Red Flag Alert!!! Can it turn into something good?

It’s a common topic among creatives: red flags and nightmare clients.

How to spot them? How to deal with them? How to avoid them?

With experience you can foresee them in the small things. But sometimes, it surprises you out of nowhere. And you just can’t believe you haven’t seen it coming. This happened to me recently.

On a first Strategy & Discovery Call when everything was flowing perfectly, the alarm rang! Unexpectedly, when it all seemed to fit, this particular red flag unfolded:

“I have a sketch, an idea. Something I drew myself. I’ll send it to you.”

Classic red flag alert!

I could almost see it, fluttering in the wind right in front of me. A large, bulky red flag.

How could I not predict it throughout the Classifying Call and most of the Strategy & Discovery Call? How will I deal with it now?

When a client imposes this kind of ruling in a Logo & Brand Identity Project, deciding the way and narrowing the margin of input the designer should have, it’s usually impossible to proceed with the project aiming at an optimized final result.

This time, luckily, it turned out to be a false alarm.

The client explained that she wanted to show me her idea, but by no means wished to restrict my process, conceptualization and creativity. The sketch should be an example, a hint I could follow up or ignore completely.

Red flag avoided!

It actually turned out to be a reinforced vote of confidence, a way to contribute without imposing, saying “I have this. If it’s not the right option, ignore it. I trust you and it’s up to you.”

I took it into consideration but chose a different path.

The supposed red flag revealed itself as something good, underlining the client’s confidence and helping me towards another direction. My Logo & Brand Identity design proposal was approved right at the Presentation Call, without needing any round of revisions.

What’s the worst red flag you’ve encountered?

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