At work, I do graphic design and document layout work for a variety of clients and each one has their preferences and that's fine for the most part, once I get a feel for their needs I can nail it with a minimum of revisions. But for the past few weeks, I've been working with a new client and I'm getting pretty close to pulling my hair out.
Round #1 - I am provided with a PDF document that outlines their "visual identity". It lists the fonts and art you are permitted to use, how to treat the logo, etc. So, I do the preliminary layout emulating the examples in the design guide. Client doesn't like the layout and sends me a "sample" layout to copy which does use the fonts, but in a way COMPLETELY inconsistent with the design guide.
Round #2 - So I attempt to emulate the sample layout, despite the fact that the proportions are all wrong for the size of the items I'm designing. But now I'm using the "wrong font". The font has the right name and is from the right foundry, so what is it that looks wrong? "I can't tell you, it just looks wrong!" I went to their ftp site and attempted to download a copy of the font from their resources folder and it was a Mac-formatted Type 1 font. We're on PCs...cue bellyaching that we can't possibly do design and layout properly on a PC, etc., etc.
I finally did some deep research and found that the incredibly commonly distributed font in question had been revised with a slightly different serif on certain characters about 3 years ago but that the font name and publisher was exactly the same. The best part? The "bad" character was in the layout exactly twice and the font is so small I could barely tell the difference.
Also, he complained that the photograph that goes in the layout had a "weird tint" and that I should adjust it according the sample he sent - but that the yellows in the sample were too green and the blues were too red so keep that in mind.
Round #3 - I bought and installed a new copy of the font and sent the revised layout.
Now the leading and tracking is all wrong! Apparently, I should have known that they ALWAYS use 9pt. type with 10.25 leading and -10 tracking for these kinds of items and couldn't I tell from the sample? (FYI - the printed sample he sent was in a larger font size and the letters were quite spaced out.) Also, there's nothing about these specs in their "design guide".
The sentences were broken at the wrong positions. (I followed his layout.)
I used a regular hyphen instead of an en dash. (They're the exact same size, no swishy bits or anything different, but whatever.)
And WHAT WAS I THINKING in the photo adjustments? (I dunno, you send me a picture of a blue and yellow widget and tell me to make the colors right based off an inaccurate reference.)
I'm waiting for the markups and new references to arrive today. Wheeee!
I know that this client can mean a lot of money for my company, but I am not wanting to work with this person any more! Either give me precise specifications or don't act like I'm an idiot for not reading your blasted mind. I know you work for Big, Important Company but that doesn't mean I automatically know all the details of your corporate style. Also, your "real professional designers use Macs" attitude is really hilarious to me - in the past 20 years, I've used both systems separately and together. If you know what you're doing, you'll get consistent results from the same software on either platform.
I have other clients who are even more particular, but they tend to send proper spec sheets, useful design guides and marked-up layouts, I usually average one revision with these guys, usually for minor copy changes...and zero attitude.
I honestly think this person just doesn't want to work with our company and is trying to make the process as difficult as possible. Sigh.
I have my emails and photocopies for my bosses, so I'm not worried about my performance evals or anything. It's just sooooo tiresome dealing with this person. I'm almost to the point of not caring about the product...and I take tremendous pride in my work.