Why quick design isn’t always cheap design

old fashioned stopwatch

So you’ve just received an email from a potential client.

They’ve told you a little about their project and explained what they need from you.

It’s sounding good so far.

Then you read it. That little sentence at the end that turns the whole job on it’s head.

“This should only take you an hour.”

Oh dear. This has turned into a ‘quick job’.

Why designers hate that term

A client dictating how long a job should take sets off alarm bells in a designer’s head.

The phrase “this is a quick job” ‘is usually interpreted as “this is a big job I want done cheaply.”

It often means that a client is driven by price and is just looking for the cheapest designer they can find.

And the price they have in mind, probably doesn’t quite stretch to the amount of work they need completing.

Why quick isn’t always cheap

When it comes to pricing up a design job, there are many things designers take into account.

The time a job takes is an important factor of course.

But experience is the main thing to consider.

As a designer gains experience, the time it takes them to complete work reduces significantly.

A job that once would have taken 3 or 4 hours, could now take them less than 2.

Because they’re spending less time on a project, they need to increase their hourly rate to compensate for this.

So a client assuming they’ll get a low price on work because “it only takes an hour” doesn’t always work.

It only takes a short amount of time, because the designer has the knowledge, experience and tools to complete it in a short timescale.

For that, they can charge whatever amount they see fit.

This anecdote from Picasso sums it up nicely.

Picasso was in a park when a woman approached him and asked him to draw a portrait of her. Picasso agreed and quickly sketches her. After handing the sketch to her, she is pleased with the likeness and asks how much she owed to him. Picasso replies $5,000. The woman screamed, “but it took you only five minutes”. “No, Madam, it took me all my life”, replied Picasso.

 

2 Comments

  1. Tony Hardy
    @
    June 21, 2012

    I was always told you could have 2 of the 3 things:

    1. Fast
    2. Cheap
    3. Good

    And that kind of makes sense to me.
    Tony Hardy recently posted..The Story of Keep Calm and Carry OnMy Profile

    Reply

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