9 Things Not to Say to a Creative Professional


As an entrepreneur, there are going to be instances where you realize you cannot do it all. You will often outsource many creative parts of your business, especially if that is not your forte. The purpose of this post, is to help guide you and help you not to make certain comments. People tend to act like a deer in headlights when they deal with creative professionals. It is like dealing with your financial planner really, there are unwritten rules, or etiquette that can be followed. So below here are 9 Things Not to Say to a Creative Professional.

“It’s a small project and super easy. This shouldn’t take long.”

There is a reason you chose this designer, there is also a reason that you are not taking on this project on your own. You are leaving your business in someone’s hands, and if you did your research right, you have chosen someone who is capable. Please never start an inquiry email stating that this project will only take x amount of hours. Most likely it will not.

There are many reason’s your designer will make a timeline. Probably because they work on other projects at the same time, and they also need time to understand your business as well as allow for revisions and reviews. So always respect that the designer will set the project timeline, based on what your expectations are, and if they cannot accommodate it completely they will do their best to compromise.

“One more change, I promise!… Wait this too!”

Most designers will set a limit on revisions. This is because they will set the time for the revision in their project to determine your timeline. It is most likely apart of their process, and Do not send an email as soon as you find something, instead take time to carefully outline the thing(s) you would like to be changed.

If you feel like there are a few changes, take time to actually go through the whole piece, and make note of things. Try again the following day, and see if there is anything you missed. Then send in the revisions to your designer. This way you will get the most out of your revisions and the creative gets a really good idea of what needs to be changed.

“I really like that Comic Sans font, or Times New Roman.”

When you pay a designer, you are paying them to be up-to-date on design & web standards. This means that they may turn down your font request. Do not take this as a bad thing. Sometimes the font may not match the type of project it is. When a designer asks for some fonts you like, they are looking for things that represent your feel, and possibly what you feel matches the logo. Think carefully and thoughtfully over this.

Never request Comic Sans, it is a bad choice, and a drop shadow does not make it any better. If your designer is agreeing with you on that selection, I think you need to find a new one.

“Just make everything (color) like the logo.”

Color palettes were created for a reason. Therefore making everything a certain colors goes against design principles. There are many suggestions your designer can make for you. However please do not request magenta, or highlighter yellow or lime.

“I did not have time to do the questionnaire, buts it shouldn’t be a problem.”

The designer took the time to make a questionnaire to make both of your lives easier. The questionnaire will really help to keep the project timeline in check if filled out properly. As a developer or designer we need to understand how your business runs and what message you want to get across. This will help us provide you with our best work possible.

“Just give me all the raw files.”

This sets off alarms in the designers mind, either you are going to butcher my files instead of request for edits, or you are going to let another (usually cheaper) designer take my designs and butcher it. Please never say this to a designer. They will tell you which files they will provide you with, and if they are like me they will back up your raw files for you. Unless you have a valid reason for raw files, they are not necessary for you to have.

“Can you copy this website.”

A there are copyright rules, and B why do you want to look the exact same as something else. I have been asked this way to many times and overtime I will say no. There are too many legal issues with it, and I am not here to hit Command C (or Control C) and then paste it all for you.

“Sorry, I haven’t responded to your question in (put time period here). We are still on track for the completion date right?”

Most likely you will not be. Do not get me wrong, most creative professionals will give you a chance to reply in two business days, but if you take a week or even just more than two business days, it will throw the whole timeline off. If it has to do with approval the creative professional cannot go forward without your okay, which will push you timeline back. It is like any other project. Any delay will effect the timeline outcome.

“I just don’t like it.”

When you return something to a store they tend to ask, why are you returning it. If it is a lemon, they make note of it. If it doesn’t fit they make note, even if you do not like it they make note. They ask for a specific reason. So why would you say to a creative professional you just don’t like it. What do you not like? The more specific you are the easier it will be for the creative professional to change those little things and make something you will like.

So there you have it, 9 Things Not to Say to a Creative Professional. Name one in the comments below that you think is a terrible thing to say to a creative professional. Let’s try to make it to 10! I would love to hear your input!

  1. October 02, 2015 by Kya

    I really like this post and there are so many things you have mentioned that should anyone who is working with a designer should know! I think one thing that I have found is that a client can also assume that everything will be done really quickly and making a logo, design or website just takes a few minutes. >.<

    • October 05, 2015 by Domenica

      Thank Kya! I am sure you have probably experiences one of these. Crazy how people do not understand it is a profession just like anything else. I always think would I say this to a doctor or a lawyer, and if I would not, then I would definitely not say it to another professional.

  2. October 02, 2015 by Bhairavee

    I agree with all of the points you have listed. Clients can be a real pain at times especially when they have no idea how something is to be done!
    One thing that I can think of is : “Are you done with the work? Have you completed it?” The constant nagging even before the time period is up.

    • October 05, 2015 by Domenica

      I feel like the more educated the client, the easier it is to work with them. That is why I literally give client homework and manuals, so they understand what I expect and what they can expect from me. I will probably write a post about it soon!

  3. October 04, 2015 by Georgie

    I have nothing to add haha, your list is perfect and I was laughing and raging inside at the same time because I have had a lot of these said to me before. Some clients just don’t understand how much hard work goes into doing even a small thing like updating a logo. It’s work that we have to do and they just think, oh it is a small image, so it must surely take a short amount of time.

    One time my boss and I got into a legal dispute over a woman who thought that we didn’t do the work, when in reality we did, and we got everything exactly how she wanted it, then she kept asking for more. Because she obviously didn’t like the price for the work involved, she even kept saying ‘I could have done it myself’, she opened a case on us. We won because we went through all the emails and provided the proof. Hahahaha.

    One time a woman wanted to copy a logo from some website and my boss just wrote back, ‘We cannot copy the logo’. HAHAHA.

    • October 05, 2015 by Domenica

      I am so happy you got a laugh out of this! I want to start a website where designers can submit their horror stories. It would make a best selling novel to any creative professional. Your story is priceless, but yes people are ridiculous. I just wish people did not treat creative professionals like they can just assume and not educate themselves on the service first. I got phone calls about copying an entire website. I called back and said I would legally not do that. I could not believe her.

  4. October 11, 2015 by Jamie

    I can relate (and so can other designers) to these nine points. If anyone were to ask me “Can you do something like this” and gives me a design that’s already used. Nope. I don’t want to get sued. Copying any layout is wrong, now I believe copying code is okay, because you can’t copyright code. Thank you for writing these nine points. I don’t think there is anything more to add.

  5. October 30, 2015 by Louise K

    Hi. I found your blog via Bloglist Me. I work in the digital creative field, and I’m hearing you so much! 🙂

    Now, if you can find a way to convince people of the value of “intangibles” such as digital files, or creative input, or why a logo isn’t worth only $1 just because it will be output as 100px, I’d really like to know!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.