My value as a graphic designer might be one of the most consistent topics that seems to come up fairly regularly. How much do I charge for a specific project or design compared to the perceived value the client is getting? Sometimes what looks like an easy job to the client, is far from easy for the designer. How do you accurately explain how much time and work actually goes into designing something that "looks like it only took an hour?"
From laying out all the content, finding and altering a great font for a logo to locating the perfect stock photography, it's all time consuming and contributes to your end product. Editing or cropping out the background in a photo in order to place it on a different background, also no easy task. Kearning, spacing, special effects...I could honestly go on and on about what goes on behind the scenes. Sure, it might look effortless once it's all said and done but it's really the exact opposite.
I found the following article to help my case...
After spending some years in graphic design industry, a couple of questions bewildered me the most… How much a graphic designer should be paid? On what criteria should he be paid? Although I confess that I joined the design field for the sheer pleasure and obsession, a person has to make ends meet as well. Right from my first project, I have continuously pondered on the subject of wages and value for graphic designers. I have heard numerous common statements which clients say to graphic designers in my career. Outlined below are a few of those statements and my thoughts on each...
1) Size doesn’t matter:
I completely agree that a graphic designer’s worth increases with the level of experience and expertise. But many clients come up and assert that since it is just a little project it should cost way less. This is where the misconception lies. For graphic designers, no project is big or small. They confer equal and utmost importance to each of their projects irrespective of their magnitude. Clients, while selecting a graphic designer want the best work done in the lowest price possible.
2) Simple but creative concept:
Sometimes a design concept may appear simple, but it takes enormous creativity on the part of designers to come up with the concepts. A client views the design work as simple and easy and argues that it should cost less. Taking the Nike swoosh case, although the concepts seems simple but its creative aspect cannot be measured in monetary terms. The concept that turned out to be one of the leading brands in the world was a simple yet extremely creative one. This demonstrates the weight of creativity while determining designers’ earnings.
3) Design work with less graphic details:
Many clients come up to the graphic designers and claim that since their design work contains less graphical images, it should not cost more. What they tend to forget is that it is not only the colors and graphics that is appealing, it is the ingenuity in the work that holds the value. An excellent case in point is the FedEx logo design, which is regarded as one of the most creative logo designs in the world. While there is no such graphical details in its logo design, the marvelous concept of using negative spacing to create an arrow between the “E” and “x” is what is worth the money. Not to mention, add up the time spent sketching and brainstorming, as well as the trial and error that went into choosing and creating this final design.
4) Time is money:
Moving towards the major concern, I believe that graphic designers (freelance or permanent) should be paid based on the amount of time involved in their projects. After all, time is money. Regardless of the complexity of the design project, it involves considerable time on every assignment. Clients who want to pay less on the pretext that the project is small are risking the quality of work. When a designer will be paid less, he will not want to waste a large amount of his time on the project.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued trust in me for all of your design needs. To show my sincerest gratitude during this wonderfully festive time of year, I present to you...
Client: "I'd like you to create business cards and a brochure for me..."
Me: "Sure, can you provide me with your logo and some images?"
Client: "Just pull them off of our website" [Or they provided me with a 52 kb jpg file that they took from the internet.]
Me: "Yeah, that's not gonna work..."
It's not an easy concept to grasp and quite truthfully, how would you know? It's not something you just come out of the womb knowing. Someone at some point has to explain it. I had no clue before I became a designer so let me try to explain why pulling your logo [or any other image] off the internet doesn't work when translated into print.
Most printed materials require a minimum resolution of 300 ppi. Most web files are 72 ppi. So what does that mean? It's like taking a teenie tiny photo of your great grandmother and trying to make it poster sized. It's pretty much impossible to do without turning the finished product into a big, blurry mess. Another example would be to draw anything on a piece of paper. Take it to your photocopier and hit enlarge. Keep making it larger and larger. The bigger you try to make that picture, the more blurry it's going to be. Why is that? Basically, the size that it is is the size that it is. There's no way for the photocopier to fill in the missing pixels, it just takes what it sees and grows it. You start to lose the integrity of your image as you enlarge it. The same goes for your web resolution logo. As you can see below, I've provided a few examples. It usually helps to visually see what I'm talking about.
I also found an article that really helps explain it all. Click READ MORE below (and to the right) to read it. I hope this brings some clarity :)
I work with several printing reps who consistently come into contact with the customer whose logo is...how do I put this? Unusable, disorganized, cluttered and just plain awful. Generally, homemade logos use clipart and other elements that are not a good resolution or quality. These logos don't convert to print very well, especially if the printed piece needs to be larger than the original size of the logo.
In all honesty, the print quality is the least of your worries if the face of your business, the first thing people see that represents your company is a homemade logo. Take into consideration the design quality. While most business owners excel at what they do, they are not trained in design and they become too attached to their 'masterpiece' failing to see how unappealing and unattractive it truly is. This is bad for business.
One of the sales reps asked me to provide her with some ammunition to give to her clients to help explain the negative consequences of a poorly designed logo. I found an article that helps to state the serious impact poor design and marketing can have on the success of your business.
I'd also like to point out that there's nothing wrong with using a homemade logo as a sketch to give to a designer to refine it and bring it to life. This way your professionally designed logo holds onto the essence and characteristics you want to portray about your business.
"If you think that you can't afford to invest in a good, professionally designed logo & business card, consider the outcome. How can you afford not to?"
To read the article, click 'Read More' below.
Today marks a very important day in RGB Creative. I have my first official blog! I can't wait to share my experiences, advice and knowledge on the graphic design industry with you. I hope to be able to open your eyes to how this field works and more importantly how it can work for you.
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