The full story – why I fired my designer

If you’ve read the My Story page, you will notice I said I would be sharing everything with you, including when things go a little sideways.  When I wrote that, I think part of me thought there wouldn’t be too many of them and that that they wouldn’t be that big a deal.  But I have discovered any issue can feel like a big deal when you are in the middle of it.

Things have not gone to plan and I have made the decision to fire my designer.

In some ways, it was an easy decision.  And in other ways, it was really tough.  This wasn’t what I had envisioned when I started out.  I imagined developing a fantastic relationship with my designer.  A friendship with a kindred spirit.  A fellow artistic soul.  While our emails were lovely and the first set of designs had gone well, something happened on the second set.

I got the first draft and to be honest, they were absolute rubbish.  Too simple.  Too generic.  And nothing like what I had envisioned.  Or what I thought I had asked for.  So what did I do?  What most of us girls do – I blamed myself.  I hadn’t been clear enough.  I hadn’t explained myself properly.  We had just missed the mark a little.  Something inside me told me things weren’t quite right, but I pushed on.

I spent a few hours writing a manifesto of the entire range and sent detailed photos and explanations of what I wanted.  I was sure I had articulated everything perfectly this time.  I suggested we email back and forth to make sure we were on the same page before she did anymore design work.  I was paying her for the project on an hourly basis, so I didn’t want her spending hours designing something that was off track again.  My designer promised to respond to me “at the end of the week”.  I thought that meant one week.  At the end of the second week I emailed to follow up on the progress.  She was working on more designs and would have the draft to me by next Tuesday/Wednesday.  A couple of days before, I sent some more information that meant it took until Sunday to get the next draft.  That meant from my manifesto email to the proofs had taken 3 weeks.

While I was waiting, I began to realize just how long things were taking.  I began to stew on this a little bit.  When we decided to go ahead, I had to wait 2 weeks to be scheduled on to their job board.  I waited 2 weeks after that for the first draft.  Then a week of emailing back and forth.  And now another 3 weeks for the second draft.  At this rate, it was going to take a year and a half to create what I wanted.  Despite being the Queen of Impatience, I thought I was being more than fair.  As I waited for the second draft, I thought to myself “these designs better be amazing or that’s it”.

And guess what?  They weren’t good.  In fact, they were terrible.  My heart sank.  But that 3 week wait had given me time to think.  I knew what had to happen next.  I had to break up with my designer.  I sent a short, polite email.  I received a nice email back.  But reading between the lines, they didn’t seem disappointed I had decided to stop working with them.  And that was the end of the relationship with my designer.  Just like that.

I got the account for the work done to date.  This upset me a little.  I was paying a lot of money for what I considered a half hearted effort.  And it was made abundantly clear that despite “waiting for my turn”, my job wasn’t treated as a priority.  I was only billed for 5 hours for that 3 week wait.  To spend a large amount of my budget and walk away with nothing – that hurt.  Not just the budget.  My pride.  My ego.  My expectations.

I paid the account quickly.  I wanted to clear the bad experience away.  To put it behind me.  I didn’t want this feeling to hang around any longer than it needed to.  I was upset and frustrated enough without dragging it out.  Without it hanging over my head.  And my heart.  I think I had prepared myself by deciding if the designs weren’t what I wanted, I would be ending the relationship.  I think I had partially made peace with the decision by the time I had to make it.

So after somehow letting the last 3 months get away from me, I am back to finding a designer.  I will keep you updated on where I go from here.

♥ Coral

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7 Responses to The full story – why I fired my designer

  1. Pingback: What happened after the wheels fell off with my designer |

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  4. lucinda says:

    Sorry to hear about your experience. I just consulted with someone about designing my website and the $600 price tag is hard to swallow. Not because I don’t wan to invest in a quality website, but what if I don’t get what I want? BTW….love your blog as it is. I think I may do a basic one until my following(and bank account) is large enough for what I want.

    • Coral says:

      Many of the blogging experts say don’t wait until you have the ‘perfect’ website. It’s more important to start. You can get design work done as you grow. I started with a simple header. Then I updated to a personal logo still using the same template. I am starting to get the itch to re-design but I’m not there yet. It will grow and change as you go along. My only suggestion is to do lots of research before you choose a designer and go with someone that has a portfolio of work that you really really like. That has a similar style to what you are looking for. Best of luck.

  5. Stir Fry says:

    Hi Coral:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Our business has also had terrible experiences with ad agencies and graphic designers.

    Seems there is some snobbery in the ad agency world that only wants the big, monthly paying clients. One wanted us to fork over a $5K deposit just to drive down to discuss our needs which could have been accomplished by phone or other means. Like extortionists, they unabashedly questioned how much our company was willing to spend up front and monthly.

    The two graphic designers we’ve tried to work with have disregarded our requests and acted independently on our behalf without authorization then delivered what they think we should have. They have imposed unwarranted delays by failing to respond then give a snappy response along with a poor product that was clearly rushed. Failing to deliver a duplicate of a design we submitted, they they want to charge us additional hourly fees for mistakes they made. Outrageous!

    We’re done with “creative folks” with inflated egos that attitude of whom is brilliantly expressed in this article. We’re continuing to develop our graphics in-house as before which anyone with a computer an an ounce of creativity can do.

    • Coral says:

      Even though I got recommendations from people, was very organised and up front about what I wanted, the designers I worked with seemed to lose interest and didn’t deliver what the portfolios on their websites promised.

      I’m now looking into doing basic work myself too. Finding the right person is a much harder job than I ever expected it to be and it hurts when your project is disrespected after the excitement you have when you start.

      I hope you are now happier with how it’s all going for you. Best of luck on your adventure.

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