I was recently contact by email a large local paper manufacturer (who found my website), who told me that their graphic designer was retiring and asked if I would like to go in and show them my design work and possibly build do some freelance design work for them.

Knowing how nice some of the design for paper companies is I jumped and the chance and arranged to meet. I arrived about 10 minutes early and waited and waited in reception. There I looked at some if the paper sample brochures which were scattered on the tables and they were beautifully designed, lots of white space and obviously a lot of thought had gone into them in fact I was a little scared of what I would have to live up to.

The receptionist could not track down the person who was supposed to be meeting me (and these were large offices). Thirty minutes after the interview was supposed to take place I was ready to leave, when they finally tracked the person I was meeting down. She arrived a further 10 minutes later extremely apologetic that she had got stuck with one of the directors.

She took me into a room and introduced me to the retiring graphic designer who was in her fifties I guess. They told me they were looking to either replace the designer with another full time graphic designer or outsource the work to freelancers. I showed them my portfolio and they seemed to like it. Then they began to show me the work. So where were the nice brochures?? No where to be seen, but there were plenty of forms, black and white stickers, a news letter, and some basic DL leaflets. The trouble was the design was terrible, not just average – terrible. The Newsletter had no design style whatsoever, the type was not lined up and was littered with widows. The DL leaflets looked like they had been knocked together in about 10 minutes (maybe they had). Of course I could say nothing – the designer was sitting right there. A lot of the stuff they had was real basic 10 minuted jobs, creating black and white consignment stickers more artworking than design.

They asked me to go away and quote for some of the larger jobs – newsletter and DL leaflet, which I did knowing that there was no way on earth they would ever go for it. I put in a price to redesign the newsletter and to artwork it, but knowing it looked like the inhouse graphic designer had only spent about 5 minutes a page on it I knew they would choke at my price to do it properly.

In my email along with the quote, I tried subtely to explain subtely that my price involved design and not just straight artwork, but needless to say I never heard from them after submitting my design quote.

Has anyone else had similar experiences?