For a long time I found it difficult to set prices for my work. I would struggle with the idea of something like a logo design having a fixed price. How could I go about designing a logo for £95, for example, when some logos would surely take longer than others? Through experience, the answer eventually came, but only after some trial and improvement. I realised that the pricing of my services was a problem, and I could approach it with the same process I had been using for design itself, which at the time was something like this:
Analyse the problem
Come up with an idea for the solution
Identify pitfalls of said idea
Go back to step 2
So, the first idea I had was to do this:
Work out roughly the maximum number of hours of work that might be involved in a project and quote a corresponding price.
Explain to the client that this is the maximum I could imagine the work costing, and that hopefully it would be less if we could get to the endpoint quickly.
Ask for 50% of the quoted price as a deposit, and explain that the remaining balance to pay once the work was completed could be anything between nothing and the full remaining 50%.
Looking back, it is clear that this was a needlessly convoluted way of doing things! The model often worked fine, but it definitely put one or two clients off. I asked myself how I would feel knowing that the amount I would have to pay for a service could be anything between say £500 and £1000, and if I had to condense the answer down to one word, it would be “uncomfortable”. So, having identified the pitfalls of my solution, I decided to come up with a better way – a way that would be better both for me and for the client, and I have been happily using the same system for years now, not just for logo designs but for a lot of my work. My new process is much easier for clients to understand, and is easier for me to manage. Here’s how it works, using a logo design as an example:
I will quote you £95 for a logo design, but I will inform you from the off that this only covers two initial ideas, then two rounds of development/amendments. I will explain that if you then require further development there will be an additional cost.
Once you have understood and agreed to that, I will take your deposit and begin the work. Often I will actually come up with more than two initial ideas, but that’s fine – I’ve committed to two, if I give you more than two you’re quite happy with that – you’re getting extra value.
I then show you the initial ideas, you pick your favourite and we discuss how to develop it.
I show you some development on your chosen logo. Again, there will always be at least two options to pick from, but I may provide several. Again, we discuss what changes are required.
I work the logo into a final version based on the latest feedback. Often at this stage I will have a screen sharing session with you so that you can check how the logo is looking before I then send it to you in your preferred formats.
I am not claiming to have invented this method – it turns out this is a fairly standard way of doing things, but I got there independently through an effort to find a better way. Clients are always happy with this model – they understand the responsibility they have to communicate clearly what they want, and in cases where the client does want further development they are always happy to pay extra. It’s all about having clear parameters agreed at the start. Frustration and discomfort are completely avoided from both sides – I am happy and I end up with very happy clients. In fact since adopting this system I believe I have been able to provide better value for money.
Clients are aware they need to be clear with their brief so that the design time doesn’t run over what is achievable for the agreed price, and they are reminded at the stage when they only have one more chance to give feedback and request amendments. To give you an idea what all this process looks like, here’s a recent example showing the steps I took in creating the Aria Luxury Villas logo for £95:
In this example I actually provided four initial designs, my client then picked one they liked and I developed it on from there until we reached a final design. This is what Chiara, my contact at Aria, said about the work:
Henry is a quick, creative, patient and intuitive professional. Working with him was easy, pleasant and fully satisfactory. I highly recommend him!
So, that’s how I go about designing a logo for £95. It should be noted that a ‘traditional’ logo design process would take much longer, and cost much more than this. I have created logos that cost ten times as much and involve months of research, testing and validation, but for many people that’s just not possible or necessary.
A very quick post today as I’m about to leave to meet with York Associates to demonstrate my concept for an interesting and unusual brochure!
Here’s a vintage style logo I’ve just finished for a niche lighting company, Dowsing & Reynolds:
A classic case of ‘less is more’, I feel! I’ve had feedback from people saying it looks like it belongs on a 1950s tractor or radio, which I’m quite happy about because I think that fits perfectly with the desired image of the company!
Gemma Lancaster is a hugely motivational personal trainer with a proven track record (pun intended) who wanted to give herself a professional, minimalist identity ahead of launching her new business, 100% Physical Training. Of course, I was more than happy to oblige, and Gemma is now the very happy owner of a brand new logo:
Gemma runs boot camps and group sessions, and can offer you one-to-one personal training, circuit training, marathon training and nutritional advice.
100% commitment, 100% motivation, 100% dedication is what every client will get from me, which in turn equals 100% RESULTS!
– Gemma Lancaster
I know Gemma is extremely good at what she does, but don’t just take my word for it, visit her Facebook page and read some of her testimonials from fit and happy customers!
I have recently been carrying out Adobe Illustrator workshops for a Theatre company, HunkyPunk. During of one of these workshops, I drew a few shapes to demonstrate the process of creating a custom brush, amongst other things. After we had finished, I was about to close the file without saving when I was grabbed by the urge to turn these vectors into something rather than waste them – an urge I think any creative person feels when they see something with the potential to become beautiful. In this case I decided I could spare a couple of hours of my Sunday evening to play with the artwork and see what I could come up with. Creating this vector artwork made me think about ways I could get more creative with my work, and inject a bit more colour and creative flair wherever possible and appropriate. I really enjoyed the process – it reminded me how much I love to illustrate, and how I used to find satisfaction in the process of taking a scribble or a written note and turn it into a doodle.
As a freelancer, you get into a routine that works for you and it’s easy to forget about skills you have that might not seem relevant to the day-to-day, but taking time to express yourself creatively in ways that may not be directly conducive to your business goals can really fuel your enthusiasm for your work and make you take a fresh look at your projects. I feel more motivated than ever to ensure my clients’ websites are not only fit for purpose and easy to use, but also look beautiful.
When I sat back and looked at the result of this quick design, I was reminded of a quote by Maya Angelou:
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
I think there is a lot of truth in this statement. Looking at what I created in just a couple of hours filled me with enthusiasm to illustrate more, to draw more, to doodle more, to generally spend more time creating. In fact I pitched for a layout project today that involves a large element of illustration.
I would like to mention that this illustration is strongly influenced by the supremely talented illustrator, Jonny Wan, who I first heard about in Sheffield’s most excellent Now Then magazine.
We were recently asked to get involved with Prime Recruitment, a new venture from the lovely people at Prime Education, who were in the process of building three new websites. We were happy to help, and liaised with recruitment CMS specialists Firefish to design and build three recruitment websites for three market sectors: education, medical and engineering.
Our involvement primarily consisted of redesigning the first website, which was already in progress, and using that as a template for the other two. We created slideshows, buttons and other graphical elements of the interface, and two page templates for each site, working primarily with CSS to alter the appearance of elements generated by the Firefish content management system.
The Prime Teachers website is now live, while the other two are still being populated with content, and the client is very happy with the result.
Update: Prime Medical and Prime Engineering are also now up and running, and all three sites can be accessed from the Prime Recruitment portal page.
Sometimes the design process can be so simple and so satisfying, you get from start to finish with zero stress, and it all seems almost too good to be true. I was approached by Active Isolated Stretching Clinic, who had decided to abbreviate their name to The Stretching Clinic, (great move by the way guys), so of course they needed a new logo.
I was given a very clear brief, with certain stipulations such as colour, but complete free reign other than that. Within a few hours I had put together two logo options, one of which the client was extremely happy with straight off the bat. This was the initial response:
You nailed it with the round logo, that’s fantastic!
After a few very minor changes the logo was ready, and both the client and I were really pleased with how the whole process had gone. I have another logo to add to my collection, and the client has the beginnings of a vastly improved brand (even if I say so myself)!
When I’m not busy designing things or making music I am partial to a spot of climbing. It’s always a real pleasure when I’m asked to design something that relates to a passion, so when the Mountaineering Club of Bury asked me if I’d design their new tees I didn’t hesitate for one moment.
This was a really fun tee design, and probably my best yet. The 3D extruded lettering on the front is incorporated into a simple illustration of some of the activities you can get involved in, and on the back there’s a more straightforward ‘flat’ logo and slogan:
What, or who, is a Patchy Warrior, you may ask – or, if you have heroic textile tendencies yourself, you may have guessed it: Patchy Warrior, aka Ursula Christie, is a Glasgow based master seamstress specialising in premium quality, custom made patchwork. And we are the ones proudly stitching together an identity and website to promote her wares. Here’s the logo, website to follow shortly!
Deli Breaks, a subsidiary of River Village Foods, approached us in September 2012 with an idea for a range of wholesome ready-to-eat microwaveable meals. This was to be our first food packaging… in fact our first product packaging brief, so we were excited to get stuck in. We went on quite a journey, as the exact nature of the product changed, so here is a selection of the steps we took:
You can see the final packaging designs on our portfolio here.
Henry has recently designed a logo for my business, Sgcareers. I was really impressed with the level of designs he sent me... [I will] recommend his services to others. Its seems he really understands his industry very well.
I can't underestimate the value of Instadesign's work and customer support. I would not have got Thrive Therapies started without it! The designer listened to my unskilled ideas, created what I suggested and then made something far far better - always balancing listening to the customer vs their expert knowledge of logo design. Worth every penny and more!