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JDP
12-06-2004, 07:19 AM
Hi, I've searched a lot of forums and can't seem to get a definitive answer on this question. I make the majority of my income as a video editor and am not really sure what to charge for additional graphics work. The client in question is a very big one and I'm sure they know what the going rate is, so I don't want to overcharge them. I basically have to create a graphic, the program logo on a disk, to be used to cover up some nudity. I will also be doing the compositing. If anyone could give me some ballpark figures or steer me towards somewhere I could find relevant information it would be much appreciated.

TIA

alex-tomlinson
12-06-2004, 09:54 AM
Hi J,

As a UK illustrator who uses C4D almost exclusively I should be in the perfect position to help you..... unfourtunately I haven't a clue. The problem with pricing for design/illustration work has been getting worse in recent years to the point where there just don't seem to be any rules now and we are generally at the mercy of the clients, invariably in a 'take it or leave it' situtation. Although the senior designer on a high profile weekly magazine admitted to me recently that he found the whole question of negotiating fees for comissions to be acutely confusing and embarrassing, so it's not just our side of the fence that's in trouble.

The AOI (see below) is in the process of putting together some pricing guidelines across the board after having canvassed the entire illustration community and they are due to release the results this month, hopefully this will give us all some kind of ballpark figures to work to.

Best I can suggest right now is that you check out the forums at the association of illustrators http://www.theaoi.com/ follow the links to discussion - professional practice forum and post a request there (you'll probably have to register first), try to be as specific as possible about the job (nobody wants or will expect you to reveal all the confidential details of the job or the client), the size of image, it's usage (will it be uk or worldwide, for a limited or unlimited period, will you be selling them the copyright for the logo - add a zero to the final figure), how long you reckon it will take. You should find that you get a decent response hopefully from someone with more experience of this particular type of commission.

Remember that unless you specifically sell your rights to the image (and sign a document to that effect) you control it's use, if they want total control/rights over the logo/design then they have to pay a premium for it. The actual physical labour of doing the job may only be worth a few hundred quid but giving them copyright and all moral rights to the image is usually a question of 1000 - 4000+ on top of that depending how big they are and how widespread the final image will be. Get it all in writing or you may find this causes problems in the future (for instance if you are assured it will only be used for a limited time on one product in the UK and a few years down the line you find it on their entire range worldwide - that's cheeky and requires an additional fee) you are essentially granting them a license to use the image/design for a specified period in a specified location for a specified purpose anything which subsequently deviates from that is a breach of that agreement/license and requires restitution and a good slap.

At the end of the day it boils down to your relationship with the client, how much you trust them, will you need work from them in future etc. Never be afraid to tell them to stick it. And never drop your price (which will already be insufficient as prices for things like book jackets and magazine work haven't changed since I graduated in 89!) in order to get work as you then undermine yourself, your work and the already shaky ground that we are all currently treading on :)

Best of luck mate!

JDP
12-06-2004, 10:34 AM
Thanks Alex for your reply, I shall check out the link you provided. It all seems rather complicated. Fortunately the client is one I trust, I have been working for them for a couple of years now and they have come to rely heavily on me and my partners. Once I get a rough idea of what to charge them I will sound them out without to much fear of losing work. I'd just like to ask them for a plausible amount without underselling myself as it will set a precedent for future work. As for pay not changing since 1989 I know where your coming from, I've been working in TV since 1985 and wages have taken a massive dive.:sad:

Thanks again
JDP

BazC
12-07-2004, 08:48 AM
This is a subject I HATE and I avoid pricing jobs wherever possible (I mostly leave it to my agent ) It would be nice to set an hourly rate, decide how long it should take and do some simple maths but in reality it's never as straightforward. I've been a professional illustrator for about 12 years and I still have difficulty estimating how long a job will take (and if I do estimate it's usually wrong!) and if I priced work like that it would probably be way to expensive and I'd lose half my work to other illustrators!The truth is most of the time you charge what you think you can get!

"The problem with pricing for design/illustration work has been getting worse in recent years to the point where there just don't seem to be any rules now and we are generally at the mercy of the clients, invariably in a 'take it or leave it' situtation."

My experience as well.

"Remember that unless you specifically sell your rights to the image (and sign a document to that effect) you control it's use, if they want total control/rights over the logo/design then they have to pay a premium for it. The actual physical labour of doing the job may only be worth a few hundred quid but giving them copyright and all moral rights to the image is usually a question of 1000 - 4000+ on top of that depending how big they are and how widespread the final image will be. Get it all in writing or you may find this causes problems in the future (for instance if you are assured it will only be used for a limited time on one product in the UK and a few years down the line you find it on their entire range worldwide - that's cheeky and requires an additional fee) you are essentially granting them a license to use the image/design for a specified period in a specified location for a specified purpose anything which subsequently deviates from that is a breach of that agreement/license and requires restitution and a good slap."

Sadly not my experience :o( I suppose it depends which field you're in but in mine - wildlife illustration for magazines and books - the client ALLWAYS expects the copyright to be included in the basic fee (ie no additional 1000 -4000, just the few hundred!) I lose all rights to the image and some of my clients have used my work over and over, REALLY pisses me off! I also rarely get a written contract.

It's good to hear that the AOI are still trying to get on top of this and it would be good to get some industrywide guidelines. The problem is that there are dozens (hundreds?) of good illustrators leaving college every year prepared to work for peanuts to get started and there's less and less work around. I'm working harder for less money than I was 10 years ago! :o(

On a lighter note, my first freelance illustration job was for a local company who wanted some architectural work. I quoted around 500 I think, the art director laughed and said that's not enough, we'll pay 1000! It's never happened since though lol! - Baz

alex-tomlinson
12-07-2004, 09:46 AM
Baz,

Always nice to hear that it's not just me getting the smelly end of the stick :)

You're right about the hundreds of new faces coming onto the scene every year, when I graduated in 89 (Harrow Art School - now the 'University of Westminster') we were the first lot to get a degree in pure illustration (before that it was just an option for Graphic designers or a Btec) now every old poly is a uni and they are all churning out kids with illustration degrees. On top of that you've always had all the fashion designers, fine artists and graphos who can't make it in their own disciplines deciding that Illustration is an easier option, this does mean that every now and then you get someone with a really fresh approach and coming up with some blinding work. It also means that the market gets regularly flooded with people who don't understand it and undercut everyone to get work. More often than not they settle on a style than they see as being fashionable (rather than bringing something new to the party) and we end up in a marketplace saturated with clones. This wears down Art Directors and Editors expectations and keeps prices low.

Only the other day I was contacted by an art director who'd seen a magazine cover I'd done (digital painting for a change rather than 3d) and he was just so damned relieved to find someone that could actually paint/draw. He's taken to refering to all illustrators as 'crayons' in the last few years as that's all people seem able to produce in mainstream editorial.

I must admit that I am sorely tempted to get an agent just so that it means that I don't have to A) wrangle over fees and B) get paid on time. It seems that the time taken to pay invoices is getting longer and longer the average now being 60 days according to my spreadsheet.

Enough moaning for now, don't want to sound bitter or anything......back to work :(

BazC
12-07-2004, 10:09 AM
Hehe, I'm going the other way! My work has always been paint and paper stuff, acrylic mostly but now it's becoming more digital. Mostly Photoshop/Painter but I'm just starting to do some 3d. Problem is a lot of publishers are unwilling/unable to pay for 3d. I recently quoted for an identification book for a big international publisher, about 250 small illustrations (modelling, texturing, posing and rendering) I hmmm'd and haaa'd and crossed my fingers and said I thought I could do it for 100 per species.

No chance, the publishers were looking for about half that! If the book goes ahead it will probably be painted on Paper or PS. :o(

Hang in there anyway! - Baz

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