Friday, October 10, 2008

Understanding Graphic Design

For any small business owner, pricing is of great importance!  I've had quite a few potential clients e-mail me to discuss pricing.  So I thought I'd take a few moments to explain just what goes in to designing a logo and why design work is priced the way it is!

Logo design is a process.  You may be looking at some logos out there that are quite simple and think it takes the designer 5 minutes to complete.  Take a minute.  Think about the logos out there that stand out the most.  A very simple apple.  A giant yellow 'M'.  I "heart" NY.  Simple, simple, right?  And it's true--if I were to copy one it WOULD take a matter of minutes.

But that's not what logo design is!  Let's look at the process.  (I know many designers who would do this differently, but this is how I do it.)

#1--A discussion with the client.  This is generally just a get-to-know-you session so I can understand a bit more about my client and his or her company.  What does she sell?  Who is his target audience?  Does she have ideas for her logo?  What inspires him?

#2--Brainstorming.  This often includes some pretty extensive research about what my client actually does.  This is a lot easier when my client has given me as much information in our discussion as possible.  But often clients don't know exactly what they want so the designer does a lot of brainstorming.  Personally, I LOVE this part because I can think, think, think & plan in my head.

#3--Sketching.  Now that I have ideas in my head, it's time to sketch them out and see if they'll actually work.  Truth be told, I don't always do this.  I'm absolutely in love with my brain (well, not absolutely) because I have the sketch right up there!  I do tend to "sketch" on the computer, though, instead of free-hand on paper.

#4--Actual design work.  Pretty self-explanatory.  I just sit down and create the actual design and then send to you for review!

#5--Edits.  Depending on how much you are in love with the initial design, this could take moments or months!  No joke.  I've had clients where we've worked for months.  Now, I'm not working on the design every day during that month, but this is more thought on the part of the client now.  Color changes, font changes, placement, adding more detail, etc.

#6--Final Files.  At this point, I take the time to save the file in a variety of formats so my client can use them wherever and whenever she needs--web and print use in a variety of formats.  I also have started putting together information files that include the colors and fonts I used in the design.  This all takes time.

#7--Other designs.  Most of my clients don't order *just* the logo.  You need more for your business, don't you?  Web header or banner, business card, stationery/letterhead, web ads, product tags, etc.  Of course I charge more for these items.  Each one takes time and more effort.  Logos are generally very simple.  That's how they should be--eye-catching, easy to remember, etc.  So when designing the other items such as a business card or web header, I need to bring in more detailed design work for backgrounds and such.

If I've designed for you, you know I practically bend over backward to help ensure you're 100% happy with the end result.  I offer help wherever I can.  I keep all my files so if your e-mail address or phone number changes, I can edit that quickly.  Some designers charge for this, others include it in the initial design cost.  Again, time and effort.

If the process wasn't enough, you do need to understand that when you have a logo designed for you, you have the rights to the design when you're through.  You can use the logo OVER and over and over.  This may be obvious, but that is why a logo costs more than a web banner/header design.  This is also why designers are careful to mention that if they design a web banner for you, you are only allowed to use it as a web banner.

I hope this helps understand design work a bit better.  I adore what I do.  I love getting to know new people and I thoroughly enjoy creating an image for their companies.  It's such an exciting process.  I'm a little saddened, though, when clients expect me to create, create, create and edit, edit, edit without taking the time to understand what is involved on my part.  I'm sorry if any of this sounds a bit defensive.  I read a little blurb earlier today where someone had very openly and clearly announced that she thought design work was an easy and simple project worth only pennies.  I'm thrilled that this isn't the normal reaction.  Many out there know that you pay for what you get & as an artist, I appreciate that greatly!


Teresa said...

Hi Joan! I understand you completely! In my past life, I was a web designer and I got to work with some clients who treated me and my craft as if it was a vending machine. Design is a process. It takes time and effort. Most of the time, it's personal too. Sure artists get paid for the project but much love goes in into each logo or website. More power to you for writing this piece! :)

Christie Cottage said...

They are wonderful! And good for you charging for them. They are laid out/designed very well!


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