What this freelance designer wished her clients knew!


Like any relationship, romantic or family, the relationship between client and a freelancer designer can be fantastic, but also full of annoyances.

In nearly all the cases I have experienced, these annoyances have been due to miscommunication and a lack of understanding of where the other person is coming from.  A good freelance designer will make an effort to research what their client needs, but it’s not always the case that a client will reciprocate.

So with that in mind, here are my tips on what makes for a good working relationship with your freelance designer.

We cannot make your design without content!

This is a conversation I have all the time with my clients. No content, no idea on what you need. It is just not possible for us to “do a design and we can add the text / images / information later”. Unfortunately design just does not work like that. We need to see your content so we can understand what you need, and what the design should be.

Use images off Google

Another one I get asked daily. When we are doing a design for you, we cannot just take images from Google Image search. There are multiple reasons why. The big one being you are infringing copyright by scraping images off the internet. The second being in nearly all cases the images are not a high enough quality for what you need.

Extra requests cost you money

Once we have created a quote for you, while it is easy to add more items to your project, it will cost you. If you ask for items outside of the outlined scope, I will charge you. Asking for “one little thing more” is not fair and just. If you were with a hairdresser and just suddenly after getting a hair cut, wanted it coloured as well. There is no way a hairdresser would do that for free. And neither should a freelance designer.

We have other clients

I understand it can be annoying when you need your designer to rush a job, only to find out they are too busy. But the reality is that if we don’t want to eat cardboard for the rest of our lives, we often have multiple jobs on at the same time. Unless you are prepared to pay a ridiculously huge sum of money to keep us working on just your stuff, then you are going to find we can’t just drop everything for your rush jobs.

We don’t spend every free second checking our email

Being a freelance designer, means finding the right balance between maintaining your relationship with clients, and doing the work. We won’t and can’t respond to every email whim within five minutes. Sometimes we need to turn off our emails to be able to produce the work you are paying us for. This also applies to calls. I have a rule, that when I am working on a project, I don’t take any calls unless it is from that client that the work relates to. This means I can spend a few hours with my head in the one job, without being interrupted by calls and emails.

We need money to live

I’m not a fan of eating cardboard, which means I need to charge people for what I do. Being a freelance designer means no regular salary. We get paid in random and unpredictable ways, so it’s important to ensure we can keep working, that clients pay their invoices on time and for the correct amount. Less bookkeeping, means more design time.

We have costs to run our business

Being a freelance designer, means we don’t have the luxury of printing letters, grabbing pens or sending couriers without it costing us. As a salaried position, you may not realised that your employer are in fact covering all these costs in their pricing. What this means, is that when we quote for a job, we factor all those items in. So please don’t try and lowball us by saying “How can it cost so much for something so little”.

We love repeat business

We love it when you come back. Repeat clients are really important to freelance designers. Regular work means we can build up a mutual understanding of your needs, and develop a good working relationship. We also really love it when you recommend us to your networks. So thanks for that.

Image by Teresa Kluge