We now live in a world of immediate gratification. One where 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!
However, your project’s desired completion date may not coincide with a designer’s availability.
Designer’s ARE Business Owners
First and foremost, folks need to realize designer’s ARE actual business owners. NO we DON”T work for free. We have to have a business license to operate AND pay things like those nasty self-employment taxes.
We have policies and yes, we have business hours. Independent creatives or studio owners may have different business hours than say a bank – but we’re not open 24/7 even if the Internet is!
Be Prepared to Answer Some Basic Questions
If you reach out to a designer you have never worked with before, understand that there will be a necessary initial consultation before any new project may commence. So be prepared to answer some basic questions such as:
• Who is the decision maker for the project?
• What is the deadline of the project?
• What does a successful outcome look like?
• What is your level of commitment to the project?
• What is your budget for said project?
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.
About your budget…
YES, we need to know this for a number of reasons.
You know what you have to spend.
Is it $500, $5000, $10000?
Give us something tangible to work with.
“Mission Critical” vs. “Nice to Have”
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.
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.
Also, if you’ve burned bridges in the past, it’s unlikely a designer is going to want to work with you again. They may have the time, but you’re persona non grata.
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.
So give some serious thought to whether your project really is “Mission Critical” or is it just a “Nice to Have” that you’d like done ASAP. Cuz if it is, expect to pay a premium for it – especially if your ideal designer is already booked.
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.
“Urgent and important are not synonymous.”
Contracts for Design Projects
All legit creative professionals execute projects with a contract in place BEFORE any work commences. This WILL require an initial deposit (which is non-refundable). The deposit will vary depending on the project estimate but is generally 30%-50% of the project. Balances are due upon project completion.
Contracts ARE standard industry practices which protect both the client and the designer or creative professional. If this is new to you, many designers have FAQs and Policies info on their website which provide more details.
Establishing a Creative Services Retainer
Becoming an established client via a creative services 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).
This could give you an in with an existing designer relationship. BUT new projects are generally outside of the terms of a standard retainer – so any new projects still have to be discussed. Don’t just assume…
Securing a Spot in the Queue with a Deposit
Good tings are worth waiting for so if there is a particular designer that you really want to work with, consider a deposit. This can ensure that your project will be next on deck. Of course the contract parameters would need to be in place, but then you’d be good to go.
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 🙂
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Written by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Graphic Designer and Nature Inspired Art photographer visually enhancing client’s print and digital media. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place.