This is going based on the fact that apart from my University work, I don't have a great deal of freelance work to fill a portfolio so I can't really choose to leave stuff out.

I've heard people say before that you shouldn't finalise a design for a client based on what pleases you aesthetically but what the client wants but I've often done this myself in the past were I thought a logo looked more interesting a certain way to only have the client come back to me and say something like "oh, it's nice, but it just looks too fancy and I'd like it this way..." and they will want me to use very basic, tacky imagery and too many colours that make it look like it was made by a high school student (at best) as the client knows nothing about design and there's only so much I can do to make there idea somewhat acceptable. Sometimes I finalise a design with them that they are over the moon about but I think it looks average at best and sometimes bad.

I can understand this, as obviously it's the client that's using your work so if they don't like it then you have failed your task and they won't want to use it but I don't want to use it in my portfolio as I don't want future employers/clients thinking that this is all i'm capable of. ' Where do you stand on creating work for a client that doesn't please you aesthetically? do you ever turn work down as you don't want it to ruin your image as a designer or do you just smile, make the design and take the money?

  • 1
    There was an interesting piece about the guy who approves cartoons for the New Yorker, and something one of the cartoonists who made regular submissions said really stood out to me. He said that he cartoons that he was sure would be accepted were often thrown out, and ones that he never thought would make it were sometimes accepted. They showed his work, and the ones that he thought would make it and didn't were actually mediocre, and the ones that were accepted were rather clever. So I try to keep this in mind when doing my work, that others sometimes are right about what I make.
    – jfa
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 22:31

1 Answer 1


In your case, this CAN be two separate things. Your work for a client and work in your portfolio.

Let me explain:

I have tons of work that I've done for certain clients that I hate because of their feedback. I still have to deliver the product, so I sucked it up and completed according to their specifications. BUT I also save the version that I liked. This is what I would use in my portfolio.

  • 1
    @GoofyMonkey I will have to start using this golden rule :)
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 14:16
  • 1
    I believe in this Golden Rule: "The client will ALWAYS choose the design you like least." However sometimes the one you like the least is the one that the job needs. Also, I love the line from Gladiator "Some of the time I get to do what I want, the rest of the time I do what I have to." Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 14:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.