Ridiculous Requesting: Man Vs. Bear

June 1st, 2009

YouTube Preview ImageAs creatives or any positions really, we see this so-typical, unmanaged, client relationship that results in completely ridiculous requests. Time and time again we are pushed to actually fulfill them. If you do, then more often than not the work that you’ve done falls into the category of “Who’s really designing this, the Client or Creative” and if you don’t fulfill the ridiculous requests you’ve just stepped into the ring for a power struggle. This is where we need to check ourselves and make sure we’re managing the relationship effectively from the get go.

Managing the relationship can be as simple as outlining in the very beginning what the scope of the project is and building the client’s confidence in you. Outline what each party is expecting from the other so you don’t hit road blocks amid the project. I particularly like this quote from the video where the client says, “You aren’t meeting your commitments to me.” The creative then responds back with, “We’re trying, but your priorities keep changing.”

How does this affect our industry?

The more times that ridiculous requests are filled, the more confidence the client builds in requesting ridiculous things.

Think of it as Man vs bear.

Respectively replace “Creative” and “Client” with man and bear and who wins? The bear will seemingly always win unless the man is armed with a gun. The gun in this case is knowledge of dealing with this particular situation. If man (creative) is armed with knowledge, he can tame the bear (client) if you will and deal with it on a human level (by no means am I advocating the use of firearms on clients). The key here is knowing how to effectively stop it or drop it and the more times that designers/photographers are put into this situation, the less chance we have to create work that benefits our clients while having complete creativity.

So here’s my idea—just say no to those clients that from the start expect ridiculous requests from you and those who continually change their priorities. Learning how to say no and still maintain the relationship is tricky. Feel ree to share any thoughts or experiences concerning this topic. This is definitely not rocket science here, rather, something that is often slightly overlooked in the beginning.

Posted by on 06/1/09 in Design, Video

9 COMMENTS   »  Leave your Comment

  1. Well put sir. Time to flex a little muscle, let all those crazies know who is running the show. “Seriously, skulls and all-over prints will not make for a good sweatshirt.”

  2. Photo-John says:

    That video is awesome. Such a perfect analogy.

  3. […] This post was Twitted by Photo_John – Real-url.org […]

  4. Nate says:


    It’s so true. People that don’t understand the work that goes into what we do expect to rip us off. Because they don’t value what we do, because they don’t know what we do. Designers need to put their foot down and not do work for free, which is what underselling your works does. It’s bad for us all. And plus, if they act like that, just say no.

  5. Thomas Smart says:

    Great article and film, hits the nail on the head.

    I think most such problems are with smaller clients, 1 man companies and such. I still remember comments like “our budget is x because we dont think its that much work”… ~_~ whut?? if you know how much work it is why dont you do it then lol :P

    i tend to stick with larger companies now, companies big enough to asign a project manager as my contact person. They understand the work involved in the creative process and you have far less rediculous requests, if any at all.

  6. not ivan lesko says:

    it’s a tough situation and there’s never a right or wrong answer on what you should and shouldn’t do. every client is different and it all depends how good of a relationship you want with them. personally, I can’t think of any times where I’ve declined a request. keeping clients happy should be everyone’s #1 priority, imo.

  7. not ivan lesko says:

    “(by no means am I advocating the use of firearms on clients)”

    this might be a good idea, actually ;) ;)

  8. […] completely ridiculous but we’ve all encountered clients whom actually request these things. I posted another video similar to this topic in the past that goes right along with this […]

Leave a Response