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Crazy Logo Customers - A tutorial on how to handle bad customersThis logo design tutorial will show you the correct way to handle bad customers. All logo designers will have at least of few projects that go bad. Designs are very subjective. Most people love the FedEx logo. Some people hate it. Here is a hypothetical example. You are the designer on the original FedEx logo design project and one of the first concepts you presented to your client was the FedEx logo as it exists today (a great logo design in most people's opinion). Your client happens to be one of the people who hate it. He tells you that you are a horrible designer and thinks you should quit. How would you handle that? This situations really do happen. The key thing to remember is to keep your cool and try not to take your customers feedback to hard. I have personally had to deal with a handful of these. Some of the projects end with a positive note and others just end. Here are the real stories of my dealings with crazy logo customers.
click to see their stories
Flaky - Crazy Logo Customer #1Logo design projects with multiple decision makers can be a nightmare for a logo designer. Each person usually has their own opinion of what is good. This results in the designer spending a lot of time designing concepts and working on revisions that never have a chance. Sometimes a project can proceed this way with only decision maker at the helm. This brings us to our first crazy logo design customer. We will call him Flaky. In his logo customization form he said "I just want something really cool looking" and "There are a lot of great logos out there, but obviously, I want our logo to be 100% unique without ideas from anything else. I guess that's your job". His logo design was for a commercial cleaning service.
Here is how the email correspondence went after Flaky received his initial logo concepts.
17 hours after the initial logo concepts were sent Flaky emailed:
I really like them all, thanks!
However, if I had to choose, I'd go with concept #2 -- but if you could add some kind of tree design in the background (like in concept #1) I think that would really be a cool/unique and clean looking logo.
Thanks for your work and let me know if you have any questions/comments about what I'm talking about. If not and you understand, please make the revision and I should be good to go.
Thanks again, Flaky
15 minutes later Flaky emailed again:
Actually, scratch the last email.
The first logo kind of looks like a whale tale (is that supposed to be a tree)? I like the overall font, but something needs to change (some kind of early-friendly logo behind it)...
The second one looks a bit like a fox tail in the "V"
The third I'm not a fan on.
I need a concept with an actual LOGO on it -- not just the overall font. Do you know what I mean?
Please respond before you complete any revisions.
2 hour later I sent this email to Flaky:
Thank you for the two very different emails.
Based on your feedback, this is the direction I will take the logo in the next two rounds of revisions. I will keep the overall font of concept 1. You stated "I need a concept with an actual LOGO on it -- not just the overall font." I will create a symbol next to the words. When doing the preliminary sketches, a symbol didn't seem like the best way to proceed. There is a lot of type in your logo which lends itself a logo without a symbol. The goal was to have the focus on the words (more people remember the name) rather than a symbol next to the words.
In your brief, you said that "there are a lot of great logos out there." What logos do you think are great? This may give me a better idea for the direction you would like your logo to go in.
What times are good for me to contact you by phone?
I will wait until I hear from you before beginning your revisions.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
15 hours later Flaky wrote:
Well, I want a symbol that will be 100% original (obviously, that's what you guys do), but something eye-catching and that someone will remember -- not only the name, but the symbol too.
Yes, I stated there are a lot of great logos out there -- I cannot pinpoint just one, but to give you a better idea of a company that creates some great stuff, view them at the following:
logodog.com (just giving you a better idea, not to choose one or two different logos, I just think 75% of the logos they've created are very cool/unique and nicely done). It appears that you guys do great work as well, but I didn't want to spend $150 or more for a logo, so I went with you guys.
Also, my business name is all one word, not separated.
You can call me anytime today -- feel free. Thanks.
22 hour later I sent this email letting him know that his brand new concepts (not supposed to be included in his package) were ready:
Your revised logo concepts have been completed. You can view them on your client page.
If you have trouble viewing your revised logo concepts, please click your browser's refresh button.
Please let me know which concept you prefer and any further revisions you may require.
2 hours later Flaky responded:
I don't think we're off to a good start here. In the previous email you sent me, you asked me when the best time to call would be and I replied "anytime" and left my number for you. I never received a call from you, yet you went and made revisions.
Please give me a call to discuss the revisions again (1st concept looks like a paintbrush, 2nd concept I don't understand and the 3rd concept is a clover?)
I appreciate your effort, I really do, however none of these concepts truly represent what the company is about. Please call me to discuss the revisions (there's no way that I'm going with any of the concepts you redid, mainly because you asked me when a good time for you to call me was, I responded to that email and you never called.
Again, thank you thus far, but call me to talk more about this in detail.
40 minutes later Flaky emailed again:
Here are some other ideas: I'm not quite sure why I have to do the research to find certain logos that might be used by example to create my logo. Isn't that your job/doing background stuff/looking at other logos/other cleaning companies to get a general idea?
--Flaky provided an image example--
(I like the overall logo on the bottom left hand corner and the other images next to it) -- I like this idea/concept more than the others. Perhps, you could combine them into one somehow. I don't know, I'm not a designer. You can start the "1st revisions now" and don't need to call me if this is faster for you. Now that I've thrown some ideas out there, let me see what you can do and we'll go from there.
--Flaky provided a second image example--
--Flaky provided a third image example--
(really cool image, with landscape/flowers and stuff in background, could put a tree surrounded by grass, etc, etc). I'm not saying DO THAT, just throwing ideas around...
I called Flaky and spoke to him over the phone. It seemed he did not have a clear idea of what he wanted so I emailed him a little while later this:
Thank you for the conversation. We need to go over a couple of things.
Your previous email did not ask me to call you. It said "You can call me anytime today -- feel free." I did talk to you via email before the first round of revisions began.
Judging from our phone conversation, it seemed that you are not too certain of what your logo should look like, which is fine. Your package only includes 3 concepts. We do offer packages with 5 and 8 concepts along with many rounds of revisions. After discussing with other designers, we have come to the conclusion that it would be beneficial for both of us to refund your money. Your refund will take place within the next 24 hours.
Thank you and we wish you much success in the future.
After I refunded his money Flaky sent this email:
Okay, thank you for making several attempts, but I guess I need to figure out exactly what I want before consulting any design company in the near future. More or less, I think I jumped the gun to get this completed ASAP without properly brainstorming some possible ideas.
Again, thank you for the work you put into it and refunding my money.
My Thoughts on FlakyThis customer is easily in the top ten of my most stressful experiences as a designer. We did a lot of work for him only to realize that he probably was just looking for a refund all along. What makes this all the more frustrating is that he paid an extremely low price for his package. It was at the bottom end of the spectrum of all logo design packages on the web at the time. This kind of customer makes running a cheap logo design business while keeping customer satisfaction at 100% almost impossible. When you offer design services for such low prices you want to try an avoid lengthy phone conversations. Especially with your cheapest customers. I was extremely upset when I called him. Flaky seemed like a pleasant fellow and I listened to what he had to say. The best way to proceed over the phone is to keep it non confrontational. During the conversation i pretty much knew that we will be refunding his money but decided to let him know this in an email instead. This project took place a while ago and when I recently checked where his web site was suppose to be nothing related to his business was there.
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