Have you ever been totally professional, even when you’re dissatisfied, just to have the other person lash out? That’s one way to really piss someone off, isn’t it?

Well, what if the person lighting a fire under you was someone you were giving an opportunity to? That would make you want to slap him silly, right?

A newbie request

Here’s the story. This guy, Khuram Shazad from XpressLogos, comes out of nowhere and asks me to put him on my blogroll. I get plenty of requests like that but I’m always very polite when I decline. The truth is, anyone in this business knows you just don’t ask someone to do that unless you already established a relationship or have something to offer in exchange.

So what do I do for Khuram? I ask him if he’d like to do a simple logo design for me for another one of my websites. Seriously, something my good colleague Joseph from Logonerds could do in his sleep. In return, not only would I place him on my blogroll but I’d also write him a review. After all, exchanging services is a great way to build relationships. Khuram agrees.

Signs of an amateur-at-work appear early

Rather than interviewing me or providing a survey for me like most designers do, Khuram decides that “Please provide me with your logo name, and the type of organisation for the logo, along with other details, i.e. slogan etc.” is good enough. Several days later after I respond to his question, I get a logo that looks terrible (and yes, just one — who presents a single design creative anyway?). And when I say terrible, I mean probably the worst logo I’ve ever seen. I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and show my partner. Without any influence from me, he also thinks it’s the most hideous looking logo he’s ever seen as well.

Although we hated the logo, I didn’t want to crush the guy. However, I wanted to be firm that the relationship wasn’t going to work. Last thing I wanted Khuram to do was spend more time designing another logo. Here’s how I responded to him:

Thanks for taking the time to create the logo. I presented this to my partner and our thought is that this doesn’t capture the brand messaging that we are looking for. Since you only presented one logo, that doesn’t leave us much to review.

Again, although I appreciate you making an attempt, we feel that we’re not even remotely close in terms of getting a logo right for what we’re looking for.

Just like a toddler who doesn’t get what he wants

My email wasn’t great news but I thought it was polite and stern enough to deliver the right message. I’m not even sure why I expect professionalism these days. It’s easier to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised when others are cordial. Anyway, look at how XpressLogos decides to respond to me:

Remotely close?….all i was given is that it needs to be crisp and that it is a social networking site….that is not alot of information for any designer.

brand messaging….you need to improve the look of your site first…as it seems if it was created by a three year old.

Even if the site he’s referring to is a finished product, which it’s not, Khuram decides to just totally bash me because I didn’t like his logo. I admit I may have jumped the gun when I blogged about a marketing company several months ago since that turned out to be a misunderstanding. But there is no mistake that XpressLogos is really a joke. I’m actually laughing while I’m typing this! I know you want to see the logo he sent me but I’ll rather not present his work in public since I’m not using it.

XpressLogos’ designs speak for themselves

I really don’t want to send you to XpressLogos’ site to look at their sample designs since I’d be sending traffic their way. Still, it may be worth the laugh. The logos all look like they were created with Wordart in Word. Most of them also have the same “reflection” feature that’s in PowerPoint. When Khuram says ‘Xpress’, he’s obviously referring to the time it takes him to do his work. Unless it’s for shipping, transportation or fast-food, the next time I see the word ‘express’ in any company name I’m going to be cautious.

Look, I’ve been working with designers for years. I’ve been charged with developing websites for Merck, Motorola, Sony Pictures, Johnson & Johnson, GMAC, and many other Fortune 500 companies. I’m not a designer but I know great work when I see it. I also take the time to give kudos whenever I can.

For this guy whose designs look like he learned PhotoShop while reading books when he’s sitting on a toilet to rip me, I don’t know how he has the nerve. Certainly Khuram Shazad doesn’t have a very thick skin. With an unranked PR and 1,500,000 Alexa, I thought I was giving Khuram a chance to break ground. Not only is he ungrateful, but he’s also delusional. My biggest mistake was not ignoring his ridiculous request to be on my blogroll to begin with.

I interact with people on this site everyday. I can say that 99% of them have been great. I treat them like guests because I know I need them more than they need me. I cherish the strong relationships I’ve built with people who I’ve never met in person. That’s why people like Khuran Shazad from XpressLogos really bother me. He chooses to behave the opposite of the way my friends and guests do on here and waste my time in the process.