I am a graphic designer by profession, and have been the art director of a magazine that deals primarily with real estate for the past 12 years. Twelve years of dealing with real estate agents. Twelve years.

That may not sound like a big deal to your average reader, but your average reader has only had to deal with a realtor maybe once in their lives – when they bought or sold their home. I have to deal with them 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, and let me tell you something, the majority of them need a spanking.

Realtors have got to be some of the worst clients on the planet for a designer. For one, many of them have massive egos. Some have been using the same headshot since the day I first started working for the paper. I don’t know about you, but I’ve changed considerably since 2000. I’ll admit that I use a facebook photo from when I was in my 20’s, but I’m not trying to sell you a 8.7 million dollar home either.

Right now, I am finishing up a 2 week tour of duty in graphics hell. Four times a year, we publish a magazine featuring high end properties and it is during these times I am at my busiest. I work a 9 hour day with no lunch break and return home with my brains feeling like regurgitated oatmeal, and that’s just from constantly designing ads. When you incorporate moronic ad suggestions, vague design directions, and a never ending stream of pointless corrections on the same ad into your daily routine, you want to run screaming out into the street.

I have three clients in particular who are each on their SEVENTH round of changes, many of which were total redesigns. That’s right. Starting completely over. Not, please change the price or can we swap out this photo for that one. Noooooooooo, that’s too easy! And what makes it even more maddening? We are PAST OUR DEADLINE! All this was supposed to be signed, sealed and delivered days ago, but our clients are NEVER told “no.”

Why? Because our sales team is afraid they will stop advertising. On top of that they are never held responsible for mistakes they have made. If an ad goes to print wrong, even though they SUPPLIED us with the wrong information, and saw SEVERAL proofs of the ad before press time, we give them a free ad. If they send us a total redesign 20 minutes before press time, they are never told, “sorry, this is just too late.”

They get whatever they want, and I’m just the little working bitch who has to take it. My sales department has turned our clients into a group of pouting Veruca Salts who are so used to being indulged that the thought of reprimanding them is out of the question. Today I asked my one salesperson if they could tell a client that 6 changes an hour before press time is not acceptable, especially since many of the changes were stupid ones….like capitalizing the word “Pool” is seriously going to affect the sale of his house.

All she said to me was “they won’t want to advertise anymore.” to which I thought “I could only dream.”

But in reality I know that if we don’t have advertisers, I’m out of a job. So here I am again, stuck being the bitch who has to take it.

So readers, if you are a business owner and an advertiser, let me give you some advice. Treat your designers kindly…they are people too! When you want an ad, know what you want and outline it concisely. When you get a proof, look it over carefully and make ALL THE CHANGES AT ONCE. Don’t change the price, then change the photo, then change the price again, then change the background color, then ask to have a comma removed. That makes us designers want to construct a tiny voo doo doll and stick pins in your eyes.

Also, if your proof has some boo-boos in it, don’t email back your changes with an opening line of “Is your designer on CRACK? This is WRONG! ALL WRONG!” That makes us want to type “eat shit and die” in 3 point type and stick it in the corner of your ad.

When advertisers piss me off, I give them bad ad placement – in the back on the lower left hand side of the page…mwah ha ha – sweet revenge! Because talking to my sales staff gets me nowhere. They have created the monster and are caught in the “gotta make budget” vortex.

I still say a good spanking is in order.

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