Snog Blog with Dear Designer

Dear Designer

I am looking for a good designer to revamp our website and to redo our logo. I have spoken to my bosses and they think it’s a good idea, but we don’t know how much we want to spend yet. The cheaper the better of course!

We’re not sure what we want our new look to be, but since you’re the professional, we’ll leave it to you to propose. Show us 3 mockups of what you think our new company website and logo should look like. We want to be professional yet friendly, serious yet creative. Something like what Apple has done.

If we like your mockups, we’ll choose one and hire you for the job. If we don’t, we’ll let you know also. And if we like your ideas but you’re too expensive, we may ask someone cheaper to do it, so please quote as low as possible.

But rest assured, we have plenty of design jobs in the future! I have to go now, I have a free lunch waiting for me at a restaurant.

Your sincerely,

13 responses to “Snog Blog with Dear Designer”

  1. Thanks Cat for the post. I think it’s great what you folks are doing at no-spec. It’s certainly raising a lot of much-needed awareness in an important aspect of a designer’s profession.

  2. what really scares me is that even designers are unashamed to demand spec work from other designers.

    This is posted on getafreelancer:

    Logo Development for Japanese Acupuncturist

    – Earth and Energy
    – Gentle
    – Precious Metals
    – warming the body
    – appealing to people that have never had acupuncture
    – confidence
    – Japanese influences
    – Art
    – modern
    – edgy
    – slick
    – contemporary
    – fresh
    Possibly including warm lime green and earth colour. No black.

    Please check my website for a feel of the designs that I create.

    CS Illustrator file required all in vector.
    Please supply CMY Colour and Pantone equivalent.

    Please submit at least a rough draft or watermarked mock up of the logo. I will accept the bid of the designer that interprets the job description and my style the best.

    The logo must include a specific name that I will supply upon accepting your bid – but for the moment design it with the name “John Smithe”

    I would also like a link to your portfolio if it is available.

    You will agree to hand over all rights to the logo and design work for copyright reasons after the design is purchased.

    I am a professional designer with international clients and too much work on my hands. If I like what you do there is plenty more work available.

  3. I know a lot of designers don’t know about working on spec. It’s a real problem, and one NO!SPEC is trying to fix.

  4. I cannot believe that brief came from a designer!

    And if you go to the designer’s website, it says “from concept to completion I pride myself on going the extra distance to deliver the visual advantage you need. I take the time to understand your business and your needs before giving your project the creative energy it deserves.”

    Erm, yeah right.

  5. This letter really made me clue in to what this site was about. I do blog design, or at least I did, but I got so tired of people not wanting to pay for something after hours of work went into the job.

    One woman asked me to create an entire CSS website out of a graphic that her designer created. When I told her the unbelievably low price of 250 dollars, she was shocked. I told her it would take me about 5 hours worth of work and she said, “REALLY! I thought it would only take about 15 minutes.”

    People who aren’t in design have no idea about the long road of the creative process. How many times a design is tweaked before a satisfactory design is made. Thanks to Luc Latulippe for pointing me to the site.

  6. Clients always have to be educated. The problem, it’s one at a time which gets tedious. If there was a way we could educate on mass, our road would be much easier.

    The additional problem is many designers also need to be educated and that makes our life more difficult that it should be.

    Hopefully this site will make it a wee bit easier to get the word out.

  7. I stumbled on this site via PixelGirl and am I glad I did! I have stopped counting the times prospects have approached us requesting spec work only to be “shocked” and felt personally insulted when we said no. The idea of this campaign is great. Good luck!

  8. Anna,

    glad to see you here. We need all the help we can get to spread the word so I’ll have to send double thanks to PixelGirl.


  9. Yup, you’re right. There’s loads of them out there. I’ve been in business two years now and whenever I see/hear from a client who needs a mock-up before they have seen my portfolio and before they want to discuss terms and conditions.

  10. Hi Frank,
    Yes, there are loads of them out there and, it seems, more getting in line every day.

    From my point of view, it’s a problem with a myriad of roots. Part of it is the lack of understanding some designers have about spec work. Another part are designers and other creatives so hungry for work that they in effect sell their souls, or rather give them away. Beyond this is competition on a global scale where creatives in some locations are willing to work on spec as a matter of practice. Add to the mix the various freelance sites where logos go for a buck and a quarter and also the current trend of “clients” holding contests to get the design work they need.

    The dynamics of our industry have also changed over the years. In the old days, before computers, designers had more perceived value. When clients needed this or that they hired pro because they didn’t have the skills, ability and/or equipment to do the job. Although computers are wonderful things and have given us the ability to create work on different level, they have also significantly reduced the barrier to entry into the field. Client’s and prospects don’t understand the amount of time and money required to do a good job. Because the work is mostly done on a computer, they seem to think it’s simply click, click and there you go.

    Noted designer Primo Angeli once said, “Two long-neglected elements had suddenly surfaced, time and money. Without them, design is mere decoration. Neither good design, nor fine art.”

    I believe it’s our job to educate prospects and clients about the nature of what we do and how we do it. They need to know about the background research needed and the thinking time. A large part of what we sell are ideas and experience, not simply “hand skills.” Computer time should be reserved for the expression of those ideas into tangible form.

    When we can clearly and effectively communicate our value to our clients, we can then become a partner in the development of a project and not just a pair of hired hands and a keyboard.

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