Clients can be rough.
Yes, I said it: “Clients can be rough.” Of course they can. They’re human. We all can be rough. I know I certainly can be. But, when it all comes down to it, clients are your income. So what happens when “the client is always right” meets “the client is driving me crazy”?
You have to meet in the middle.
Talk to your clients. Listen to your clients. They know what they want, they just may not be able to explain it to you. Part of this job as a “designer” is to be able to figure out what the client wants, and then explain it right back to them without using trade jargon or “design speak”. And be honest! Are they really asking for the moon? Then explain why the moon might not be a realistic goal, and follow that bummer of a conversation right away with some other options that help your client move in the direction of the moon, while taking realistic steps along the way.
And above all, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know the answer” as long as you follow that statement with this one: “…but I’ll find out for you.”
It’s only through communication that you’ll realize that your “rough client” might actually be a great client.
Oh – and while you’re at it, pick up “Design is a Job” by Mike Montiero. And if you’re the one that borrowed my copy, I’d like it back, please.