The Good Graphic Design Stories

Thought I would start this off. Often see the negative of design and "clients from hell’

But recently picked up a new client working with him for about a year with opening of a new store and location.

The guy is great. He throws me text and image ideas. I tell him how much, including print installation etc.

He has the money deposited in 24 hours. No matter what the cost.

He is fantastic. All proofs passed on round one.
It’s a dream client.

Really makes it worthwhile when I hear from him. I literally drop what I am doing to get his done. Tonight no different, I’ll be burning the midnight oil and into the wee hours of the morning.



This place.

Being a self employed designer who doesn’t do Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, I am extremely thankful for a place to gather with peers, shoot the breeze, get help when needed, and offer help to others.


I recently wrapped up a design/marketing campaign for a local high school. They have an award-winning theatre department, and they contacted me to design all the collateral and promotional materials for their upcoming spring play.

This wasn’t a big job, but it was all kinds of fun. The head of the program was great to work with, was very responsive, liked my ideas and trusted my decisions. It was also fun knowing that the kids in the play (and their parents) would likely be excited to see their photos on big billboards and posters around town. They even sent me a couple of tickets.


I was asked to do a logo for my local church, for their newsletters and so on. I haven’t been to church since I was a kid, but this is the one I went to, so I agreed. I visited the priest, who I got on with very well. With his permission I took a picture of the reredos behind the altar, the best feature in the church. I digitised it and added a pointed oval frame, common in medieval art, and the name of the church etc.
I really enjoyed doing this and I was pleased with the result. Of course, I didn’t charge for it.
They were delighted with it and still use it today, 25 years later.


All jobs with payment received are good graphic design stories. Good, understanding and appreciative clients help a lot too.

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There’s always someone or something that has gone the extra mile, or given an extra smile.

Another one from years ago, a client who wasn’t seeing eye to eye with the owner but wanted to continue the work. He’d come in, sit down, go through the work, and even one day the owner said loudly in ear-shot ‘what is that p***k doing in here?’ The guy sighed. And we got on with it and he left happy that all was going well.

A few months later I got a phone call from him, he asked did I enjoy the trip. I was like, what are you talking about.

Turns out, he had sent in a holiday voucher addressed to me. The owner had opened it, saw the travel voucher and took it for himself. Didn’t even tell me.

Ok - that’s not quite a so good story, the ending wasn’t happy.
But the morale of the story is the guy tried to do something nice for me. He wasn’t too pleased that the owner who called him a p***k took the holiday voucher and said nothing.

But it was the thought that counts.

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Sounds like a theft that could have been reported to the police.

My favorite project has been the annual calendar for the local Audubon society. It’s a big project in terms of work, and they can be really particular, but the people on the board are just so enthusiastic - they get excited over the bird photos, or the color choice, and once they even were just so delighted with the placement of a sponsor logo - quite frankly it’s adorable and contagious. It doesn’t hurt that I quite like birds myself. They had to call it off last year because of the whole pandemic thing, but I’ve heard ads on the radio that they’re collecting the childrens drawing submissions, so I’m looking forward to working on it again this year.

(And Smurf: BIG OOF. Pretty sure that’s theft, and that opening mail addressed to someone else is a felony. Hope you’re not there anymore, cause it sounds like it’s the owner that was the p***k.)


Perhaps not all that much in the way of a story, per se:

Before Coronavirus, I was working under contract for my primary client, 40 hours at their site most weeks, with some remote, work-from-home days here and there. In March 2020, I was asked whether I could do the work without going into their facility at all. Since I was already doing some work from home, the mechanism to go 100% from home was essentially in place, although it did take a little while for them to upgrade their network infrastructure to support connectivity for everyone that was asked to do the same.

Just a few weeks ago, they asked whether I’d want to start coming in again, a day or two per week. So today for the first time in over a year, (working ‘on the honor system,’ basically), I am back at my desk in their facility. There is still a limit on the number of staff coming in at once, so it has sort of a skeleton crew feeling, but it’s good to see old friends and colleagues. Everyone has been welcoming and happy to reunite. I’m so thankful that I found this gig when I really needed one, almost 10 years ago now. The money is good, the company is mature but progressive and I’m treated as a respected member of their team. In so many ways, the past year has been horrid for my family, but today feels like a good day.


Perhaps I should share my personal story.

I am getting close to 30 years as a self-employed designer. After college, I only had one job working for a publishing company before going out on my own. This has not necessarily been the easiest path. There are a lot of hats to wear (designer, account rep, salesman, accountant, coordinator, etc.). There have been ups and downs, but the ups have outweighed the downs. And there has been periods of feast and periods of famine, but I’ve been blessed to stay more busy than not. You have to be financially wise to go this route — or wealthy by some other means. You learn quickly to save money when you have a good month because a slow month is coming. My wife and I might not own a summer home in Michigan and a winter home in Florida, but we should be able to visit those places once we retire. You need to be constantly pushing yourself to learn new things and to become a better designer. There have been times when I’ve questioned myself in hindsight. Should I have followed more of a corporate path? Should I have added employees and moved out of my house? And there have been times when I’ve thought about getting a full time job. But my career has been rewarding. I have enjoyed the work-from-home life. I got to see my kids a ton as they were growing up. And I’ve been able to work with a variety of great clients — including a few who have been with me almost since the beginning.


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