I rarely take on custom wedding projects any longer because of my extreme sensitivity and inability to know when to say no. All I ever want in life is to make my clients happy; I am a text book co-dependent, please let me please you.  I received an email last week from a well respected (and admired) wedding planner for a large letter vintage inspired postcard for her client with the city being Hermosa Beach, CA. I love doing these types of linen postcards because I like to believe I am very good at it. I have a rather large collection of these with all the major cities. I utilize and tweak colors to suit but lo and behold there is not an Hermosa Beach large letter postcard to be had.  I searched the interwebs tirelessly, it just doesn’t exist.  I decided to try my hand at recreating and was up to 13 comps and counting when I threw in my proverbial towel.  At the time of this writing I still don’t know if the last comp was accepted and I sit here in defeat.  I really wanted this project for my portfolio since as you can see I don’t have a portfolio link.  Yes, I have been very lax with documenting my work so basically I need to start from scratch.  I offered to do the project at a deep discount so I could add this to the phantom portfolio link.  The colors were not solidified, just a vague ‘antique-y colors’ were given for a palette suggestion so I used what I thought were colors that worked with the theme of beach and still felt vintage. I later found out colors were actually supposed to be purple, orange, yellow and black. I checked all the emails 52 times (perhaps more), they were never specified. If you know my aesthetic at all you may deduce that those colors in combination would never ever make it into my portfolio–ever.  I am not talking muted versions of those colors, which could work but full-on bright, saturated and in your face colors.  As a designer you need to know when to walk away from a project or flat out take a pass, but please refer to the first and second sentence of this post where I don’t know how to say no and all I want is to make my client happy.  I have trouble walking away, I am not one to ‘give up’, but alas I have been defeated by a large letter, bright orange, purple, black and yellow postcard project.  The above graphics are a couple of the rejected comps which I figured if I was having such a hard time finding a vintage Hermosa Beach postcard option there may be one or two others out there looking for one as well.  Please feel free to download them here and here and use them in your upcoming Hermosa Beach project. They are a hi-resolution so you can print a traditional postcard size 4″ x 6″ without a problem. As always these are for personal use only, no re-sale or distributing of them willy nily, thank you very much.
This has taught me a huge lesson and besides the fodder it gave me above (and the download for you).  I am going to work on a mini-series of posts about how to work with a graphic designer, what questions to ask, how to ask them to get the best results from the collaboration.  I will also be interviewing a few of my favorite designers so they can offer their two cents to the conversation. You may not need the series now, but perhaps in the future you will and you will be so happy you read through it. Please note this has nothing to do with my client, but is a realization for me and how I need to set my boundaries when working with clients. This is good practice for anyone just starting out in a new business and to those like myself that should know better but always seem to learn the hard way.


  1. Miss B, you are a real sweetie! Although I am not in need of a Hermosa Beach invite, someone in the interwebs will be. How nice of you to turn what must have been a very frustrating exercise into something lovely for someone else. Hope someone else gets the opportunity to do the same for you!

  2. What? You mean you can’t read minds and know exactly what they’re wanting ? :) If it’s any consolation, I think your postcards are a whole lot of fabulous . . .

  3. Ah, thank you Spark & Amy. Yes, that is so my fault I practically proclaimed ‘Hey, yes, of course I could read your mind’ and obviously I can’t so it’s my bad all the way–lesson learned! I hope;)

  4. I totally know how you feel. I get very personally invested in how any of my client work is received. I always seem to forget that at the start of a fun project but half way through, im super stressed and wondering why I put myself through it?

    Thats why I’m so choosey about the projects I take on. My heart can’t take dealing with people I don’t click with or aren’t excited about my work.

  5. We haven’t spoken in some time and probably over this similar situation. Don’t lose heart though, I didn’t! Just keep working at what you know you’re good at and what you love. Sometimes I think it’s about the aesthetic and a communication style that doesn’t jive with your own. You know that you’re fabulous! I’d love it if you would take a look at some of my current work, would love your critique…please. Brooke :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *