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From Concept to Completion. Creative Advertising and Graphic Design Services.

Top 10 Things Designers Hate Number 2, or: The Great File Caper

We hope you’re as excited as we are to be getting to the top 2 on this list! We’ve covered rate cards, too much text, and all kinds of great stuff about fonts. We’re now approaching the two most difficult problems that designers encounter with clients—but never fear! We’ve got the scoop on how to avoid these snafus and keep your process running smoothly. The number 2 thing designers hate is when a client says…

2) “My last designer was terrible! She wouldn’t give me the design files!”

Uh-oh! When we hear those words we know there’s trouble a-brewing—because we won’t give you those files, either. Image courtesy of

Uh-oh! When we hear those words we know there’s trouble a-brewing—because we won’t give you those files, either. Image courtesy of

Occasionally, a client may believe that he is buying not just a logo or ad, but also all the ad’s component parts and the right to make changes at will. The client may ask the designer to create the artwork in Microsoft Word, or simply to share the InDesign or Quark files so it is easier for the client to make adjustments himself.

This is generally not something a designer will do. In most design contracts, clients own the final artwork, but not the “working files” or drafts. While a designer will be happy to collaborate with a client on making changes until the final design is satisfactory to both parties, the majority of designers will not allow a client the right to make changes to a completed design.

There are many reasons for this! First is professional pride: designers want to prevent their painstakingly crafted artwork from being altered. A client is not likely to know as much about composition, fonts, or graphics as a trained graphic designer, and that can lead to oddly stretched or pixelated images and strangely composed ads. We have our reputations to think about, after all!

Maintaining ownership of working files is also good business sense: if a client believes that he or she can simply re-adjust the same ad over and over, then why go back to the designer for a fresh new ad campaign? (of course, wouldn’t you rather have a shiny new design?!) In addition, there are some potential licensing issues. Most images are copyrighted.  If a client gives a designer a photo for their ad, then the photo continues to belong to the client. But if a designer acquires fonts or images elsewhere, then they have the right to sell the final product, but they may not have the legal right to sell you the individual parts.

Understanding what you are (and are not) buying from a designer is an important part of maintaining a positive working relationship. Many conflicts between designer and client can be avoided if ownership and the process are discussed beforehand! Then everyone knows what to expect, and you’re all happy…just like this puppy in a bucket!

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

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Your Presence is Requested!

Business Tips and Trends

I was asked the other day, by a friend who owns a very small business, “Do I really need a website?” My simple answer was, “Yes.” “But,” she said, “I don’t have a product to sell online.” Well as it turned out, she caters to a certain group of oil field related companies. She didn’t have a product but she certainly had a service to sell, regardless that her audience was small and specific. There are a lot of companies that think this way. BUT the social media revolution and the Internet highway has changed the way we sell, and the way we search for a product or service. All businesses should have a presence on the web. Why? Here are a few reasons:

  • Potential clients go to their computer and on the Internet to search for services and products. If you aren’t on the Internet, they won’t find you.
  • Your competition is on there. Don’t let them get your business.
  • Your friends and customers can promote your business by word of mouth (social media). Did you know that 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, and only 14% trust advertisements.
  • Websites are cost effective. Think of your website as a live brochure. It’s always available to view, no matter what time of day. No need to reprint, or spend time handing out.
  • A well designed and informative website will give you credibility and establish a presence.
  • A website could answer frequently asked questions that your customers might have. If you have this information posted on your website, it’s a timesaver.
  • Having a website could educate your customers on their buying decisions.
  • Referrals are a great way to get business, and if you have a presence on the world wide web, a referral could come to you just by the way of a link. One click away from a new potential customer.
  • Some customers do not like to get on the phone but their choice of communicating is by way of emailing. Your website should have a way of contacting you, other than by phone.
  • Your website could gather contact information (start a database).

Social media is a great way to build business relationships. The Internet is your path. A website is your venue… and your presence is requested.


Advertising Testimonials

If you have great feedback from a happy customer or client, you can use their testimony to boost your business. Adding a testimonial to your brochure, website or advertising can add validity and selling power to your service or product. Testimonials build trust, help buyers overcome skepticism, and give your sales unbiased recommendation.

What Makes a Good Testimonial?

If you have ever had a customer tell you how much they value your service or product, then ask them for a testimonial. Don’t over edit the message, but don’t be afraid to change the grammar and how it’s said. Use testimonials that fit, don’t ever fake it. Don’t be afraid to encourage specifics from your client. For instance, if your client saw wonderful improvement by using your product or receiving your services, then ask what specifically caused the improvement. Let the users be the “stars” and not the service or product itself. Try to avoid using word like “best” and “easy” as they don’t really add validity. Be sure to ask your customer if you can use their feedback for a testimony.

How to Use a Good Testimonial

If you have a testimonial from some one notable or even a celebrity, don’t be afraid to use that as your entire advertisement. If you have endorsements from unknown people then don’t make it the main focus. If you have many testimonials, try dedicating a page on your website. If you only have one or two, use them in flyers, postcards and ads. You can use call-out-boxes or before and after pictures. There are many ways to handle a good testimonial. The best endorsement is word-of-mouth. If you have a customer telling others how wonderful you are, what could be better than that?

Give us your feedback on how you have used testimonials from customers.