It depends. It’s easy money, but it’s also incredibly frustrating knowing that the client is paying extra to have the job turn out worse than it might have.
I do my best to head off these things by having solid strategies and practical, results-based reasoning behind my design decisions. Clients hire designers to provide expertise they don’t possess themselves. It’s part of our job to make sure our work meets the clients’ bottom-line objectives, which I make sure to discuss with them at the very beginning.
For example, a client might come to me asking for a brochure with this and that on it and looks a certain way. One of the first questions I’ll ask is why they think they need a brochure and what they want that brochure to accomplish for them. Asking these kinds of questions to get at the real reason they think they need what they asked for can be very enlightening and completely change the nature of the problem.
When prodded, the client might say she needs it for a trade show where she has a booth, and she wants something for passers-by to notice and pick up. Well, now I know the real purpose the brochure is meant to serve, which enables me to develop a strategy and a design that considers the dynamics of the trade show and what might prompt someone to pick up something and take it with them. The solution, might not be a brochure at all and might or might be best achieved in a way the client had not considered.
What I’m really saying is that once I’ve developed a well-thought-through and targeted custom solution that accomplishes the clients’ real objectives, the more ammunition l have when countering the client’s subsequent counterproductive suggestions. In other words, “Yes, I can change the background from orange to blue, but blue won’t be as noticeable to someone passing by your booth, which will decrease the number of people picking it up. I don’t recommend doing that. Are you sure you want to do it.”
Then again, even after all this, there are some clients who feel they know more than we do about design and no amount of strategic reasoning will dissuade them from the belief that we’re just hired hands to implement their bad ideas. I try to avoid those kinds of clients, but they’re not always obvious. When it happens, I just roll my eyes, charge them for the extra work that’s resulted in an inferior, less-effective product. I also have a good laugh about their costly bad judgment as I drive to the bank to cash their checks.