I'll pay you when we start using it: responses to common (wrong) thoughts about graphic design

A lot of creatives are increasingly frustrated by clients who have little or no experience with the industry. Hence sites like clientsfromhell.net. I wanted to write a few responses to common client statements that may help clear up some issues. 

1. Thanks for this awesome new brand and logo you helped us create. We'll pay you when we start using it. 

If you bought a new car, you wouldn't say to the dealership, "I'm going away for 3 months so I'll start paying for the car when I start driving it". It's important to think of design in terms of tangibles like this. It will help you understand that time is money. A great example of the work that goes into making a brand is here.

2. If you do it for free, it will lead to great exposure and paid jobs down the line. 

Recently I had a very large record label contact me after I placed an ad on Craig's List. My rates were clearly listed in the ad, yet they still proposed I do it for free. They then explained that they had gotten someone to do it for free previously who had ruined the job, so now they wanted a professional to do it....for free. You get what you pay for. I've also NEVER FOUND THE ABOVE STATEMENT TO BE TRUE. No job I've ever done for free has led to any paid work. I've gotten a couple of gems for my portfolio but I could have obtained them by doing personal projects. I'm more than happy to do pro-bono work for legitimate charities, but if you have a business, you have no excuses.

3. Your rates are too high. I'll get my nephew/cousin/son to do it in Photoshop.

It's like a murderer waiving his right to a defense attorney and representing himself. There is so much that goes into a logo, not to mention an entire corporate identity, from conception to printing various materials, that little Mikey isn't going to know. Again, click here for an example of a logo process. If you own a small cafe and decide you would like a clean, professional brand and logo, you should be looking at it as an investment into your business. Great design suggests trust and longevity and will result in more sales. I wouldn't go to your store and say, "Why would I buy this muffin when I could just make it myself"? Because if I make it myself it won't be as tasty, as pretty and as easy. You're an expert at making muffins so why would I think I could do the same thing at home with little or no experience?

4. I don't like it, so I'm not paying.

For this one, I tend to use the example of landscape gardening. They come to your home, spend a few weeks designing and renovating your yard. At the end, you walk out, say you don't like it, then refuse to pay. Despite the fact that everything they've done to your yard has been at your bequest and you've constantly communicated. They have worked hours researching, planning, buying, planting and trimming. Yet, you refuse to pay. This simply would not happen, unless I suppose the client was an exceptionally horrible person willing to be sued by a landscaping company. 

5. I'm not signing a contract just to get a logo. 

Contracts can be a bit scary but almost no one does business without one. Every time you upgrade something on your computer/phone/game system you must 'agree to the terms and conditions'. Telecom companies sell mobile phones on contracts. A lot of electronics stores make you sign a contract if you are purchasing something where you pay it out over time. You sign a contract to get a bank account or a driver's license. Hiring a graphic designer is a business to business situation. Contracts are inevitable. Don't be scared and ask lots of questions. I myself have a plain language legal contract that takes a lot of the fear out. Nevertheless, this is where people tend to halt proceedings. The contract is to protect us both. It also binds me to doing the work for you under the agreed-upon terms. If you try to hire a freelancer, firm or enlist someone from a website to do your design work who doesn't have a contract of some sort, you should be a little nervous about hiring them.

6. I don't need a logo. I made this myself in Word.

Then your logo likely ends up in places like this: http://yourlogomakesmebarf.com/.
Sometimes, a person with no design experience can knock up a great design that actually helps their business. However, they almost never create that logo, or use it, correctly. A bad logo or bad application of one can harm your business. I once refused to go into a cafe because it had the world's ugliest logo. One of my friends made me go in with her and I ended up being a regular. I thought, based on the logo, that the quality of the food inside must be terrible. It turned out the food was great and the owners and I became friends. Nevertheless, this is a good example of how a logo can create a bad image for your business. A great logo suggests you care about what you're doing and about the products or services you are putting out to the public. A good first impression is vital.

7. I'll just go to one of those $99 logo sites.

Once again, you get what you pay for. What they don't tell you at these sites is that your logo is not your own. Many other people could be using the same logo, under a different name. They also use clip-art (common images that are free to use but are of low quality) to create your 'logo'. You might get something you're happy with but that could cause problems down the line. Especially if your logo ends up being a stolen design, one that could lead to big financial heartache in the future. Be careful about using sights like Freelancer.com as well, for the above reasons and more.

I hope this will help you understand why hiring a proper graphic designer is important. Your business is likely your dream, so why short change it? 

You can get a basic logo package for around $1000 from reasonably experienced freelance designers. Logos cost from around $1000 to $500,000+ for big brands (Pepsi's re-branding cost around $1 million while ANZ splashed out paying $15 million for theirs). A lot of designers will negotiate with you. However, be cautious when haggling for a cheaper rate. Remember to think about it in terms of your own business. You wouldn't want someone to offer you an insultingly low price for your product or service either. Design or advertising firms almost always cost more, but they also have a lot more resources. The most important thing to remember is, it's not one size fits all. Shop around and find the best fit. Good luck! 



/hire me

I'm moving back to Australia for a while, but I'll be available to work from Feb 1. Please email me jen [at] inaredcan.com. :D



A logo I'm working on for a new company. 


I used Infinicam. The better but less known photo app. Sorry Hipsta-fans.
I was a 'Hipster Zombie OWS protestor'.


Hire me! Now looking for work in East Texas (Conroe, Woodlands, Houston and surrounds)

I just moved back to Texas. I really need a job!

I can use the Adobe suite. Write HTML or XHTML and am learning CSS and Java. 

I have experience with:

Print - banners of all kind, flyers, newsletters, advertising
Merchandise - bags, water bottles, shirts, hats, keychains, etc. 
Web - layout design, banner ads, content, social networking
Branding - creation, strategy, logos,
Illustration - digital and hand-drawn

Let's talk! Send me a message to: jenni_klaus [at] hotmail.com.



Just a brief note about MONA - Museum of Old and New Art.

I visited on Saturday. It was one of the most inspiring days of my creative life. I think anyone who has the opportunity to visit MONA must. You need at least 4 hours for the exhibits and I would include extra time to sample the local wine and beer from the attached Moorilla. 



Posters I designed for work using free vectors.  The logo is mine.



this is a poster i did for work
it's used for strategic planning and management
strategy and chess...get it? 
huh? huh? :)



I like this 80's style propoganda poster I created for work. 
It was fun to do but sadly it's not being used. 
I've removed the words for privacy reasons.