Okay so I have a client who ALWAYS asks for things in a very vague manner but absolutely and categorically refuses to divulge more into their idea(s).

So recently they sent me an email saying they needed a webpage doing with some graphics but they want them to look "Hollywood Sleek" I asked what they said, "You know, like ballin'"

Now I know...I know, a lot of you may say drop them as a client as it isnt worth the hassle. That being said they are a very good client, always pay my fee on time, weekly work and to be fair they are great apart from when I need to communicate ideas with them.

I even sent them over my standard "What do you need doing" template so they could at least give me a brief thats more than half a sentence, but alas, they have no want to fill that in, they simply always say things like above.

So...apart from lipstick and makeup (which is all that really turns up when searching for "Hollywood Sleek" online...Does anyone have a clue what that means?

Your help is both appreciated and leaves me with hope of a future without killer robots.


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    No one here has absolutely any experience with this client.... I mean zero, none, not a shred.... so I can't possibly see how anyone here would be in a better position to interpret what that client means when they use slang. The problem with colloquialisms and "trendy" language is.. it means different things to different people. If you don't even know the person using the language.. it's all a guessing game in general. Only your client knows what they mean. I voted to close this as primarily opinion-based. Truth is, out of all users here YOU are the only one in a position to answer. – Scott Apr 7 '18 at 9:38
  • What are the consequences if you design, like, something you think is totally rad and out of here, down but hip with the crowd, and send it back? Do they get angry? Do they retract their jobs? Do they suggest concrete adjustments? – usr2564301 Apr 7 '18 at 10:56
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    If they are inarticulate as your client seems, can you get them to link or point to something similar to what they're imagining? – Stan Apr 7 '18 at 21:39
  • It's important to interpret your clients instructions as best you can. If as a rule they give you brief instructions and refuse to elaborate then it is up to you to bring them likely solutions. I see Hollywood Sleek that's ballin as high fashion, high production values, it shouldn't look like a website but like an ad in a fashion magazine. The red carpet feel. Full screen images that are framed and exposed perfectly. Glamour, baby. Models, jewels and sports cars if appropriate. Sleek, to me here, means light on text. Ballin means cool. The whole thing geared to the younger generations. – Webster Apr 9 '18 at 17:37

They don't know either, so do what you like ;)

From a client management point of view - and this might be contentious - I don't think it really means "anything" very much of consequence.

Well in fairness, taken along with "ballin'" I would guess they mean "Exciting, Glossy, American (let's not debate exactly what that would mean haha...let's go with, erm, "confident")

So if I were you I would do whatever I felt was right for the job, and then simply tell them that it's both "ballin'" and "pedal to the metal" or whatever other silly phrases come to mind. The point being that I dubt they know themselves what these things mean, and if handled correctly by a confident, and competent, designer they be told it's those things after the fact :)


Sorry, I'm not a mind reader, but one of the definitions of sleek means: elegant/streamlined shape or design, I obviously have no idea if that is what they actually mean. Another possibility is that "sleek" is a malapropism, perhaps they mean "Hollywood chic", as in "Hollywood style/fashion"??

As for "ballin" that's not even a word I recognise. Is it US slang perhaps? I'm from the UK and have no idea what it means.

You could call them and explain that you can't do any work without a proper brief. If they can't explain it in words, ask them for example websites with the graphic styles that they like. I often do that with clients who have no idea how to describe designs.

  • Ballin’ is indeed an Americanism; it just means ‘cool, awesome, amazing, brilliant, on fleek’ (just to be Twitter-inclusive). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 7 '18 at 9:34
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    That just mean you don’t spend enough time around teenagers on Twitter. Sorry, did I say “not enough”? I meant “exactly the right amount of time”, of course. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 7 '18 at 9:36
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    A 51 year old man, spending time around teenagers online is not something I would feel comfortable with. LOL – Billy Kerr Apr 7 '18 at 9:37
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    @Scott - George Bernard Shaw is reputed to have said the UK and US are "two nations separated by the same language" – Billy Kerr Apr 7 '18 at 10:56
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    @Scott, oh yes, plenty of British words too with completely different meanings in US slang. Just having some nice lamb faggots and some spotted dick for my tea - translation: lamb meatballs, steamed pudding with raisins, and dinner. – Billy Kerr Apr 7 '18 at 16:09

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