A series of articles written to help you save money and get the most out of your collaboration with Plan 9 Design.

How To Spend a LOAD of Money on Your Graphic Designer

And So It Begins

At the outset of the project, assemble as large a team as possible. No one should be designated as the project leader or the official decider.  "Design by committee" means more billable hours for the designer, as your group enjoys multiple false starts and a free-spirited lack of clear direction.


Labor (with complications) of Love

Let's say the hypothetical project is a fund-raising brochure for your non-profit organization. It's to have a unifying theme or concept behind it. The designer is to come up with two or three ideas for a theme or concept. Do not accept sketches or verbal descriptions of concepts from the designer. Insist that he or she present close-to-finished mock-ups of, say, the cover and a content page for consideration from your team.


Ask everyone on the entire planet what they think of each idea, fail to reach a consensus, then reject all the ideas and ask that the designer come up with 2 or 3 more.


Production. Or in this case, "FAT STACKS OF CASH!"

A concept has been decided upon and work is commenced. This is where the money, potentially, can really start rolling in. If the client is to supply the photography, it benefits the designer's bottom line most  if you ask him or her to provide a rough layout with rough draft copy and boxes where it is assumed the photographs will be placed. Throughout production continually revise the copy so that the word count is drastically changed with each revision. This will require the designer to re-layout each page from scratch in order to fit the copy. When photographs do arrive, chances are they won't even remotely fit the layout the designer has created so the page(s) will have to be re-designed again. Cha-ching!!!


Are We There Yet?

So we're getting close to the finish line and the windfall which the designer has been enjoying has slowed to a trickle.  What? Did you say you haven't shown any of this to the ultimate decision maker, the person who can accept or reject the entire project? You should probably do that now before you print 5,000 of these things. Go ahead.  I'll wait.


So he said he doesn't like the photography, but couldn't explain why. The  copy  doesn't have the right "tone of voice",. He kinda hates the whole thing really. He wants us to scrap  it and start over.


WOOOOOOO!!! we're going to Disneyland!!!


OK, OK, How NOT to Spend a Load on Your Designer

Everybody has to get paid, but contrary to the  above, I really don't enjoy seeing clients spend a lot of money on my services when there are more efficient, less expensive ways to work through this process.


1.    Limit the amount of people on your team and people who are to have input into the project. Too many cooks really do spoil the broth. Delegate specific tasks (copy writing, copy editing, photography, etc.). Make sure your group understands the hierarchy of decision makers.


2. Some projects don't require a big idea or over-arching theme. For those that do, a quick sketch or verbal explanation of a concept is usually less expensive than a finished, digital mock-up.


3. If possible, finalize copy WELL BEFORE layout begins. Whoever needs to approve the copy or make edits needs to see the copy now.


4. Include the big wigs at key points in the process: concept approval, copy approval, the first rough draft. If they don't want to be bothered at these interim stages, you can't be blamed for not giving them the opportunity.