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  1. #1
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    The problem with a graphic designer

    Hey guys!
    I want to get some points of view from graphic designers about an experience I recently had with one. First, we accorded a budget of 400 dollars for a job that included some Flash, some design and of course, nice presentation. The deadline was around 2 weeks; I didn’t ask him for anything because I trusted him. So, when he delivers I was unhappy with some of the designs and he comes all grumpy at me, telling me what my mistakes were and that if I wanted him to fix those mistakes he would charge me with another 200, so I accepted. Then I realized that some text was wrong and I sent him the correct one and he charged me another 80 bucks just for making him so the same thing twice. Is this normal? What would you have charged me? What could I have gotten for 680 bucks from the beginning?

  • #2
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    He might have been frustrated, too. It could happen. One works to what they thought was an agreed spec, and the customer comes back with - that's not quite what I want, now.

    So, it's just communication. I think an artist or programmer, as a pro, taking money for the service, needs to be flexible. It should be true in an office setting, and true as a contractor. You have to expect the customer to come back with - but, what if we do it . . . this way? If it's his or her mistake, that's another matter.

    It still might cost, though. It's just best to think about what you want, and work it through. And then say - that's our spec. That's what we want. And ask - are you flexible? If the spec changes, how much can you change with it? How much more can we expect to be billed, etc? And be willing to take it or leave it. If it's fair, take it. That's the best stance in any negotiation.

  • #3
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    Why was he telling you your mistakes.


    It seems to me, that you wouldn't have had to be charged for amendments if he had done his job in the first place and got a detailed brief from you.

    Normaly I wouldn't charge for any amendments as 9 times out of ten your never going to get the design for a client right first time.

    Seems to me like he is taking you for a ride.

    Altho being british 680 dollars is around 340 british stirling. Now as not knowing the entire work you wanted it seems like a lot of money for what he has done for you.

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    thank you guys,
    yeah, i didn't specify the details, all i ever did was told my designers what i want, and they gave feedbacks periodically, and i did that this time, i think business can not only rely on trust, something should be specified.

  • #5
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    post a url of your site so the rest of us can judge if you got your moneys worth in terms of work. Without looking at what you got for $680 it's very hard to state whether you were better of going somewhere else.

    Also - designers attitudes towards amendments and rates will vary according to their skill level and the nature of the work. As a client one would assume you were made aware of this beforehand otherwise I'm inclined to believe the desiger did squeeze you for extra money just because he/she was aware you didn't have experience getting this type of work done.

    In any case, I sympathize with what happened in your case. $680 is a lot of money to give to someone just to be told that you're responsible for the mistake. Unless you gave the designer carte blanche and then later reversed your position and asked for 10 major changes that amounted to a complete rework there is no reason for the designer to act unproffessionally.

    Personally, I would have done the first 2-3 ammendments free unless they amounted to over 8-9 hours of work. But that might be because I work freelance.

  • #6
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    $400 sounds really rock-bottom for the scope of your request (multiple design directions, Flash programming, and a two week turnaround). Was this a friend of yours? This is the rate someone still in college would charge so they would have a real-world client in their portfolio. Consider this: a temp who comes to your office to do PowerPoint presentations gets $50 an hour.

    Good Flash programmers charge $80-125 per hour for simple production. Experienced designers often charge a flat rate for design, and an hourly rate for implementation. They will also discuss with you what your vision of the project is, what the branding guidelines for your company may be, and be very explicit about how many revision rounds are included in the price. They spell it out in writing so that there's no confusion.

    Do you have in writing the scope of the project? Did you give this designer any directions, samples, or sources that could be referenced as clear indicators of what you wanted? Did you provide finalized spellchecked, proofread copy in digital form? Were you able to articulate what it was about the design comps that were lacking? If so, then yes, he's a hack.

    If, on the other hand, you said that you'd like him to design "something" and anything to the effect of "I know you'll do something good," without any guidance, then you were indeed remiss. It would be akin to approaching a stranger, asking them to pick out an outfit for you, then waiting to see what they brought back. It's a recipe for disappointment. Ditto if the original copy was provided was incorrect. HTML pages might need to be rewritten, Flash buttons and layout adjusted, etc.

    Finally, you need to be able to articulate what it is about the designs that you don't like. For example:

    DO: The color scheme is too brash for our industry. We need muted colors.
    DON'T: I don't like it. It's ugly.

    DO: The distressed type is inappropriate for our company.
    DON'T: It wasn't what I was expecting.

    DO: If you refer back to the samples I sent you, you'll note that they use (larger type, younger people, outdoor scenes. etc.) which which brings across the message we want to convey.
    DON'T: It's boring.

    DO: On IE explorer the columns overlap and I have no access to the dropdown menu
    DON'T: It doesn't work

    Sorry this is so long. I've experienced my share of the good and the bad on both sides, and I've found that the communicative skills of both client and designer play a key roll in determining the satisfaction of both. I hope this helped.
    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

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  • #7
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    Flash developers don't come cheap. As Marilynn said, $80-$125/hour is pretty industry standard. That being said, is they were in the middle-range of that, your initial price agreement would warrant only 4 hours of work. Depending on what you wanted in flash, that wouldn't necissarily get very far.

    Now, from what you said, I would assume you didn't give any direction since you just "Trusted the designer". Regardless of trust, if they don't know what they are looking for, how are they supposed to know what to do? It is kind of like asking someone "Hey, I would like a fruit please." and them bringing back a banana. You say you don't like bananas, and want them to get you a different fruit. They can make a good design, but if they have nothing to go on, it may not be appropriate or what you are looking for.

    Revisions costing extra money makes sense, because each revision takes extra time. Usually though, designers provide rough sketches or mock-ups of different design ideas, and run it by the client to get a feel of what they are looking for. Once they have a few down, the client chooses 1, or asks for more sketches, saying what aspects they like and which they didn't. Then once the designer has a feel for what the client wants with their direction, it is easier for them to come up with something that both parties will be satisfied with.

    Usually, once a sketch is chosen, the designer will ask for you to sign off on proofs, basically to say "I like this design, this is what I want. I will not come back in a week, when you are done, and say I would like design #3 instead of design #2." And that makes sense. Usually, from the way I work, I have a set number of milestones, and I get them to sign off proofs along the way. Usually there are the sketches where you choose which direction they want to go. Once I have the design done up on the computer, I will ask for them to sign off on the design. Then I'll move onto coding it, and getting it to work, and then they sign off again, and its done. That being said, if at any of the points there is a change that needs to be made, it can be made easier at that point.

    For example, if I do a sketch, they like it, then I lay it out, and they like it, and then I code it, and they say they don't like the sketch after all, if I am not charging for revisions, I just wasted all that time, and have to restart. On the other hand, if I do a sketch, and they like it, then design a more polished copy, and they say "I don't like the colour scheme", it is much easier to fix at this point, as I haven't wasted time coding, and thus won't need to recode any of that.

    Some designers use a triangle to represent what you want vs. what you get. Quality, Speed, and Price.

    If you want something fast & nice, it isn't going to be cheap. If you want something fast & cheap, it isn't going to be as pretty as it could be. If you want something pretty and cheap, it will take longer. You can't have everything for nothing.


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