Back when I worked for a large retail company’s copy center, I was dubbed my particular district’s go-to graphic designer, simply because I could use Photoshop and Illustrator fairly well. Mostly the job was okay, but sometimes we’d get someone terrible. One day, this client arrived unshowered, unshaven, and covered dirt from head to toe.
Client: So I have this really great, earth changing idea! I need YOU to help me design it! It’s going to be HUGE!
Me: Okay, our store’s prices are [price], and generally how this works is: you give us your design specifications like fonts, colors, and imagery. We put it all on this order form, and then I’ll work on it and give you a call when I have the initial proof done, so you can preview it before we continue.
Client: No! It’s a secret! I can’t tell anyone what it is! Not even you!
Me: Sir, I can’t design anything for you if you don’t tell me what I’m supposed to design.
Customer: I’m sending it to the President! It’s going to save lives! It has to be a SECRET.
Me: How is the President going to know what your idea is, if you aren’t going to explain it somewhere in your flyer?
Customer: Oh, he’ll know! I’m including a James Brown song on a CD! He’ll get it.
What he ended up wanting was to sit at the desk beside me and tell me, slowly, painstakingly, and with far too many instances of “that’s not how I spell that word!” what his design was, in as vague a form as he could manage, and without ever actually telling me what the world changing project WAS. And because I was working for a retail establishment, I was forbidden by management from turning this customer away.
He was a hardcore conspiracy theorist and insisted that everything we’d worked on for the day was deleted from the PC entirely, and then he’d come back the following day and want us to start the work from scratch – without charging him for redoing everything. He repeatedly refused to keep copies of the PSD files on disc for his own personal backups. Oh, and, as it turns out, he was living in his van in our parking lot, and would come in to the store every few hours after my shift had ended, asking if I was there.
The moral of the story is: never tell anyone that you can use Photoshop and/or Illustrator.