Here is some advice I was once given by a mentor I worked with a few years ago.

The advice has to do with dealing with trouble clients. Some clients can be pretty demanding sometimes. They might have unreasonable expectations, or maybe suffer from entrepreneurial disease and feel the need to control everything. Sometimes clients just can’t settle on anything. Whatever the reason, asking problem clients to choose from two of three possible design scenarios can be of help. Clients can chose from fast design, cheap design, and good design. You can have two of them, but not all three. Any designer that tries for all three will either burn out real quick, or go out of business.

My quick little “infographic” explains all the ins and outs for each of the different outcomes. Notice that while all three options come close to overlapping, they don’t really. Expect a lot of clients to settle on the fast and cheap, but crappy side of things. At least at first.

Just a note to any design buyers (ie clients) out there who might be reading this. Designers and agencies that sell good, fast, and cheap design are either lying to land you as a client, or will ultimately give you crap design. Those kind of agencies lure you in as most people’s expectations is it is pretty easy for designers to deliver good design very quickly for little money. This is seldom the case. Buyer beware as they say.

And any designers out there thinking they can get away with good, fast and cheap design, think again. You’ll either burn yourself out, or undercut yourself so badly, that you will be looking for a regular office job in no time.

As a designer your mileage will vary. You might not always be able to negotiate terms with your clients. Or even meet them face to face, Especially if you work for a large company or are the in house designer for a non-creative company. With being an in house designer, you don’t really have the option of using money as a deterrent to help you out with negotiations. But when you can, this can help you out should you get into a bind. Just try to remember to be nice about it. It can be tempting to go in half-cocked and treat your problem clients like the enemy, but they quickly become former clients if you lean on them too hard or give them reason to think you do not respect them.