How to avoid falling prey to a designer swindler: 8 most popular ways to cheat

How do designers cheat their customers? How not to overpay for work and not be left with a nose?

It is not customary to talk about this, but working with designers does not always go smoothly. In this article, we have collected the bitter experience of our friends and bright cases from the Internet to tell you about the most popular schemes for deceiving their clients by designers. Read and learn from other people s experience so as not to repeat the mistakes of other customers.

At the end of the article, we will share a checklist for quickly checking the decency of an unfamiliar designer. Go.

Perhaps the most common situation when working with designers is their disappearance after receiving an advance payment. This is especially true of ordering work from a freelancer.

The contractor can either completely hide with your money, or for some time feed you with promises and drag out the work until you yourself refuse his services. In any case, you lose money, nerves and time. Here is a clear confirmation of this:

An example of a feedback about a missing designer from a freelance exchange

And another story sent to us

How to avoid this situation

1) Check the designer before placing an order with him. The best way to check for reliability is feedback from previous customers. The most ideal option if your good friend advises you.

2) Don t pay for all the work at once, break it down into stages. Then your contractor will be interested in completing the work to the end and receiving the entire promised amount. And you, even if you lose, then only part of the money, and not all at once.

3) Ask the designer of your choice if he will be ready to return the prepayment in case of non-completion of the work. Please discuss such cases in advance. Promises, of course, can be empty. But on the other hand, you can immediately refuse those designers who declare that the money will not be returned under any circumstances.

4) When working with freelancers, it is better to play it safe and transfer money through special services of secure transactions, which are often offered by freelance sites. Of course, you will have to pay for this, but the amount will be much less than the one that you risk giving to the swindler.

Case number 2 When a designer appropriates someone else s work

Customers often forget to check the authorship of a designer s work. What if the work in the portfolio belongs to a completely different person? You can easily fall into the trap of a pseudo designer who takes over someone else s profile.

Marketer Irina Kustova shared with us her story about just such a deception:

d0368af200a424e926e10f729a295682This is how you can “hit” without suspecting anything

How to avoid this situation:

1) Any rush should alert you. All swindlers take advantage of the fact that a decision must be made quickly. Do not be lazy to open an image search in Google and look for the original source of works:
r1How to find the original image in Google Chrome
If the picture is found on different resources and under different authorship, then this should at least make you think.

2) If you liked the portfolio of a studio, then it is better to look for its contacts on the official website, and not through other accounts on freelance exchanges. It is much more difficult to fake a website.

3) Feel free to ask the contractor to take a look at his work in action. Check out a few of the sites he designed for and see who is listed as a developer in the footer. You can also ask the site owner who did the design for him. The previous customer will not only tell you the truth about the author, but also be able to share a review of his work.

Case No. 3 When the result of the work does not match the work from the portfolio

A portfolio is a designer s pride. There he places his most outstanding works. This means that you will not see all of his masterpieces. This is where a situation may arise when the result does not meet your expectations. You looked at one quality of work, and then suddenly you get a layout that has nothing to do with them at all.

Here s a story for you from Ruslan Volchkov, director of a balcony repair company:

r2An example of how a portfolio may not match the level of work

How to avoid this situation:

1) Take an interest in the designer s experience and look at the size of the portfolio. If you see just a couple of layouts from a designer with many years of experience, then most likely he selected the best. Do not take such works as a guideline. Always look at the average quality of the designer s work.

2) Ask to see the latest work, study as many layouts as possible in order to understand for yourself the average quality of his work.

Case # 4 When a designer hands over your order for execution to other contractors

This happens often, especially if you are negotiating with a famous designer. He has a lot of orders, but not enough time and not enough for everyone. So he has to transfer your order to his students or other contractors. And it seems like there is nothing like that here. Better to pass it on than to do it in haste But the trouble is that the quality of work sometimes suffers from this.

Leonid Yuryevich, director of a construction equipment rental company, just got into this story:
165dbfa28bdce78ea42a338f77216d8fAn example of when a student does a job and you don t know

How to avoid this situation:

1) It is best to discuss this issue first. If you like a specific author of works, then agree that he will be engaged in your project. Always ask to keep you informed of any assignments and keep an eye on how the work is progressing.

2) If you initially do not like the way a designer works, it is better to say about it right away. Perhaps you need to re-discuss the working style with the designer. Sometimes it is very difficult for a customer to find a common language with a contractor. That is why it is much better to order a design in a studio that employs a whole team of specialists.

For example, if we have a similar situation, we select another contractor for the customer. Usually the client is satisfied, because another designer may evaluate an assignment with fresh thoughts and approach it with a new idea.

The designers themselves suffer from unsuccessful delegation, here s an example for you:
r3The flip side of delegation – designers cry too

Case number 5 When a designer performs an assignment irresponsibly and violates deadlines

Orders from designers are unpredictable and unstable thing. Either they do not exist at all, then they fall like snow on their head. Therefore, designers often agree to complete the work in one time, and in the end they realize that they overestimated their strengths. And then there are at least two options for the development of events.

Option one: the designer still manages to invest in the deadline and, over the last night, completes the work that had been planned for weeks. At the same time, the quality naturally leaves much to be desired. Option two: the designer feeds you “breakfasts”, stalling for time and shaking your nerves.

And here is one such real-life example:


An example of how a designer can delay deadlines

How to avoid this situation:

1) Always stock up on time for yourself. A good rule of thumb is to multiply the term promised by the designer by Pi :). Promise a week? Better put three, just do not tell the designer about it. Then you will not be so worried that you do not fit in time, let the performer think about it.

2) Before ordering a work, show it to several designers. A beginner may promise you to get things done quickly, but he can only see the tip of the iceberg. An experienced designer will see all the pitfalls, will be able to make a more accurate estimate of the time, because he already knows what he may face in his work. The choice is yours, but better focus on the longer term.

3) Try to always control the stages of the work. Take an interest in the project. If a situation arises when a designer has to choose a more urgent job, the priority will be the project that he is reminded of.

4) Give preference to studios. If a studio designer is “sewn up”, then he can always count on his employee, who already knows the style and level of his predecessor. In addition, the load is evenly distributed in the studio.

Case number 6 When a designer increases the cost of work

The customer usually does not have information about the scope of work. And this is cleverly used by unscrupulous designers. Before making an advance payment, they agree to work for one amount, and then they inflate it in every possible way. Suddenly they have “new circumstances” in their work, which the customer humbly agrees to pay. After all, there is nowhere to go, the work has begun, the money has been given.

Here is one such case from the Internet:

An example of how the amount of the project can grow after prepayment

How to avoid this situation:

1) Write down the technical task as clearly as possible, then the designer will be able to more accurately calculate the cost of the work initially.

2) If the amount increases due to your whims, then this is normal. Anything that is not specified in the TK must be paid for separately. Therefore, again, think over the TK to the smallest detail.

3) When a designer jokes, he tries in every possible way to make you understand that his work is more expensive. Most likely, he miscalculated in the assessment of the volume of work, and this is entirely his fault. A conscientious performer will not demand money for his mistake.

Case # 7 When a designer sells your work

Many aspiring designers use free stock photos and design fonts in their work. They take them from various databases on the Internet, and often later it turns out that such pictures and fonts are stolen.

Well, the most unscrupulous designers can even take someone else s template, add a couple of touches to it and pass it off as their own. Don t be surprised if someday you see your slightly modified logo or icon on sale. Here s an explanation for the excessively low prices of some designers.

The most offensive thing in this situation is that it is not the designer who will be accused of using the stolen template, but you. And it is you who will then have to act in court as a defendant in a claim from the real copyright holder.

And in support of these words, two real stories:
d35a31a3892804ee9d577053765e3b44An example of how you can get it when the stolen is used in the design

How to avoid this situation:

1) Now everyone already knows that you cannot take a picture from a Google search or stocks by removing watermarks. But fonts are still considered free by many. And in vain.

Discuss with the designer initially that all fonts in the design can only be used from Google Fonts. And buy all the necessary photos and graphics yourself on photo stocks, and only then give the designer to work.

2) To insure yourself against unpleasant consequences, write in the contract with the contractor that the designer undertakes to use only licensed materials. Let all lawsuits, if anything, fall on the shoulders of an unscrupulous designer. In any case, this clause of the contract will discourage him from using the stolen materials.

Case No. 8 When a designer reveals the secrets of projects before release

Excessive talkativeness of a designer can cause significant losses for the entire company.

All information in the advertising industry, and especially in the development of computer games, is kept secret until the release date. And when the secret layout gets on the net, it may not be the intrigues of competitors at all. But the designer just decided to add his work to the portfolio ?

For example, here s the news about how a designer from Nokia spilled the beans about a new smartphone to bloggers: “The concept-phones blog has published a report about the development of a smartphone by Nokia, which has been doing very poorly lately, a smartphone, tentatively called the Lumia X by the press. The source of the rumor is a certain Johnny, who“ works as a designer at Nokia ”. He shared a picture of the new gadget with Concept Phones and talked about its intended functions. Writes about this ”. (source –

And another similar story:

r6How the developer let slip about the release date of GTA5

How to avoid this situation:

Discuss the secrecy of the project with the designer and the possible consequences of such talkativeness for him. Sign the NDA. And better work with those who value their reputation.

Life hack: You can also use these “leaks” to generate buzz around your product release. Isn t it just that the prototypes of new iPhone models are constantly “lost”? .. ?

And now the promised bonus

Checklist for checking the decency of the designer. → download

You have learned about the eight most common ways to cheat designer swindlers. Of course, in practice, you can come across many other scams, which are not so easy to recognize. But let experience and common sense come to your aid.

We wish you fruitful work with designers, and may their results exceed your expectations.

Source: icondesignlab
Cover photo: ShutterStock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *