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Tumblin’: Clients From Hell

Clients From Hell is one of Tumblr’s most popular blogs, featuring reader-submitted tales of woe and hilarity from the design world. We sat down with its editor for a chat about CFH, its future, and clients with boundary issues.    

Clients From Hell has grown exponentially in terms of both submissions and readership since its inception in 2010. Aside from serving as a catharsis for designers, what do you think makes the blog so popular?

Gaining 100,000+ subscribers over a year is no small feat - and it would not have been possible without a proactive community driving subscriptions and submissions. It takes a certain creativity and drive to succeed in any client-based creative field, and Clients From Hell is fortunate enough to tap into those qualities. We get a lot of interesting, well-thought out submissions. As designers, writers, or anyone else in a creative practice knows, interesting and well-thought ideas will almost always have an audience.

What about Tumblr makes it the right home for CFH?   

Tumblr is a user-friendly, user-driven, and user-empowering platform. Clients From Hell follows a similar style of thinking, and the synchronization of principles allows sites like ours to flourish. 

"And are we still on track for launch on January 23, between 18:43 and 22:18? It’s astrologically perfect, but it’s just a small window. After that, we won’t have an opportunity to launch for weeks."

—Clients From Hell, 16 January 2012

One of CFH’s central themes seems to be a general misunderstanding of the process of design work by clients. Why do you think the industry is so often misperceived?

This is a problem every ‘artist’ in every field has dealt with - and will continue to deal with - for some time. Our tasks are ambiguous, our methods confusing, and our community is inclusive. The people that need to hire creative individuals are often the ones who don’t understand these factors, and that disparity is what leads to misunderstandings. 

Are there any plans to expand or change CFH? Offshoot blogs? Sitcom deals?

We’re taking Clients From Hell from the world of bits and bytes and into the land of papercuts. You can check out our first attempt at the written word here. 

"How many SEO experts do you need to change a lightbulb lightbulbs buy light bulbs neon lights sex porn"

—Clients From Hell, 31 December 2011

Many editors have a reserve of submissions they love but just don’t publish for one reason or another. Have you received any stories that were just too horrible or seemingly unbelievable to print? 

There are all sorts of horror stories and tall tales that I keep out of public consumption as a silent service to our readership. Favorites include a client who propositioned a photographer into a bestiality shoot and a designer who was tasked with going through a portfolio of boudoir photos of their client in order to get the right flesh tone for a site. 

Do you have any advice for new/budding designers, based on your experience with CFH?  

Be polite, be professional, and be the reason there isn’t a site called Designers From Hell. 

Be sure to follow Clients From Hell on Tumblr and @ClientsFH on Twitter.

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