13 Laws of Client Work

October 28, 2008

Posted in Web Industry.


  1. When referring to a budget range, the Client will only remember the low end of the range.

    1. You will remember the high end of the range.
  2. Fixed bid or flat rate projects always screw someone over.

    1. It’s usually not the client.


  1. A Client who is in a hurry will inexplicably halt the project at the very last moment to perpetually make tweaks.
  2. A Client who has caused repeated, lengthy delays will inexplicably kick into rush mode and require heroic measures to meet an arbitrary deadline.


  1. A perfect design is only perfect if the Client has changed it in some way.

    1. Leave a glaring imperfection in the design for the client to fix.

      1. Glaring imperfections in the design will destroy your credibility, causing the Client to question your abilities.
      2. Glaring imperfections should be subjective ones.
  2. The Client is too busy to provide photo choices until after the designer has chosen photos.
  3. Subtle design elements will go unnoticed by the Client.

    1. Pointing out subtle elements will either cause the Client to change them or offend the Client’s intellect.


  1. The Client will not deliver content on time.

    1. Any content delivered on time will be substantially revised at a later date.
  2. The Client will require design to move forward using filler content and placeholders.

    1. Once design is available, the Client will provide content that does not match the placeholders in the design.
  3. The Client cannot produce copy at the prescribed length; all copy will be far too long or far too short.


  1. The Client will insist on technical requirements based on buzzwords heard on television or read on CNN.

    1. The requirements were buzzwords no less than four years earlier.
  2. The Client will insist on being able to make changes to code or implement new features without using code.

    1. The Client will back down from ridiculous requests upon hearing about the change of budget.

      1. If the Client does not back down, then Whoopee!


Update: after being alerted to my lack of counting skills.

  1. Posts that are written over pizza and remain as a draft for a week will inevitably not match up with the title.


  1. Andy Stewart — October 30, 2008

    So true. You could generalise some of the laws to:

    The Client will not know what he wants until you produce something. Even if you produce what the Client requested — especially if you do — the Client will then realise he requires something significantly different instead.

  2. Matt — October 31, 2008

    Great list. This proves my theory, “Every business needs a Chas.”

  3. William H. Harle Jr. — October 28, 2008

    Wonderful list. Probably could have been about 80 things long, or maybe you could have even hit 13, haha, but hilarious nonetheless. The timing and content ones are spot on. Thumbs up.

  4. chas — October 29, 2008


  5. Andrew — October 30, 2008

    Awesome list. Any ideas about how to change these laws?