As a freelance designer its a bit of a funny business juggling full time work and then getting home only to be bombarded by emails from useless people claiming to have the upperhand in design skills. We all value feedback, sure, its the only way to move forward. But sometimes the classic Designers Vs Clients clash of the titans becomes a large dark looming cloud which is destined for one direction, down.
As a freelancer you’re practically asking for trouble as quite often the quality of the client is limited, one man band’s that think they are entrepreneurs because they had an idea about a colour scheme for the their logo. FacePalm! :S
What sucks even more is that as a client a large majority appear to presume that because they contacted a freelancer they are going to get everything at 70% discount – WRONG!!!! Please don’t insult freelancers with measly offerings of shrappnel for their time and efforts. Good design costs good money…simple!
I don’t want to rant about this fairly touchy subject too much, just to get my point across. Here’s a Facebook conversation I had a while back. I saved it for my own personal reference and comical value because quite frankly whilst on the smallest scale possible this pretty much sumarises the mentality of many clients these days. I don’t know, is it me or is it the likes of VistaPrint and shitty companies that offer free design work de-valuing the efforts of ‘real’ designers? Hmm interesting question…maybe for another time. Anyway, here’s the transript:
So I hope i haven’t offended anyone?! But a the same time I hope that this epic fail has highlighted a seemingly growing issue amongst the general mindset of the world.
To conclude I have copied a list of the geberal Design process written by someone else that might help shed some light as to why freelance design costs what it costs and why just a little more appreciation is required:
- Information Gathering: We come in peace and with a blank slate. It allows you to see things through their eyes, and in doing so, arms us better with the knowledge we need to proceed and refine those things we have learned into the design. So having the client fill out a design brief can give you a big step forward in the beginning as you try and sort out who you are working for and exactly what they need. Also make sure you check out their competition and see how they have responded to certain elements and approaches from others in the field. This could give you an added advantage in the beginning.
- Brainstorming: is another creative process. The brainstorming is as crucial and fluid part of the process wherein we just set our minds on the path towards our end goals and see the numerous ways in which we come up with to tackle the issue. This is done with the client and stake holders it gives us a clear idea on how to tackle an issue. This is the process which involves whole mountain of data.
- Sorting: After the brainstorming session with the ton load data, we go back to our secret HQ (headquarters) and we take the time to actively pour through the notes, picking out the workable ideas and tossing the rest. Sometimes these processes can be so cumbersome to sort and to some it could give us brain hemorrhage!
- Refine & Distill We begin to refine and distill (this is not about making liquor) the concept to help find the approaches that we thing, will work best for the client. Most of designer would go ahead with a couple of options they have and present it to the client in different ways.
- Sketching: We then, draw some doodles and sketches of those ideas. This is an in-depth and time consuming step that the clients rarely see So like with a few of our other steps, they do not take this part of the process into consideration when they are formulating their expectations and time lines.
- First Drafts Once we have shown the ideas to the clients & stakeholders, they then decide where they want the project to go. They take in what we have shown them and they determine which route that we have devised best suites what they were looking for. Now this is the part where hmmm… and go
- Back to HQ: After we have absorbed all the blows, below the belt punches and digested all of the feedback that we receive from the client, we then take everything back to the proverbial drawing board, to further refine the idea and actually move the project into the last stage of the creative process.
- Designing: Following nearly the same pattern as the sketching only with more depth and detail, this step takes the refined idea that the client chose in the draft stage and actually designs it completely. Through hours and days of dedicated effort, we transform our drafts and sketches into the completed design that we have been working towards all along. Though this is the part when the clients thinks Yup! This is it! Lets Partee! We say, Not Yet!
- Feedback: From our communities, fanatics or others in the field can provide much more critical feedback for your designs to sharpen them overall. This is a vital part of growing your skills and moving ahead in your work, which in other ways also benefits the client in the end.
- Final draft & delivery: Once we have received the final feedback from our secret society, we can begin to finalize the design for the project. These final tweaks and adjustments can be very time consuming and very demanding but this is the part of the process which needs to be done with utmost care. And finally when our feet gets wobbly and tears brim our eyes and we hand over the baby to its new parents
- The final step is us running behind the client to get the final payment – Oh that part is ours!
Thanks for reading. If you like this article please share it, if you hate it…whatever!