How to Save Money Working with an Illustrator or Designer

He had been hired to help his client brand their business through the creation of marketing materials, website design, and more. The problem was that the client didn’t really know what he wanted, so the process of creating mock-ups and sketches went on for a very lengthy time while the client reviewed each design with their friends and family. The project that should have taken two to three weeks to finish was now going on one and half months and was finally coming to an end. The part that is the most frustrating is that the client after asking for multiple revisions had now gone back to the very first mock-up after suggestions from family and friends. As the project came to a close the client was presented with the finished project and the invoice. “WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” screamed the client after taking the invoice out of the envelope and reviewing the total? The invoice was double the price quoted on the estimate. They’re trying to rip me off were the thoughts running through the client’s head. The battle for payment then began making a tense situation even worse. So was the designer really trying to rip off his client?

The answer is no! In this day and age people get very accustomed to shopping by price, this is due to the fact that many people are used to the big box stores where you just return something if the need suits you. When you are hiring a designer or any service for that matter the estimate is based upon the description of services required, the amount of time it takes to complete the project, and the customer’s deadline for implementation. So if a designer estimates that the project will take ten hours to complete and you ask for sketch revisions over and over that take up that ten hours you will now have to pay extra for actual project work to be done. If the designer is working for an average of fifty dollars per hour then this can add a hefty portion to your bill. So how can you save some money?

Know what you want for your business or the outcome of your project. Before you even call a designer you should have a clear image in your head of what you want your brand to look like, the colours you would use, and the types of customers you will deal with and what they want when dealing with your business. Do the research yourself, don’t send the designer links to fifty sites and say please have a look at those and work something up; you will pay for that time. Be very clear on the finished project before starting with a professional service. Everyone has to pay for their time. If you don’t know the look that you want then say so up front and be ready to pay to have multiple mock-ups created. There is a process in the industry to help clients get to the final goal of a finished project and usually that works out to two or three revisions to get the ideas going for the client. Anymore than that and you will find an addition on the bill that may not make you very happy.

One last tip, Get one trusted friend to help you with decisions in regards to your project and that is it. Do not have your own private committee to help you decide on the project direction. Why? Because not only does a group never come to an agreement when it comes to taste, but it is your business so you should know the direction that you want for your brand. Too many people forget that the reason they hired a designer is because of their expertise in what markets have and want from businesses. If you are going to pay money for a service then listen to the professional, your friends don’t have vested interest in your business. The designer has more at stake in regards to client satisfaction, word of mouth marketing, etc. What do your friends have in the game?

So to keep your design costs down with illustrators and designers know what you want, be timely when responding to sketches and mock-ups, and do as much of the research ahead of time as possible. That will get you a faster project turnaround, a better estimate for your project, and create a better relationship for future work on both sides. Do your homework!

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is an illustrator /designer from the Southern Ontario area of Canada. His company specializes in custom logo design, web and graphic design, and custom illustration for clients. You can view more about him on his website

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