Clients from HELL: Product’s Packaging Design

I’ve been a fan of this website called “Clients from Hell“. Basically, it features a collection of anonymously contributed client horror stories from designers and I can really relate to them. I experienced some of their funny stories.

I recently have another packaging design project and it all went to air. I’d like to make my story short and sweet. So, my client asked for a quotation if how much will it cost to do 3 packaging design, different sizes and different products to present.

Let’s say for example, you’re selling a “Mango Pie”. Your packaging design, of course, will show a mango element, and a final product of how does your “Mango Pie” looks like. So I think the main key is a “Mango”.

Basic design steps:
1. Know what is the branding colour, if they have CI guide, much better.
2. Typography
3. Design creative graphic elements for visuals
4. Blend it with “Mango” and a “Mango Pie” picture
5. Fantastic and eye-catching copy-writing

Again, you’re selling “Mango Pie” and by nature: We, as a consumers, are very visual. What we see is what we always wanted especially when you’re buying something. So you’re expecting that – that product in the picture may not be exactly the same as the actual, but at least, it’s quite accurate.

The thing is, my client doesn’t have any original pictures of their product. So, how are you going to find resources? We buy stock images.

Stock photography is the supply of photographs, which are often licensed for specific uses. It is used to fulfill the needs of creative assignments instead of hiring a photographer, often for a lower cost. Today, stock images can be presented in searchable online databases. They can be purchased and delivered online.”

Dietary supplement - Stock Image by iStock Photos
Dietary supplement – Stock Image by iStock Photos

Based on my knowledge and experience, a product design especially if it consist with human elements and other realistic photos, you’re required to:

  1. Must have your original photographs of your product. In that sense, you hire photographers to take photos of your model or the product you’re selling.
  2. If (1) is not available, then you will purchase a stock photos that will represent your product. Remember that you’re selling a “Mango Pie”, so you’re not going to pick an “Orange”.

So on my quotation, I listed that each design can have at least 2-3 stock photos.
A little secret on how I quote my project is based on: (a) Creative concept (b) Time and Effort required (c) Quality of work (d) Product requirements (e) Additional charges if any.

And before I perform my work, it was all clear and explained on my quotation and she agreed on it.

After few days of revisions and minor changes, we discussed that the design is finalized, and before sending the source/working files, I need to get paid and submitted the total charges.

My client was so surprised with the total charges although my friendly price gives enough reasoning and justice, but in the end, she still ask for CHEAP PRICE. I’m like.. What???! I feel insulted, and she feel cheated?

So funny to hear her saying “I feel cheated” when I can really throw her all the conversations from chat and emails attached with quotations. I don’t understand what more they want to lower down the price, if I do, it’s like a slap on my face that I am working already for free.

Maybe, we need to be brave enough to say that our profession and skills doesn’t deserve to be treated like nothing. Yes, we are “FREELANCERS”, but it doesn’t mean, we work for FREE. What matters is that, you’re truthful to your job and you do what you can do to meet client’s requirements without regrets on your service because “some clients” are abusive and they will use a lot of excuses to bring you down. So~ be careful.

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