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  • Clients want my design on MS word?

    I am a second year student and I just got my first client I was requested to do a logo, letterhead and corporate profile for 100$.

    I accepted I need the experience and the extra cash is nice I'm not too picky on pricing because I literally just want experience.

    Fast forward to now I completed everything. Sent them the editable pdf's for the letterhead and corporate profile. They called me in for a meeting talking to me as if I was some sort of idiot giving them a pdf's, and I should have designed everything in MS word not Indesign or Illustrator. Since I am the student with no experience I have no right to complain or tell them otherwise.

    I have tried putting the letterhead onto word by saving the design as a png then using text boxes in word but it just looks so damn horrible I don't even know what to tell them because they act as if they know more, when they are the business living in the past still using word documents instead of pdf's. What do I do?

  • #2
    I'm a second year graphic design student and I just got my first client I was asked to make a letterhead, corporate profile and to redesign their logo because the previous graphic designer did not give them the working files for their logo.

    Fast forward to now I have completed everything asked, but these clients want everything to be editable. In which I told them the pdf is editable I made sure of that. However they do not own adobe acrobat pro, therefore they cannot edit the pdf's in the future.

    Now they are asking me why I did not design everything in word as if word is the industry standard and I'm an idiot for using Illustrator/Indesign. This is driving me crazy because I'm the student with no experience so I don't have the right to tell them that they are wrong. Also if I piss them off it will give me a bad reputation. So what do I do in this situation?

    I have tried putting the letterhead in word it was very frustrating and it ruins the whole design, for some reason it doesnt scale the page correctly and the letter spacing is horrible I cant even.... and having all the available font variations. Yet I'm being treated like an idiot.

    Comment


    • #3
      Quick question; did you market yourself to this client as a professional?

      If you did then you are on your own. Your client expected to be working with a professional and now that you are running into challenges you are pulling the "I'm just a student" card.

      If your client knows your level of experience and was fine with paying you for that, then this is on them. Pull the student card all day long in that case and tell them they get what they pay for.

      Anyway, sounds like you are having trouble convincing them why MS Word would be a bad idea for their logo. Why do you think it's a bad idea outside of not being industry standard? What challenges would your client face by having their logo in MS word? Determine the reasoning behind this and convey that to your client.

      It also seems like you may be taking this a bit too personally by assuming your client thinks you're an idiot. Don't get upset and try to stay level headed. If your client sees you getting emotionally frustrated, they will lack respect for your decisions and opinions.

      Comment


      • #4
        What your client wants is a letterhead template they can just type their stuff in and print and their pretty header and footer stays put.
        Make a letter sized template with a header (and footer if used.) Drop the logo into place, set any other information in word and done.

        Not sure what the corporate profile is, but that is a little more difficult. Again in Word set up areas to accept the logo, and any corporate info as needed.
        Be sure to use fonts they have on hand. That may limit your design, but oh well. You will also have no control over what they might do to elements you design into the initial piece after they've had it in their hands for a while. Consider your graphic design to be a commodity, not your first born. Once you give it to the client, move on.

        The profession of design means solving problems for your client. That means asking questions and providing solutions. Not excuses.

        For the profession of design, Illustrator and Indesign may be the tools of the trade for direct output, but if the client needs something else (and Word is very common in the business world) it behooves you to find a way to make it work. The client in this case is not wrong. It was your inexperience that maybe didn't foresee what it was they were going to be doing with these files in the future. Questions questions questions. The only bad question is the unasked one. If someone asks for a design that can be edited, and there are legitimate reasons a client may need editable designs, one of the first questions would be to ask what they plan on editing it with.

        Just an FYI, we do most of our variable data marketing collateral in Word so the salesmen can customize it toward the specific client they are dealing with. Pieces designed for a specific purpose though, and going out to be professionally printed, those get done in InDesign.




        Last edited by PrintDriver; 06-09-2017, 12:42 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          It's pretty clear from your post that you're not ready for client work, let alone a corporate identity project. You're getting a hard but valuable lesson in the fact that graphic design isn't just creating stuff; it's a business...one that can often be difficult.

          You should not have even started designing anything before the client's expectations of the deliverables were known, set in writing, confirmed by them, and their fulfill-ability confirmed by you. If they have no use for a letterhead template in PDF...they knew that up-front, and so should have you. Now you're worried about how you're being treated. Maybe they do think you're an idiot; I don't know, but ostensibly, they are treating you as though your didn't do your job, or don't know how. Are they wrong?
          I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

          Comment


          • #6
            Drop the PDF into a Word document, send them that.

            Note, getting experience is not worth selling yourself out. Your training, skill, creativity and TIME are worth something. All of that goes along with experience but is valuable of itself. If they are now treating you like a moron then you know what they thought of you to begin with.

            It also says a lot that they think your skills and training are only worth $100.

            Get the job done and don't deal with them ever again. They won't ever pay you anything more because they already consider design services to be this cheap.
            Erik Youngren Pueblo Publishers, Composing Manager
            2.8Ghz Quad Core Intel Xeon Mac Pro | InDesign CS4 | Suitcase Fusion 5

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by eyoungren View Post
              Drop the PDF into a Word document...
              Hmm, I've seen this advice given several times, but I've never seen it done.

              I've been away from Macs for a few years; can it be done on a Mac?

              Windows? Nuh-uh.
              I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

              Comment


              • PrintDriver
                PrintDriver commented
                Editing a comment
                A PDF dropped into a word doc on a mac is just as uneditable as a PDF without Acrobat. And I'd have to be hard pressed to edit a PDF with Acrobat, or even Pitstop, and I know what I'm doing (most days.)

                You might possibly do it for the letterhead, if you can get Word to write over the top of something it sees as an image.

            • #8
              Originally posted by Asyrel View Post
              I don't even know what to tell them because they act as if they know more, when they are the business living in the past still using word documents instead of pdf's.
              True Millennial statement right here.

              Comment


              • HotButton
                HotButton commented
                Editing a comment
                Hah.
                If MS Office is obsolete, there are an awful lot of businesses ''living in the past;'' maybe almost all of them.

              • calebninja
                calebninja commented
                Editing a comment
                [sarcasm]Yep...really wish I went to a college or worked at a job that banned MS Office. Instead I just keep running in to businesses that have no idea what they're doing.[/sarcasm]

            • #9
              Originally posted by Asyrel View Post
              Now they are asking me why I did not design everything in word as if word is the industry standard and I'm an idiot for using Illustrator/Indesign. This is driving me crazy because I'm the student with no experience so I don't have the right to tell them that they are wrong. Also if I piss them off it will give me a bad reputation. So what do I do in this situation?
              Welcome to the wonderful world of graphic design as it really exists outside academia.

              I agree with what's been said above. Word is, of course, a horrible design tool, but if your client's plan is to modify their letterhead as needed (new names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.) and print them as needed on their in-house laser printer using their copies of MS Office, that's part of the design problem that you should have considered before the job was started. The alternative is pre-printing the letterhead at a commercial printer, then leaving blank spaces for them to add whatever wording changes they need in Word (sounds like they don't want to do this, though).

              As for some of the other things they might want to be editable, well, a logo, for example, can't be edited in Word. It can, of course, be imported and positioned in Word, but editing it, no. And things like, advertisements, brochures and whatever else they might have had you do, well, building and editing those kinds of things in Word might be possible, but doing so severely restricts the design possibilities to the extent that it compromises the functionality of item to do its job -- as in, the brochures look like they originated from a less-than-professional business.

              Working with clients can be difficult. They usually don't know much about design, yet they often have strong opinions and expectations. Part of your job is to accurately assess the situation, figure out what they really need, then diplomatically work with them to find practical solutions to their problems. The business of graphic design is only partially about graphic design -- a whole lot has to do with people skills, budgets, time, experience and business savvy. Unfortunately, design schools typically skip right over this stuff, which leaves students thinking they're prepared upon graduation. It's a shock to many, so look at it this way: you've got your first professional shock out of the way, which better prepares you for moving ahead.

              I really wouldn't worry all that much about your reputation at this point. It's not as though there's a big gossip network where business owners get together and whine about their contractors (well, maybe there is to some extent, but I wouldn't worry about it). They'll move on and so will you. I sure hope, however, they were fully aware of your student status and your lack of practical experience before hiring you. In the professional world of design, these are the kinds of mistakes that cost people money and, sometimes, end up in court.

              We've all been students at one point, so it's not like we don't have empathy for your situation. But you've learned a whole lot more with this that you probably did in a whole semester's worth of college classes. Just try to accommodate what they want and move on -- even if it means picking apart your great design and boiling it down to something they can mess with in Word.

              Comment


              • #10
                Originally posted by HotButton View Post

                Hmm, I've seen this advice given several times, but I've never seen it done.

                I've been away from Macs for a few years; can it be done on a Mac?

                Windows? Nuh-uh.
                I did it to make sure it worked before I posted. Intel Mac running Yosemite using Office 2011. Drag and dropped one of our proof PDFs right in to a new Word document. Had to change the view layout to see it but it's there.
                Erik Youngren Pueblo Publishers, Composing Manager
                2.8Ghz Quad Core Intel Xeon Mac Pro | InDesign CS4 | Suitcase Fusion 5

                Comment


                • PrintDriver
                  PrintDriver commented
                  Editing a comment
                  It's there, but can you edit it?

                • HotButton
                  HotButton commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Ah...I never even consider drag-&-drop...in any sense. I'm tempted to think maybe I should, but nah...it has no place in my workflow. I guess I can't just let myself say ''it's there...there it is.'' I always think about the how, the why, and the now-what? Drag-&-drop just leaves those questions open.

              • #11
                Originally posted by Asyrel View Post
                I have tried putting the letterhead onto word by saving the design as a png then using text boxes in word but it just looks so damn horrible I don't even know what to tell them because they act as if they know more, when they are the business living in the past still using word documents instead of pdf's. What do I do?
                You have to get the letterhead design into the header on to a Word page and save it as a template. How else would they be able to use it? Office people are not equipped like graphics professionals.

                PNG may or may not be the best route, depending on the design content and the computing platform. You say you tried it and it looks horrible. Why? What's going wrong?
                I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

                Comment


                • #12
                  NOTE: I've merged these two topics since both were from the same person and dealt with the same subject. If things appear a bit out of order, it's because of the merge.

                  Asyrel, welcome to the forum! New forum members need to have their posts approved by a moderator before they show up. There's no need to start multiple topics about the same thing. A moderator, like me, will approve your posts soon enough.

                  Here are links to the forum rules and some useful information that we try to give to all new forum members.
                  Last edited by B; 06-09-2017, 03:33 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    Originally posted by Asyrel View Post
                    ...they are the business living in the past still using word documents instead of pdf's. What do I do?
                    Um, I don't like Word either, but it's mostly because people tend to think of it as a layout tool instead of just a word processor.

                    Acrobat certainly isn't a substitute for a word processor, and a PDF isn't a substitute for a good, editable word processing document. MS Office is still a mainstay of business office work, and assuming people who use it are behind the times is a faulty assumption. Personally, I wish it would go away, but I see little indication of that happening anytime soon.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Just an FYI, we do most of our variable data marketing collateral in Word so the salesmen can customize it toward the specific client they are dealing with.
                      I forgot to mention that our salesmen are intelligent enough to know better than to touch the header or footer on their templates. They have a certain amount of pride in the company brand standard. Plus I think they believe the marketing manager when he said he'd break their little fingers if they did touch it...

                      Someone mentioned printing off letterhead so the client can run it through their laser printer. If you go that route, be aware that it is a really bad idea to have that letterhead printed on a wax toner digital press, then sell it to the client who might put it through a powder toner machine. They will sue you for the repairs when that wax toner ruins their fuser. Or vice versa, powder toner in a wax machine.
                      Offset, the way to go. More expensive and a larger run but far fewer chances of headaches later.

                      PDF is not the be-all, end-all. I'm betting you would think my industry niche is backwards for not wanting to accept PDF files for print.
                      I'll take PDFs all day long. That means I just get to push the button and you like what comes out the other end of the machine. If you want it to look really good though, with all your Pantone colors matched, and your images properly profiled for the specific machine and media you have selected, you send the native file like it says in the submission specs.

                      [I do wide format and print on everything from 16' wide backlit vinyl and fabrics to wooden doors and ceiling panels. Your Adobewares do not have the profiles to do that by sending a PDF. ]

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
                        It's there, but can you edit it?
                        Doubt it. But editing it wasn't my point. They wanted their stuff in a Word document and this is a way to deliver it.

                        If they want more than that they should have communicated what they wanted to begin with. I'd charge them extra for that because of their lack of communication.

                        I know that's pretty much against what seems to be the standard here as far as customer service but I don't deal directly with the customer so I see things from a different perspective.
                        Erik Youngren Pueblo Publishers, Composing Manager
                        2.8Ghz Quad Core Intel Xeon Mac Pro | InDesign CS4 | Suitcase Fusion 5

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