I guess this is normal as long as your client will be informed about that and/OR a freelancer/company will not have any further commercial rights for the product they've created (say, selling or adapting for another work). Also, questions about who showcase the work in the portfolio should also be solved.
But I would suggest you to not give up and try a few more variants, it's all about understanding what your client wants. At last even if you do something that feels bad for you and great for a client, it's just his position and taste because every person there has individual view on things, especially when it comes to design. Try to ask him more concrete questions, draw out more information (most liked examples of work, colors, styles, etc.). There may be very hard clients but usually if you do something based or similar to the example they like the work is going to be approved.