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Earlier tonight, I was approached by a former college classmate about drawing up a small logo for her to use for I'm presuming a home-run business of some kind.

The message she sent me:
Would there be anyway you could do a quick logo for me for a business? I wouldn't be able to pay you...at least right now... but Im just looking for something quick, easy, and small

I haven't responded to her yet because I'm honestly not sure how to approach this. On the one hand, it could well be simply a case of not having the money to pay for the work up front, but the wording of her message almost seems as though paying me for the work is coming as an afterthought, which makes me uneasy. I have done work on payment installments, but again, the wording of her message seems as though she's got no money whatsoever to apply to even a deposit on the work.

Thoughts on what would be a good way to proceed with this?

ETA: I've gone over all the comments - thanks ever so much for all the feedback, I appreciate it immensely! - and I've sent off the following response to her:
Hey <redacted>.
If you would be interested in commissioning me for a logo design, my current starting rate is $50 for the design itself and $250 for the sale of non-profit, indefinite usage rights. (For-profit usage rights would require a seperate contract, with cost determined on the basis of what the projected profit margin would be on the sale of any items bearing the logo.)
Design work in particular is an exceptionally time consuming process, even for smaller pieces and, while I appreciate your interest in my work, I'm not able to take on unpaid work of that magnitude.

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( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 15th, 2013 05:04 am (UTC)
If you do this, don't expect to be paid. They say "quick" twice, and refer to it as "easy" and "small", effectively trivializing any effort this would take you.

The tone suggests that this is someone inexperienced with the illustration industry who is asking for it as a favor and any payment would be a small token thing (eg $10) rather than legitimately hiring you.

edit: I suppose that didn't give you any advice on how to handle it. First of all you'd need to explain copyright issues to her and discuss contracts and money, there is a significant possibility she'll balk at this.
Alternatively you could decline.

Edited at 2013-04-15 05:13 am (UTC)
Apr. 15th, 2013 05:49 am (UTC)
I was thinking that I would offer her a link to my commission form and see how that goes, but I get the same feeling as you - that I would get a token amount that was minimal, if I got anything for the work at all.

Thanks Shuki. :)
Apr. 18th, 2013 06:37 pm (UTC)
I love your response in the edit. Very professional.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 20th, 2013 05:55 am (UTC)
Thanks. :)
Apr. 20th, 2013 05:55 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Apr. 15th, 2013 08:43 am (UTC)
This. Even if this person means well, OP, they don't seem to have any experience with the industry and are less likely to be a reliable client
Apr. 15th, 2013 05:15 am (UTC)
I think I would explain that this is a job, something you do as a means to make money, and while you are flattered that she is interested in your work, that you would be unable to take on any unpaid work at this time.

I would then go on to offer your commission prices and let them know that you would be happy to work with them if they are interested in commissioning you at your standard rate. </p>

Don't let people take advantage of you regardless of having gone to school with you. You deserve to be paid god your time and effort no matter how, supposedly, quick and easy the work is.

Apr. 15th, 2013 05:16 am (UTC)
For, not god. Stupid auto correct.
Apr. 15th, 2013 05:52 am (UTC)
I really like this approach and I think that I will do something along these lines. Thanks!

And yeah, I have to say it drives me just a little bit batty that so many people come out of the woodwork wanting freebies or heavy discounts because we're friends. I had a friend hint pretty blatantly that he was hoping I would do a freebie for him if he gets me business by signal boosting my Facebook page and it took all my willpower not to snark at him for it. =__="
Apr. 15th, 2013 08:24 am (UTC)
Honestly; this.

But in anycase, I agree with what Lazer said. Sounds like a solid plan.
Apr. 15th, 2013 07:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it happens to me too.. =( That's why I just give them my commission information and try to be polite at the same time because some people just don't know how much work/effort goes into creating artwork.
Apr. 15th, 2013 05:28 am (UTC)
Echoing shuki on the way she's wording this being a blatant "I want to get this for little to nothing." If that's the attitude she carries beforehand you'd be safe to assume she's going to automatically turn down any realistic and fair compensation. That being said I would stick to your guns and tell her what your fair compensation would be worth, that it is how your industry works and see where it goes from there.
Apr. 15th, 2013 05:28 am (UTC)
Perhaps she can offer something in trade? Advertisement space on her website, or one of the products she is selling in trade for the work you're expected to do? If you're willing to work in trade, you can use the opportunity to inform your classmate that art is still a job and is still work, and even if she can't pay you monetarily, you still deserve to be paid for your time and effort, even if it is in trade for goods.
Apr. 15th, 2013 05:47 am (UTC)
I would take trade, but if I'm correct in my hunch, her business would be something along the lines of pet care, of which I would have no real use (I don't have any pets currently, as I don't have the finances to apply to the care they would need). It is an idea though. :)
Apr. 15th, 2013 05:53 am (UTC)
Thanks everyone for the suggestions and advice! I've got much food for thought now and I appreciate the help and feedback. :)
Apr. 15th, 2013 06:00 am (UTC)
I don't know what kind of a "friend" this is, but don't accept any kind of "pay later" scheme unless you're willing to write off not getting paid at all :/
So, unless this the kind of friend who does free stuff for you, too, I'd go with the above comments about being firm with your usual commission prices/practices.
Apr. 15th, 2013 06:46 am (UTC)
Sure, you could do a quick logo for her business. You wouldn't be able to do it right now..

But yeah, I've done logos; commissioned logo work is some of the most unrewarding work with the most clueless "I don't know what I want but I'll know it when I see it" penny pinchers who have no idea how much work goes into a logo. If she starts out with saying it's easy work and she can't pay you, avoid like the plague.

Seriously. Run, do not walk, the other way.
Apr. 15th, 2013 09:27 am (UTC)
Definitely with the sentiment of refusing the job, unless you're in a mood to "donate", in which case do as you please. But even then there's a good chance that it will involve a billion little changes and what have you.

She's already trivializing the amount of work that goes in, and that is a giant red warning sign. Even if you choose to educate her on pricing and image ownership and such, a lot of the time it seems those people then swing into "NOW YOU ARE *MINE*" 'customer's always right', 'i'm paying you and you must do EVERYthing I say' territory once they're educated. Even if it doesn't end up as nasty as that, if you do decide to take it make absolutely sure that you've got a good policy on revisions that you make available to her [as in, they're limited]
Apr. 15th, 2013 10:00 am (UTC)
(If you want to do it) say yes you can do it, it'll be £XX. Just be upfront with a quote. If she gets arsey about it you can then point out that it is actually a lot of work to create a unique logo and you're not financially secure enough to do work for free.

Fortunately it sounds you're too savvy to fall for the 'it'll be good advertising/good for portfolio' speech for wangling the work for free. Logo design isn't that easy as you have to do multiple designs, research that you're not too close to existing logos etc.

Also, quick reminder, you'll need to sort out the rights assignments too if you do the logo in the end.
Apr. 15th, 2013 12:31 pm (UTC)
Honestly everything about this note sounds like the person concerned has no clue whatsoever about the amount of work that goes into a logo project. They are one of those people who think that artists just produce 10 drawings a day with a wave of their pen. This isn't trying to be offensive, tons of people think like this. The DO ME A SKETCH people like you will just there and then in the next 1 minute produce a perfect likeness of their child/pet/whatever. It happens on TV and in movies, right?

Unless you really want to do them a favour, just decline and tell them you can't spare the time, a project like that is a lot more work than they'd guess and you have a lot of paid work to get on with. I've had to tell people this a bunch of times and I've yet to have anyone take offense.
Apr. 15th, 2013 04:50 pm (UTC)
As a graphic designer myself, don't do it. People have given you good reasons already so i wont go into detail. Bit every time ive done a freebie its backfired. Not worth your time and apparently not worth their money since they dont want to pay heh.
Apr. 15th, 2013 05:35 pm (UTC)
A large part of clients from hell is just about the pains of logo designing.
Apr. 15th, 2013 05:45 pm (UTC)
Usually talking about contracts, royalties, buying the license to use the logo (which ain't cheap!) in material, etc etc is enough to scare off people like this.

Don't do it. A; No money, no work and B; logos are anything but quick and cheap.
Apr. 18th, 2013 04:54 pm (UTC)
I think that response is well tailored to the situation, honestly. It lets the person know politely that you expect decent compensation for your time, and that you disagree with a logo being a 'quick' job.
Apr. 20th, 2013 05:56 am (UTC)
Thanks very much. I'm glad to know I worded it well. :)
Apr. 18th, 2013 11:46 pm (UTC)
I like the idea of contracts, and no spec work, give what you think is a fair price and if she's serious she can see maybe a couple preliminary sketches and then put some money up front. But she needs to understand that at some point you're going to need to see some payment.

But as been said before, logos are not quick they are quite complicated little designs. They're kind of like sushi in a way.
Apr. 18th, 2013 11:50 pm (UTC)
And you really DON'T have to do any work if it makes you uneasy.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )


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