When Exactly Should Your Design Work Come Cheap?
Have you ever heard clients asking you why your prices are so high in a world where they can get a logo design for their company for less that $5? Have you ever been told that “it’s just a logo; anybody can do it for better fees?” And were you ever faced with the dreadful situation of a client refusing to pay for your work because he/she considers the final product isn’t worth as much as you pretend?
In our world, people are more than willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a cavity fill without flinching, but when it comes to logo design or web design, they are suddenly fully aware of what one’s work, skills, time, effort and professionalism is worth. There are plenty of reasons why a website and logo design shouldn’t cost $150, and many other more why you should think very well before lowering your fees . When should your design work come cheap? Let’s take a look behind the industry’s curtain and clear up the air.
People Want Perfect Design but Are Not Willing to Pay for It. Why?
We came a long way until we realized that we need a good logo design for our companies, brands, and personal projects. According to a recent marketing study, CEO’s and managers stated that a well-crafted design “improves brand and quality perception, which in turn increases revenues and profits. In today’s markets, there is nothing more important than that.” On the other hand, we show a common and extended understanding of the fact that a simple logo is a game changer. It can make or break a business, as its main role is to make the brand stand out of the crowd, instill a feeling of worthiness, trust, and authenticity in the hearts of the clients, building confidence and, of course, generating profit.
However, even if sizeable companies and even smaller ones apparently agree on the importance of showing a powerful logo to instantly engage clients, they don’t think the actual logo should cost much. Professional designers everywhere meet this paradox: while some brands clearly afford to spend more than $5 on a logo, they will frown upon a $200 or $500 logo design bill. There are some reasons for this attitude, and they can be pretty much explained by psychology and social studies.
People underrate your work and design in general. You just… draw something, using fast and efficient software, it’s not like you are sending rockets into space. Design is easy, basically, and everybody could do it, including them – provided they had the time. But clearly, logo design shouldn’t be compared to dental surgery.
People think they know it all. As blunt as it may sound, this is the sad truth. Overconfident and loving to believe about themselves that they are somewhat creative, people will interfere in your design process pouring advice over you and requesting absurd or impossible changes.
People can’t objectively value a good design. Being an art, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. They can assess the true value of an IT project where the end-results are measurable and quantifiable, but they don’t know how to evaluate a good/bad design. They just like it, or they don’t.
People don’t really know what it takes to achieve a good design. All they see is this amazing, simple, elegant, powerful and meaningful logo and think that it was easy for you to make it. What, did it take more than two hours? How can a logo design take months? Maybe here there is a problem of communication between the designer and the client. Not having a clue about what a design process means, the client imagines you clicking a few buttons and coming up with a logo as fast as the magician takes out the rabbit from the hat. Perhaps making logo design less of a mystery to clients is a wise step to close this gap between what you know design is and what they think design is.
People fall for the lower price, oftentimes forgetting about quality. In this troubled market, the idea of minimal investment with maximal profit cannot be judged too hard. However, what many clients don’t understand is that they actually get what they pay for. In a world dominated by overnight-born designers with no skills and no design philosophy to back up their fees, clients go for the cheaper offer rather than for the better quality offer.
Do You Give Up and Follow the Trend?
Your clients may bombard you with a “truth” they really hold on to: “there are so many logo designers out there, why should I pick you and your astronomical fees?” After you heard this for a while and seem to have lost some projects all because of your bills, you might feel compelled to play the game that everybody plays these days: go for a lower price, promote discounts, work for free once to build trust and maybe hope for future contracts. By all means and purposes, this strategy will backfire and push you into a corner you will never be able to get out of. There is one rule and one rule only, perfectly coined by specialists in the field:
- Good cheap service isn’t fast
- Fast good service isn’t cheap
- Cheap fast service isn’t good
This is the holy trinity of highly professional logo design services, and clients are recommended to pick two out of three criteria among the “good”, the “fast” and the “cheap.”
As a professional logo designer who has a clear understanding of your own worth, lowering your price range is, in fact, detrimental. Taking a look at what others have to say about this, the negative effects of such decision can be summarized as follows:
If you charge less than you’re worth, you may pick up a few clients and some projects, but on the long term, you will sabotage yourself as you will never be able to higher the price after you offered a discount. Next time a client asks for your service, he will immediately discontinue the collaboration if he hears that you want to charge more. You got them used to discounts, and they will jump into the competitions’ wagon the next second. They will always want you to work cheap for them no matter the complexity of a potential future project.
The less you charge a client, the more pretentious and arrogant he will become. A smart client knows that if he paid top-dollar for your service he won’t need to become demanding or pushy, as for the money you take, you know exactly what to do. But if you sell yourself cheap, they will feel entitled to ask for more without wanting to pay a cent more than the established price.
You will never get a truly important project. Some consider a logo design a run-of-the-mill marketing task they need to check before getting to the more important stuff. But you risk not getting the more important task as having a fat budget for a serious project will lead them to one of your competitors who is not shy to hold his ground and ask for what the job is truly worth.
If you built a reputation for being a high-end designer with high-end rates, you need to stick to that. You may lose a project here and there but in the long term, you will be the one known for offering top quality at the correct price. Smart customers will recommend you to other smart customers and you will truly be able to build a solid network and be offered the best jobs.
So, When Exactly Should Your Design Work Come Cheap?
The correct answer would be “never.” If you get rid of cheapsters and shallow clients, you will find that there are customers who are willing to pay big bucks for state-of-the-art logo designs or other designs you are able to provide. You may offer a discount, however, when you feel that the client is trustworthy enough to receive a bonus from you – after you clearly mentioned it was just a bonus, not the new price tag.
You may lower the price if a long term client has a one-time financial rough patch – it is risky, but if you developed a trustworthy and transparent relationship with him, you may gamble just a little. You may also offer a discount for bulk-projects, like any other company does. But the list stops here. You need to be able to value your own work and make others understand the criteria used in the evaluation. As we all know, logo design isn’t easy, or superficial. But if you sell yourself as easy and superficial, your customers will treat you the same way.
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