Question about rates for freelance graphic work?

Subject: Question about rates for freelance graphic work?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 08:40:57 -0400


Keith Cronin wonders: <<I currently have a freelance opportunity to design a
company's logo, in addition to designing their web site. The web site I plan
to charge an hourly fee for, but I'm wondering if any special ramifications
apply to the creation of corporate logos.>>

The first one--and it's a biggie--is to clearly define up-front what rights
you're selling. If you sell the client "all rights" (common enough for a
logo, since they don't want any strings attached to its future use), you
should ask for more money because you're forfeiting the right to reuse the
graphic in any way in the future. That suggests you should charge a higher
rate than simply the hourly rate for creating it. In theory, "all rights"
doesn't include "moral rights" (e.g., you could prohibit them from using the
logo to advertise musak if that activity was something you considered
immoral <g> and therefore something that reflected badly upon you); in
practice, it can be tricky defining and policing moral rights.

A second thing to remember is that you shouldn't restrict yourself to simply
_creating_ the logo: extend that creation into a "corporate identity guide"
that describes (and provides examples of) how to use the logo on letterhead,
reports, business cards, invoices, e-mail messages, Web pages, etc. _Do_
define color choices (Pantone or Toyo for print; Web equivalents),
typefaces, and type sizes. _Don't_ be completely anal-retentive about this
guide--you do, after all, want them to use it--but provide simple, brief,
clear guidance that helps them use it consistently. This exercise also lets
you confirm that the logo that looks so wonderful in 24-bit color at
5-inch-sqaure size remains visible on their business cards--many beginners
forget this, leading to much gnashing of teeth later.

What rate to charge, I can't tell you--but if you hit the library, there
should be a book called the "Graphic Artist's Marketplace" (or something
similar) that discusses such issues. My ex was a graphic artist, and
probably still has this book, so if you draw a blank on the title, I can
check in with her for details. (I do recall her selling a logo a long time
ago and retaining only the rights to include it in her portfolio. Details
beyond that grow blurry.)

--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada

"Wisdom is one of the few things that look bigger the further away it
is."--Terry Pratchett

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