Ideally when working on freelance projects, I work very close with my client as to discover a common ground to reach our creative objective. This close working relationship allows for both the client and the designer to voice their opinions on an equal footing. A mutual working environment allows for both parties to field their best strength: The designer is the creative portion who will help mold the perspective of the client, whose vision is the template for a designer to follow. It is that creative talent that is our strength. I mean, come on, at the end of the day that’s what you’re paying for. When the job finally reaches completion, the client walks away with a better product, and the designer departs with a sense of pride in yet another completed project.
In recent weeks I came into a job expecting this kind of joint effort, but instead found an enemy.
The business partner I was chosen to work with was something I’ve never experienced. The individual in question can only be described as “shock and awe”. He was the kind of guy who would kick down a door and shove a concept down your throat. He was aggressive, confident, and seemingly design savvy. His dynamic entrance was enough to quiet the doubters and keep them under his influence without protest.
He was a natural born leader of men...
...but I couldn’t take the bait.
For the next month I was tasked to working alongside a man who was not only unprepared to do this project, but treated me in a manner that was insulting, hurtful, lewd, and degrading.Throughout the entirety of the project I was never given a project brief, marketing plan, or even a schedule of deadlines. During our meetings there was an absolute absence of feedback, and was pretty much a platform for him to call me names ( i kid you not). At one point he even made an attack upon my reputation as a designer to some of my past employers.
In the matter of a few days I found myself dealing with acid reflux due to the stress caused from dealing with him. As a slight backstory, I haven’t had to deal with this disorder in over eight years. With these mounting pressures on me I began to seek advice from friends in the field. The result was me firing my client.
I never want to lose a client in this manner. I felt that over the past six years doing freelance I could handle any kind of client thrown at me. After this last month I now know there is a limit to who I can work with. Respect is a powerful tool when working with others. With its absence a working relationship ceases to exist.
I apologize to the other owner of the company, whose feedback allowed me to attain a foothold into this project. Her attention to the project was admirable and her ability to process information and make rational decisions gave me faith that this project could have worked. I was very scared to burn a bride, but with my personal health at risk I decided to stop.
Oh, and if you were wondering what direction this project was heading, this is was something I was working on. The business partner that I did enjoy working with wanted me to aim for a modernized rendition of the French Renaissance style made popular during the late 1800's. This was the style of the building that the restaurant is going into.