In the land of all things “creative and design” resides a village of fools, leads, and prospects. There also resides clients who make you want to step down from the throne faster than Cersei Lannister when she saw The Red Keep on fire. Who are these undesirable creatures taking up valuable space in our kingdom of potential perfection where the “Jack of all trades master of none” reign supreme? Here is a handy list identifying the various types of ruthless rulers and court jesters you may run into in the kingdom of creation. There may be a few you have your knife in for that was the cause of some of your darkest hours:

The Crunch-Time King
This king normally has a general lack of awareness of the space-time continuum. He tends to believe that simply putting his ideas into words would mean that the work has already been done. The “When can I see the design,” “surely this will only take 5 minutes” comments can grind any creatives good intentions to a halt and want to commit treason right there and then.  The mere belief that they can do what you do in a much shorter time frame that is possible earns them the number one spot on this list.

The Kings Hand
Working so closely with the Crunch-Time King we cannot blame the hand for being a pain in the butt when it comes to weekends and after-hours working. As he is normally the gatekeeper to the king and the bearer of bad news when the King “forgot” about his deadlines. Sending emails at 3 am, scheduling business meetings for after hours, wondering why you can’t complete the project on midsummers eve. This is a hand that you for sure do not want to “high-five”.

The Drama Queen
Much like her husband in a way, she would make random demands at the oddest times. And if you cannot deliver immediately, then the heavens will open, and it will pour “stressed out,” “I’m getting anxious,” “it’s very urgent” and “this is really an emergency” messages, calls and emails until you just give in and move your other clients work to the side to get this drama queen of your back. She tends to have a firm belief that she is the only client that you could possibly have and therefore is deserving of 100% of your time and efforts. Get the guillotine for this one!

The Pouting Princess
The “go ahead and do your thing, I don’t really know what I want” princess would seem like the perfect client, as she gives you free rein to be as creative as you want. But then, dum, dum, da! she will suddenly have a change of heart: “I hate that color” or “This is not what I had in mind” once the work has been done.  How convenient the timing for this princess to then only mention her preferences.

The Knowing Knight
This knight comes to the table with an extremely specific brief, with little to no room for your ideas. It will not matter that you are the one with the skills or that you have been working in the industry for as long as the winter was coming. Your opinions and guidance will not matter. Mr. know-it-all has it all planned out, so much so, that you begin to wonder why he hired you at all.

The Jumping Jack
This client normally insists on getting a bit more out of you and your team each time you talk, with frequent requests to expand the scope of the project. Usually and conveniently after the invoice/deposit has been paid, and the project is already in production. This type of client will normally “jump” you with “I assumed this was included,” “I thought you knew,” “I changed my mind” emails which makes me want to drown myself in a barrel of wine.

The Jokey Jester
The client will have a completely hands-off approach to the project. Not giving anything to be desired even when pressed for weeks for just a simple telephone number. Trusting you to do all the work, creating content for their websites and even writing their “about us” for them even if you have NO IDEA what their business is about. The “can you send my business card?” and “where is my letterhead?” questions, when you lack key information, makes me think “is this some kind of joke?” 

The Pestering Page
“We don’t have a deadline … (2 days later) … Oh wait, yes we do, it’s tomorrow.”
The page tends to disappear for weeks at a time, then suddenly reappearing out of the blue, bombarding you with urgent requests to be done immediately as a matter of life and death. Suddenly remembering that there, in fact, was a deadline that he missed. For them, I feel sorry, as they will truly not be missed.

The Round Table
You will usually come across these knights at larger companies, where everyone’s designation is “boss man” but nobody actually wants to make decisions, so it takes you 2 weeks longer to complete a simple task because they do everything by committee, even minor decisions on fonts, colors or irrelevant aspects of projects needs to first be discussed and approved by everyone. These types usually spend hours in a meeting that could have been an email.

The Grand Maester
Nevertheless not all is lost in the kingdom of creation. Most of the time on your travels you will come across a villager who will provide you with the right council, giving you ample content in an informative brief which can only result in greatness.  He has an understanding and level of respect for your craft and to him, I say “long may he live!”

So it seems to be tough to please everyone in this kingdom, but if you know the types of personalities that enter through your gates, you will be better prepared from the start to handle them accordingly ensuring that no one’s head ends up on a spike.

Do you recognize any of these? Got any good ones to share?