Know Your Budget

Know your design budget

So you have an idea in your head about some graphics for a new social media campaign and have decided to look for a freelance graphic designer to help. Before you make the call, it’s a good idea to have a fairly clear idea about how much you’d like to spend.

You may be placing a lot of importance on the graphics as your company is falling behind some of it’s competitors and you wish to start having a stronger online presence in order to compete. Or equally it may be a less high priority job; your company is ticking along nicely, but you just want to highlight a niche range in your product line that you want to push for a while.

Firstly you need to try and get a fairly clear idea on the job itself. Is it going to be part of a larger marketing push involving things like web banners, e-shots or traditional leaflets and flyers? Is it going to run for a long time and if so would you be better to get a series of graphics with a family style and rotate them on a regular basis?

The same thought process could used if you are deciding to get a new logo design for a new business. Would it be beneficial or even affordable to have a look at branding as a whole at the same time, rather than be stuck with something that works on it’s own pretty well but looks weak when used in certain circumstances?

These are the types of things you might want to think about before embarking on possibly the wrong path. You may end up getting the whole job redone a year or so down the line purely just as a result of not having spent enough time figuring out what it is that will benefit your business the most.

There can be problems on both the side of the client and also the graphic designer if a fairly clear idea of the budget involved has not been discussed beforehand. As design is a subjective process - one designers idea of how many hours he or she should spend on a project will vary greatly from another’s - an agreed budget will give the designer a clear idea on how many hours to dedicate to it.

Logo design is a great example of how a time schedule can range from just an hour or two, to days or even weeks. A designer will normally dedicate their time in order to get the best results possible and work within their usual timeframe for the task, again this will differ from one designer to another according to how they like to work. Another factor to throw in would be the type of company the logo is for. A small hairdresser opening up a new shop with a limited budget would normally want less time spent than say a successful engineering company wishing to upgrade all of their marketing with a fresh new look. But it is amazing how little the customer sometimes thinks about the budget that could be involved and fails to convey this to the designer.

This can result in problems with regards to both the end product and also the total cost. It’s possible that although the result may be satisfactory to the client, the designer may well have been able to produce something way more sophisticated and beneficial to the company had they been aware of a larger budget being available. Conversely the designer may have placed a much higher value on the marketing they were asked to produce than the client and may end up spending way more time than expected.

Ultimately conversation is king. Ask plenty of questions… all freelance designers have different ways of working. Don’t be afraid to ask them for their thoughts on the proposed logo or social media campaign. They generally have plenty of experience and could well have a different or exciting way of looking at things that you have not thought about. But time is money unfortunately, so give them an accurate and realistic budget to work from.

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