JessKat (jesskat) wrote in artists_beware,

Question about charging for commercial work

Greetings. I've watched this comm for ages, never posted anything before.

This isn't a warning, more of a general question regarding doing graphic designs for a professional company. I skimmed through the tags, but couldn't find a post describing a similar situation, although I know there have been discussions on the subject here before.

I was recently contacted by someone on DeviantArt who is looking for artists to design a logo and a mascot for their company. Here is the description they referred me to:

"If your art is accepted, you could be famous World Wide!!

I need branding for my company which competes in the marketplace with Chiquita bananas - here's what I need for starters:

1) A 3 color (spot color - not process) vector logo similar to this: [link] but with a twist: instead of an oval, we're gonna use a vertical "rectangle" with rounded corners (radius corners). Here are the 3 colors we will be using: #3c75cc and #59b03d and #f8e36c and the boxes will be white - so we actually have 4 colors to work with.

2) If I like your style, there will be t shirts and other cool stuff.

3) We will need a Mascot too! Something cool like this guy: [link]

Name of the company is PanaPlatano - so work it into your draft rendering, ok?

We don't want anything too fantasy or cute. Think Chiquita, Fritos, Cheetos, Doritos, etc..
This product is going National and International - this could be your opportunity to be WORLD FAMOUS!!

I will need all graphics in vectors and preferably in .ai format (illustrator).

I will make payment(s) via Paypal. 50% when I approve initial renders (you may add watermark) and 50% upon delivery.

I have allocated $50 to the logo and $50 to the mascot. For a talented person, this should be a snap!

I expect maximum 3 render examples until we get the graphic to my liking.

Then, if I like what I see, I will give you the entire project: Logo, mascot, t shirts, etc..

I need this done asap...

Submit your renders"

Now, I know similar offers have been spotlighted here before and there are definitely some things I'm wary about. Especially the familiar "we can't pay you much, but it'll make you famous!" pitch. They also seem to be expecting samples from every artist they're considering and then take their pick, which could mean they'll only be paying the one artist they choose while getting lots of free designs.

The prices they're quoting sound very low to me ($50 for the logo and $50 for a company mascot, both of which are supposedly going to be used nationally and internationally for a company hoping to compete with a major brand). Several others have pointed this out and, since their offer already sounded a little fishy from the start, I told the person that I would be asking more for the task and that he'd probably have a hard time finding anyone to do the job for the price he's suggesting. I expected that to be the end of it, but he contacted me again asking me to name my fee. He's since replied to some of the other commenters in the original thread, seemingly agreeing to pay more if their work meets his demands.

I'm still not entirely trusting of his intentions, as he still seems to be expecting art before payment. But I'm willing to negotiate with him and see if he will agree to my terms. A good place to start would, of course, be naming my price.

SO, here's my question: how much should one charge for a commercial logo or mascot design that is intended for international business use?

Now, I should state that I don't have a graphic design degree, I'm an amateur artist. While I could use the money, I also don't want to be duped into doing something for peanuts. I doubt this guy is worth taking seriously, but for future reference it'd be nice to hear people's thoughts on this. I tried doing a little research for a good pricing policy, but found a lot of varied opinions. Some people felt it depends on how good an artist you are (which I don't buy), some say $50 sounds reasonable while others warn that anything below $200 for a commercial logo is selling yourself short.
I should perhaps also mention that I live in Europe whereas this person (according to their profile) lives in the US. That always makes me a little wary when it comes to signing contracts, because my chances of suing, should anything go wrong, are close to nil. They could just take my work and disappear and I would have no way of hunting them down.

(Since this isn't really a warning, I refrained from posting the person's username. If people think it sounds fishy enough that they'd rather avoid this person, the mods can let me know and I can post the username and link to the original thread.)
Tags: advice for artists, discussion

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