• By remeoner
  • Posted October 6, 2010
  • In brand identity, brochure design, Business Identity Design, graphic design, logo design, print media, publication, web graphic

The Business of Design Part II

This leads to perhaps one of many main point within this post. How does the aforementioned approach impact how a designer can charge?

Which business model (Flat Rate vs. Hourly) really works?

From where I’m standing The Hourly model is a win-win situation for both the designer and the business owner(client).  Even if I offer you a flat rate – that would still be based upon a number of man-hours.  The business of graphic design is service brand versus a product brand.  As to say, every experience with my brand WILL NOT BE THE SAME, unlike your experience with say a Zebra F-402 Pen or Lysol Multi-purpose Cleaner.

Lets dissect that for a minute…for product brands you expect certain things almost intuitively. When you proceed to use your Zebra pen you expect for it to write and feel a certain way.  When you use your Lysol Cleaner your expect your floor to look cleaner, stains that where once there, shouldn’t be there after you cleaned the surface.

When It comes to design, its not that cut and dry. My clients (design partners) don’t interact with an inanimate object…I’m not a multi-purpose cleaner… instead they interact with a person. (we’ll dissect that the humanistic aspects of the design partnership in depth in a later post).

But how does all that tie into the flat rate vs. hourly debate in a real world situation?

Business owners in their attempt to cut cost and save a dollar, can position themselves to spend more money over time, due to deficient designs. At times the upfront costs of any investment may appear daunting.  But you have to remind yourself that it is indeed just that, an investment. Instead some business owners opt for the cheaper of solutions. Its the cookie-cutter mentality that will stagnate your brand.   But who am I to argue, because there is indeed a market for the cookie-cutter design, we cant deny that because everyone is not going to pay top dollar for a design.

Statistics have proven that it is easier to get new clients that will pay your new rates as oppose to raising your rates with your existing clients.  So be it as it may.

Earlier in the post I stated that the hourly model is a win-win situation for all relevant stakeholders, by now it should be clear. The designer is paid what he or she deserves, within reason might I add. Understand I am not in the business of over-pricing.  The business owners will be the proud owner of a well crafted communication that advances the brands’ mission.

What we as designers try to avoid is becoming a slave to the design.  In that I mean we charge so low of a price that we make so very little money per project that every project is do or die.  We cant even enjoy the abundance of multiple clients because the profit margin is so low and the amount of time spent on the projects just doesn’t add up.  Now as a business owner I’ll be the first to admit and even take the blame because I didn’t have to accept those projects, in that I cant offer the client any backlash for the lack of profits.

Instead I design like I’m getting paid $800,000 for a Brand Identity Concept as in this image ,

because one day I will, but until then and even at that point.  My pricing model will be relative to the market I am after.

There is no way that I can expect a mom and pop shop of 4 employees to be willing to pay the same as a corporation of 3,000 employees.  The irony of it all is that both the mom/pop shop and corporation alike are expecting the same quality results…an increase of profits or improved brand awareness.

I will leave you with this thought.  There is a reason why the items at Wal-mart can not be found in Neiman Marcus.

and well, that’s all I have to say about that.