Understanding a Designer’s Availability

understanding a designer's availability - ASAP may mean rush chargesWe now live in a world of immediate gratification. Everything is urgent or
“I want it now”.

You may have that OMG moment where you realize you want a new logo, brochure or website for your business. And want it done ASAP!

The truth is, your project’s desired completion timeframe may not coincide with a designer’s availability.


Yes, things do pop-up. But as the saying goes, “your poor planning is not someone else’s problem”. This can certainly apply in the case of a designer you may want to work with. So an explanation is in order – along with some tough luv…

Designer’s ARE Business Owners

First and foremost, folks need to realize most designer’s ARE actual business owners. This means business hours and policies. Independent creatives or studio owners may have different business hours than a bank – but we’re not at it 24/7 even if the Internet is!

Just because you have an idea of when you want something completed, it may be in conflict with a designer’s availability. This may also depend on projects already in their queue with existing clients. So it behooves you to ask about their availability.

Want it ASAP?  Well ASAP = rush charges and can vary depending on the urgency of the project. They can average from 50% up to 200% on top of a project estimate.

Much like FedX, 2 Day Air or Urgent Care, it’s like expedited design at a premium. Needing to bump someone else’s project or burning the midnight oil for your project deadline means you gotta pay a bit extra – which is totally legit.

Think: “Mission Critical”  vs. “Nice to Have”

Initial Consultations, Project Contracts, Retainers

If you reach out to a designer you have never worked with before, understand that there will likely be a necessary initial consultation before any new project may commence. This helps to get a sense of your project and your level of commitment – among other factors – and to see if there may be a good fit moving forward. It still does not mean the designer will be able to take on your project as there may be other scheduling time constraints.

Also all legitimate creative professionals execute projects with a contract in place BEFORE and work is done. This WILL require an initial deposit (which is non-refundable) that can vary depending on the project estimate but is generally 30%-50% of the project. Balances are due upon project completion. These ARE standard industry practices which protect both the client and the designer or creative professional.

Becoming an established client via a retainer may be something to consider. It can have its benefits/privileges. Retainers still have protocols which need to be adhered too. But as an existing client, a business relationship is already in place between you and said designer or creative professional. You’ve reflected a commitment along with being consistent with communication and timely payments (yes this matters too).

Good Things ARE Worth Waiting For

Yes, in our world of immediate gratification you can comb the globe for someone who may do it faster, cheaper etc. That can bring its own host of challenges. But good things are worth waiting for. It can reflect a business (or designer’s services) are sought after and in demand with the quality and value they deliver — and that’s a good thing! It also allows you to plan better in the future.

Case in point: As a Subaru owner who is particular about who works on my car, I favor independent Subaru mechanics over going to a dealership. Very often these smaller shops are booked out weeks in advance. To me this is a good sign. The dealership may have more availability, but hands down, the indie guys are well worth the wait 🙂


Want more? Continue reading:

• The importance of an initial consultation
• Becoming an established client via a retainer


eco-conscious graphic designer barbara rogersWritten by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Helping businesses grow through better design and search visibility solutions. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place with their products or services.