We promise design pricing is not a dark art, we have a system
As a nation we can find it hard to talk about money, at GAS we have practised at getting better. This article shines some light on how we go about pricing for the intangible service of GAS branding and communication design.
Our Design Background
Between us, (Gail And Steve), we have over 40 years design experience. This means we have encountered many different client business communication problems before and are well equipped to get to the essence of them more directly, creating a less stressful project process. This is a large part of our value, (making your life easier), and is one of the reasons we charge at the level we do.
When you work with us, it is never just one of us that will work on your project, you are engaging a design team with supporting skills, that will make the design stronger and the process smoother. We discuss and feedback on each others design proposals, early sketches, presentations and check final artwork or digital layout before print or publications. A big part of what we do is ask questions other designers might not.
Two brains are better than one
FREE Project Scope Chat
Before pricing, we offer a free project scope chat. It gives a client a chance to get to know us and how we think, but it also allows us to find out the core aspects of the project and what we might need to allow for in costings. (we don’t give a set time on this, as this can vary dependent on size of project and how clear a client is on what they require.
We don’t just accept and carry out a task given to us, but we question if this is the right approach for what you are trying to achieve
During the Project Scope Chat or by email we check if we will be the right fit for a potential client. Sometimes we offer an alternative approach, if we feel design will not add sufficient value to their business (can happen). The sort of things we ask are:
- If a budget has already been considered and set aside for the project.
- Timescales, as this can give flexibility in costings.
If you are relaxed about timings, we can fit your work around other projects – more efficient for us, so there may be some cost savIngs to you. However, if you want the project in a rush, we might have to move existing work to one side, at a potential cost to us, which we may have to pass on to a client.
- We check if you have considered all the non-design components that might be needed to complete the project, for example print, photography, either commissioned or stock, illustration, video etc. Do you already have a cost in mind for these supporting aspects? We can help with quotes and managing these aspects, but it’s useful to know before we put our quotes together, if there is someone you want to use for these parts or if you have no additional budget. This might change how we plan to design for your project.
Proposals & Quotes
For new clients with design costs above £500 (roughly), and existing clients with large projects, we will put together a proposal. This enables us to include within the proposal our understanding of the project brief, a little bit about how we work with you. The costs we include are detailed, broken down into line items so that you can see stage by stage the value of each stage and what it will include. It helps a client to understand the full design and production process and the work involved. We itemise all costs no matter how small a project.
A typical design process will include:
- an initial briefing meeting (often the Project Scope chat included for free)
- Initial designs (early ideas to check we have interpreted your requirements correctly)
- A feedback meeting (over the phone or in person dependent on size of project)
- Development of designs (this will depend on feedback from meeting)
- Draft of artwork for print or test publication of website
- Revisions and final sign off of print ready artwork or digital materials
In our costings, the design stages are costed approximately on how long we think the design time will take for each stage. There is also time not allocated to direct designing, when we are creating schedules, following up communications, explaining next stages, print production or project requirement. These all fall under the category of project management and tend to take up 10-15% of our time on a project, so we do include this as a line item within most projects. Planning is a key part of what we do to keep a project on track, take a look at our blog on planning to find out more.
Print Management & Art Direction
We can manage print and art direction of photography for you. As mentioned at the start of the article, we both have several years experience, so know the problems that are likely to arise with print and photography, so we are able to offers solutions quickly. With print we can specify paper and finishes that will make your marketing materials that little bit more special. We know the language of print and are able to confidently liaise with the printer for delivery at the time required. With photography we understand how it will be used when included in a design, so able to help with composition and styling to ensure the images are fit for purpose.
Hourly Rates vs Fixed Costs
We provide fixed costs to our clients. They are based on an hourly rate to ensure we make a reasonable living and can support our families and have one holiday a year. We use time tracking apps and have an archive of previously completed projects so can get an accurate guide to the time similar projects or stages of projects have taken.
Costs are one area we try not to surprise you
So unlike freelancers, if you haven’t changed the brief or scope of the project, but we take longer, you won’t get charged extra. If there is a change to the brief or scope we will let you know how much any additional work will be and won’t proceed with extra work until you have agreed the additional costs are fair.
Investment in Design
Design can have a big impact on a company’s confidence in talking about their business and ultimately increased sales. Making a good first impression is essential to define your business.
Our pricing reflects that you are buying in an experienced design team, with diverse perspectives, to look at your business communications holistically, clarifying your business processes to your clients and customers.