ASK DN: How to stop your client ruining your design ?

7 years ago from , Designer at Maestrooo

That's the second time one of my clients is literally ruining the design I made.

I purpose them front-end development too, they didn't want. They have front-end developers in-house (which is a good thing) but they are really bad coders who don't even know hot to nicely slice a psd...

Any advices to share guys and gals ?


  • Marvin KennisMarvin Kennis, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

    If it's the second time, it might be a good idea to find a different kind of clients; the kind of clients that appreciate good design and have the resources (either money or developers) to implement it well. You can probably weed the bad clients out by charging a higher rate.

    3 points
    • Axel Bouaziz, 7 years ago (edited 7 years ago )

      Hey Marvin,

      Clients who contact us like good design and have (a lot of) resources. The last we worked with has 30+ developers in-house but they don't have the same vision of quality for front-end developement than back-end.

      Our rates are already, relatively high : we charge between 500 € - 1500 € per day of work, depending on expertise needed ;)

      0 points
  • Anthony DinesAnthony Dines, 7 years ago

    Do you give their in-house dev team strict and lengthy specs and style guides to follow? Even when working with amazing in-house developers, I always see significant discrepancies from what was sent to what was launched. It's just how things always tend to go when you aren't in direct contact. The more guidelines you can give them to follow, as well as the less work they can do on things to screw it up, I've always found helps the most.

    Though the real solution is to slowly get to the point where you have the choice not to take on clients that don't fit how you prefer to work, but that's a much different and longer discussion.

    2 points
    • Axel Bouaziz, 7 years ago

      Hey Anthony,

      Thank you for your reply. For each project we deliver, we attach it a guide with dimensions, colors, radius... etc for all elements, one by one. So yes, we are very meticulous ! We even sometimes provide cutted assets separately when we know some developers don't know how to cut & slice properly ;)

      0 points
  • Jonny BeltonJonny Belton, 7 years ago

    own your profession, justify every single decision you've made.

    1 point
  • Tor Løvskogen BollingmoTor Løvskogen Bollingmo, 7 years ago

    Don't stop working with them.

    1 point
  • Joakim WimmerstedtJoakim Wimmerstedt, 7 years ago

    Just be truthfull and tell them that the alterations they've made in the design is sub par to the rest of the work. They're basically throwing away money by hiring you and not listening to your advice.

    Just remember that they always have the final say, and you need to listen to their needs as well. In most likelihood they're trying to adapt your design to their vision, and you need to help them do that and explain why certain ideas aren't fitting.

    1 point
    • Axel Bouaziz, 7 years ago

      Hi Joakim,

      We already told them and even give them advices on how to integrate, slice, prepare assets, develop... The main problem is they hire back-end developers, they learn on the job and not step by step, they're too quickly faced to production reality.

      Even if we explain them clearly how to make... they need more practice and this can't be done within 1 day ;)

      0 points
  • John LockeJohn Locke, 7 years ago

    The things that you should not do under any circumstances is come to Twitter, Designer News, or any other site and passive-aggressively bash your clients. If one of their front-end developers is on this site, you just made yourself look unprofessional.

    Your stuff on Dribbble is very clean, modern UI design. But preparing the design is only a small part of the job. Communicating with the client and selling the design is the majority of the job.

    If this is the second time that your designs have been ruined by clients, there are two scenarios that are possible. The first possibility is that you need to screen your clients better and make sure that you are a good fit for them, and they are a good fit for you. Asking many questions is not a bad thing; the more you know about the job you are agreeing to, the better off all parties will be. It is important to research the client, find out about them, who you are going to be communicating with, who you will be working with on their side of the relationship. Once you agree to take the job, you are duty-bound to make the project work.

    The second possibility is that there is a lack of communication going on between you and your client. If the PSDs are not being sliced correctly, communicate that to your client, not a message board! If they have 30+ back-end developers, but no front-end developers (which just sounds strange), then offer to do the slices in Photoshop for them and show them the difference in quality.

    You have taken their money and agreed to work with them, you need to do what is in your power to make the project work, for the sake of the project and the work, not just for the money or an argument about what is good design.

    In the future, learn to speak up to your client, and call them on the phone before things get to this point. Be careful where you disparage your clients, because things do get back to people.

    0 points
    • Axel Bouaziz, 7 years ago

      Thank you for your kind comment John ;)

      When there's a problem, I directly talk about it with the client and what I'm talking here is not new for him / her. This is not "bashing", you could be sure about it. Themselves, they know some internal guys / gals are not doing their work properly and can't do nothing -> welcome to France !

      Working with big companies isn't like working with startups. You interact for example with the Chief of Product who is your direct client. Once work is done, you'll not heard about it until the final release, 3-6 months later if you're lucky. The CTO takes design deliverables, gives them to one of developers and tell him / her "ok, Mr xxx, now you just have to code it until xx / xx / xx".

      They don't discuss, they don't analyze, and even internal people are tired about it. But that's the problem when you become to be a "big company", people take more time to manage teams that making deliver properly...

      0 points
  • Cihad TurhanCihad Turhan, 7 years ago

    Let's make it brief. If you want a thing done well, do it yourself. Then just compare yours with theirs and show them how to do.

    Don't forget, you don't have to say something. You have to do something.

    0 points
    • Axel Bouaziz, 7 years ago

      We purpose front-end development to our clients but big companies already pay some devs which are inhouse and they don't want to spend some more money "outside"...

      0 points