I agreed with him.
Step 1: Define success for your design business
Although this may sound odd, the first step in making your logo design process more profitable is to define success for your design business. Do you thrive on good design? money? free time? lots of clients? prestige? What is it that makes you tick? What makes you want to get up in the morning and start designing. This will help you decide what steps to take next in order to make your logo design process more worthwhile.
Obviously, this article will focus more on individuals who are driven by profits and business success. I’m not saying that these people don’t care about good design, but they also care deeply about making their design business a profitable venture. Defining success for your business is the first step toward your idea of real success.
Step 2: Define your worth
All designers are worth different amounts. Each of us brings unique skillsets, experiences, backgrounds, and goals to the table. In addition each of us value our talents and abilities differently. In order to make sure your logo design process (or any design process for that matter) is worthwhile to you, you need to define your worth. It will be much easier for you to justify charging higher rates for a logo design if you can explain to your client the expertise, experience, background and skills you bring to the process.
In addition, if you are expecting to get paid much more than you are actually viewed to be worth, perhaps this exercise can help you moderate your rates so that you and your clients are both pleased with the cost. After all, many times some money is better than no money many times.
Step 3: Explain the essentials of logo design to your clients
I can’t begin to count the number of clients that have approached me with a sketchbook in hand and said something like “You know how to work Illustrator, right? I pretty much know what I’ll be needing and I just need someone to whip it up for me in Illustrator.” Now first, let me say, there is a place for clients like these. Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with a client who has this mentality. They are not, however, high-paying clients. So if you are looking for ways to make your logo design process more profitable, you’ll need to educate them.
Explain to your clients how important it is to consider target audience, business goals, and the competition’s logos. Explain that logo design is not a two-day process and involves much more than just drawing a few shapes in illustrator. Help them realize that a logo is more than an image or an illustration, but a representation of the company for all to see.
As your client understands the work that will go into creating an effective logo, they will be more understanding and willing to pay a premium price.
Step 4: Establish a contract
I can’t stress this enough. One of the most common mistakes I see designers make when it comes to client relationships is not establishing a contract. For some reason, designers fear them. Frankly, I fear not getting paid for the work I do. Establishing a contract that you can both agree on gives you a chance to negotiate pricing, timeline, requirements, etc. before ever getting to work on their project. This means that when they come to you at the end of the project and hope to pay you much less than what you agreed on, you can kindly refresh their memory and collect full price.
Step 5: Put in the hours!
Of course, after you explain all the hard work that goes in to designing an effective logo, you have to actually do the work you’ve explained. This means doing some good research, asking your client the right questions, avoiding common logo design mistakes, and putting in the hours necessary to give your client a phenomenal logo. If you manage your contract well, explain the importance of research and other behind the scenes operations, and then put in the hours, you will be more eligible to charge your client what you deserve for your work.
Step 6: Remember, business is business
Lastly, don’t be afraid to collect the money you deserve. You have worked hard for this client and deserve to get paid for the work you have done. Remember, while you may love designing, you are in business to make money. Sometimes clients try to convince designers that they are doing them a favor by letting them design their logo. They use phrases like “It’ll be a great portfolio piece”, “It will give you some great practice” or “A lot of people will see it so it’ll give you some great exposure”. Don’t let clients smooth-talk their way out of paying you for the services you have provided.
Step 7: Follow up
After all is said and done with this logo design project, be sure to follow up with your client. Let them know that you are available for other design work (whether you are a web designer, print designer, or something else) to go along with the logo you have created for them. Ask them if they have any acquaintances or friends who might be in need of your services, and offer to help them with anything else inside your realm of professionalism.
This will help them realize that you want to help their company grow. It will also implant in their minds that you are always happy to help a client in need. When opportunities arise in the future, they will be more likely to remember you.
That’s it. What else can you add?
That’s essentially the path I follow when working with a client to design a logo. I’m not a millionaire, but I get paid well and on-time. What other suggestions or questions do you have about making your logo design process more profitable?