision.


I will skip this client most of the time.


The Deposit Promise Maker

“I’ll pay you the deposit next week but can you start the project today as I need to show my boss the concept for this project tomorrow?” I believe you heard this more than me.


Never start a project until the upfront was made. I think that is a basic in some business procedure. A client who can’t pay upfront, most of the time they wont pay you the full amount.


Always remember only release the final artwork after full amount was made.



The client who ask you to come out 3 logo concept by the time he finish his dinner in 30 minutes. How am I going to do that since I don’t have any super power. It’s a long logo process


We don’t do fast food service like McDonald did. So 3 logo concept in 30 minutes? I will come out a square, rectangle and circle as logo concept with comic sans as wording. I will definitely work with them again if they approve that.



The purpose of a questionnaire is let us learn more about a client project. If they don’t take these questionnaire seriously, how do we know what we need to work on?


It’s Your Turn

Which type of client do you often avoid? Share with me in the comment box below.