Dilemma... web design thingie

I have a dilemma. I did a site for my son’s preschool (www.cheskas.com). For free. They said I would get credit on the site for the design…

… but now I’m not sure I want it! Since I handed over the pages, they’ve made some AWFUL changes! Like adding a java applet to the SPLASH PAGE (the purpose of a splash page is to have something load QUICKLY) and making some really ugly font color choices… and adding HUGE “Under Construction” graphics! They also messed up some of my tables (I have little shapes in the corners, but check out how lame this looks: http://www.cheskas.com/summer.html
I did about $3000 in work for them, and now they’ve taken it away… and I can’t even take my credit (since I wouldn’t want anyone to think I designed it that way!)

So what do I do??

Really, I’m so upset over this I could cry.

O p a l C a t

OpalCat… welcome to my world. As a graphic designer, I feel for ya hon. The only way I get past something like this is to not do free work unless they specifically say they won’t change the design. Otherwise, charge them, coz doing something for credit means that it is YOUR work AS IS. I think it is too late to stipulate that, but something to keep in mind for the next time.

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing, does the painter do good
things.” --Edgar Degas

*Oh man… * Is it really too late?

I was going to suggest that.

Couldn’t she tell them, “Hey, this is my livelihood. If someone came upon that and saw how different it is from my other work, they’d wonder about it…”

Or something equally diplomatic?

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, dogs are from Pluto.

I had a similar problem. A freelance computer customer of mine would call someone else if they couldn’t get a hold of me immediately. The next time they needed help, they would get a hold of me. And their problem? The other guy had completely fugged up my system that I had set up. Of course, I was charging, so that help ease my bruised ego that someone else had tampered with my work.

I do know that a good web design is a combination of programming and art. Someone messing with your final product is like painting teeth on the Mona Lisa.

The trouble, of course, is that much of web programs is still ASCII text that any schmo can read and (shudder) edit after he reads two pages of “HTML for Dummies”.

(I love the compiled program biz. Bunches of binary files that is near impossible to change.)

PCW’s advice seems the best here. It’s a shame that so much work would go unclaimed.