The other day I got an email from someone looking for a designer to create a Save the Date Card. I responded to the email and provided some information and said I was willing to do the job. Here is how the email conversation went. (note: I did not edit this content in any way)

Candis : Ok. If you are looking for just a standard size custom Save the Date card my pricing would be $125.00. That would include two initial designs to choose from and 2 rounds of edits (which means if you wanted to tweak the design at all). Anything additional after 2 rounds would be based on a rate of $45/hour. 

Client :  Here’s the job. I need it like yesterday because the designer I use couldn’t hit the right look at all. This is for the grand opening of an adult day health center in a totally African American community. We need to do a save the date card and then an invite. I think it should be very upbeat and happy looking.

This sounds fair, but here’s the thing: what if you do two designs and I really don’t like them at all

Candis: Then I would feel bad and do a third one for no additional cost.

(I asked a few questions about color and fonts and she responded but I don’t want to make this post super long)

Sent over 3 Concepts instead of 2 cause I always try to provide more than what I initially said I would

Client: Hi Candis, Sorry but they’re not bad. But not really great. Number two is at least more feel-good. I forgot to tell you I hate maroon .Number one is ok but also not great. also, you misspelled Hernandez.  I’m not sure about having nothing on one side. I like the clean lines of it. I’m sending the logo. Please give it another go round. Today?

CandisCan you send me some examples of what you like. Since I don’t know you and this is our first time working together it is hard to guess what you’re looking for. I would be able to giveyou another concept by end of day.

Client: I’m looking for a more modern updated cooler look. Just give it another go round please.

I sent over 3 more concepts – making that a total of 6 concepts

Client: Ohgosh! I am so sorry candis. This is just not working. What shall we do? I don’t want to make you crazy.

Candis:  I tried to give a range of options between elegant, and fun using different colors and design elements. Without knowing any background on your client and the normal style of your agency it’s hard to produce something to fit a specific style. There wasn’t much direction to base my initial concepts on and without any specific feedback it would be hard to move forward.  

If you would like to provide feedback and or direction on what you are looking for I would be happy to continue working on this for you. 

If you think a phone conversation would be beneficial I’m more than happy to talk with you at anytime. If not I will send you an invoice for the time spent on concepting.

Client: No response


I included my designs below. Honestly if you think they are as crappy as the client thought please say so but keep in mind the feedback and direction I was given and that these are concepts.

So apparently because she doesn’t like the designs she feels that her agency is not required to pay for the work that was done. This is what I’m assuming since I have not heard anything from her.  Of course I disagree with the thought of not paying for concepting work. There are many reasons why I don’t do concepting for free but I won’t get into that now.

Anyone who knows me knows that I take every creative project I get seriously. I work a full time job as a graphic designer and work on many freelance projects a week, this is a huge part of my life. 

I know I am partially at fault here because I should have asked for some sort of payment before I started concepting. The turnaround time was tight on this project so I was trying to be nice and move forward as quickly as possible.

Sometimes I think I’m to nice and people just take advantage. My rates are not high and I always try to produce the best work I can. Dealing with stuff like this just sucks. I need to be more cautious and value my time. Projects and people like this are not worth it.


She responded today with this:

“hI Candis,

the bill you sent was for the full amount we had agreed upon. I think it’s only fair that you get paid half the amount since it never came to fruition.

I will send you a check for that amount.

Thank you”

Nope I don’t think that’s fair but whatever. Now I understand why her other designer “couldn’t hit the mark”.