Low Budget Expectations

Hey! I won back a client! Almost lost her because she was frustrated with the rough stages of design. She kept showing me impossibly complex illustrations that she envisioned for a logo AND mascot/character in educational books and I kept saying, “Don’t be shocked by this scribble. It’s just shorthand for an idea. If I’m wrong about the idea I’m not investing my time in developing it to the finished level your expecting. We have to work together on this.”

For the first run she gave me carte blanche for coming up with ideas.

For the second run I followed her instructions exactly (borderline copy write infringement I tried steering away from). Still she was unhappy.

“You do realize that the person who did the Nike campaign got a $25,000 retainer so they could sit on their bum and doodle for a month or two, and then when they nailed down multiple examples of perfection they were rewarded another $100,000, right? Your budget is $350. You’ve seen my portfolio. You know I can finish. But I can’t invests weeks of work on ideas that will be rejected. Don’t be afraid of hurting my artist feelings. I’m not a sensitive soul like that – this is just my job and you, the customer, are always right. We just need to be realistic about how to approach this. I know you are creative too because of the skills you’ve mentioned so you are welcome to you are welcome to tackle this on your own and I’ll happily help you out with the polishing. Or if you want to look for another artist… but you’re going to run into the same limitations considering the budget.”

OF COURSE I WANT TO WORK WITH YOU!! I’m going to do some research and get back…

Yeah, I thought so. ‘Cause I’m awesome and willing to help out an organization. I know, right? Why would someone actually care about a Mickey Mouse budget like that? Yep, pocket change in the grand scheme of things, especially after the real life hours are added up. But… it’s a far reaching organization, I will insist on recognition and there are so many spin off opportunities. Suppose they get Canadian grants for illustrating those books? Ka-ching! They will need a website of course… several in fact if they have one per division / age group. Posters? Brochures? Business cards? Postcards? If I endear myself with a few hours of sitting on my bum doodling, but at the same time treating it like the business it is (don’t take advantage of hungry artists), guess who’s name will come up when the serious business budget rolls in.