When designing a logo for a client, do you offer multiple options, so 3 different logos for example? Or do you offer just 1? How do you price for these?
I agree in the main with Lucian's approach, but will add this thought:
I will often provide three (3) early directions in sketching, and have the client make a definitive choice - they sign off on the early sketch they wish to develop. At that point, Lucian's pricing applies as well - if they want parallel development of two differing approaches, they pay for the more time and effort.
When I present the next level of each path in development, I will typically then show two or occasionally three variations, with another decision-point for the client, on which they again sign off; at this point they also make a choice about whether to continue the parallel development of versions, and then I produce final product, which I then output in a full range of file formats, vector, raster, 3D and CADD.
Basically follows this thinking:
My approach involves the client understanding clearly at the outset that the design flow being one-way is part of what predicates their initial pricing structure, and that should they wish to delve into new meetings beyond the original scope, re-reviewing and / or marking up things which were already decided upon and signed off on at a previous stage, they can indeed do this, but must expect to pay for that privilege.
I follow a similar process flow for architectural rendering work too, and it's all informed not only by my time in the world of graphic design, but also the way architecture manages design flow; in that milieu, violations of proper design flow can cost weeks of delay of the date of occupancy, and millions of dollars of missed rents for the Owner, hundreds of extra accrued person-hours and multiple RFIs and COs of construction cost for the General Contractor, and hundreds of person-hours of re-design and remediation time for the Designer or Architect - so it's a massively big deal to everyone.
It's also the one sure-fire way in the graphic design milieu to completely avoid the trapped in a review-loop hell which we read about here so often where the designer is stuck "doing one more last review" and "I haven't gotten final approval yet" and "they're putting me through the ringer and it's taking waaaay more time than I planned / budgeted around, so I'm losing my shirt on this one" and so on.
Hope this helps.
Paul Rand is fairly famous for his philosophy regarding multiple designs... I'm paraphrasing,
"There's only ever one solution to a design problem."
To this end, multiple iterations or ideas don't work. An experienced designer is going to pick a proper typeface, correct colors, etc. to suit a target audience. Those will all go into what the designer thinks is the best solution to the problem at hand (a mark).
If multiple ideas or iterations are desired, then the designer is going to waste time on secondary or tertiary ideas that they know aren't as good as the primary idea. So a client, any client, is paying for wasted time, time spend doing grunt work because the client feels they need it. Time which could be better spent polishing a primary idea.
In short, any effort to create multiple designs for the same problem will result in one solution and several "less-than-ideal" solutions.
Face it, every designer (and probably client) instantly knows the one solution when it is created/presented. We all know that "nailed it" feeling when a working solution is sketched and refined a bit. Why clients feel quantity is more important than quality is a mystery... but....
Clients have expectations
In today's world, clients have been guided/spoiled enough to think if they don't get multiple designs they aren't getting their money's worth or are being short-changed in some way. Although that's not the case. A designer without Rand's standing does have to acquiesce to a degree. It's rare or impossible to present one idea to most clients unless you, yourself are a million dollar designer with decades of experience (like Rand). Clients see.. "3 ideas compared to 1"... they don't see "oh we'll pay for 2 ideas we throw away."
Full-fledged, polished, software created designs are a waste of your time. If the client wants/expects 3 or 4 ideas that is NOT the same as 3 or 4 final logotypes ready for implementation.
I handle all this via exploratory stages.
Think of your process
A typical process for designing a brand (for me) offers a natural stage where ideas can be shared. And in reality it is no more effort than finding the final solution to the problem.
During creation there are typically 3 or 4 stages of "work":
- Sketching: rough, loose, exploratory hand drawings to start fleshing out possible solutions.
- Comprehensives Tighter hand drawings for 3 or 4 sketches that may present a solution. Here more attentions to type choices may be given, at least serif/sans serif, and color is at least in my mind if not in the comps themselves. This is the phase where promising sketches are disregarded because they simply won't work well when refined. Here I may have 2 or 3 idea comps, but really there will be only one which solves the problem well.
It is here I will allow clients to see and choose from the final comprehensives. These are tight hand drawings, pen and paper. No Software has been used at this point other than straight scans to show the client - assuming digital delivery to client. In all probability, through conversation and explanation of the designs, I can direct the client to the solution I think works.
So here, the client will see 2 or 3 iterations, when really I only want them to pick one. And it's that one that I will expend more energy on.
The above steps are requirements for every logotype creation. All I'm doing is pausing and allowing the client to see the ideas at this stage. I would, on my own, move forward with one solution I see as the primary solution. I merely allow the client input at this stage so they feel involved and can make any suggestions. Often suggestions can be good even if they are in regard to the solution I myself think is best. If suggestions are not good then it's a conversation as to why something works better than their suggestions, etc.
Remember, being a designer is partially about being a salesman, you should be able to "sell" your idea effectively. That doesn't always mean it gets "bought" but the best idea you have should NOT die a quick death merely because you can't explain why it works better.
If the client doesn't like any of the comprehensives, I have NOT wasted hours of time creating software builds of ideas. Sketching more ideas is not nearly as work-intensive as software builds. -- To be honest, in a few decades of work, I have yet to have a client not like any of my comps provided I asked the correct questions during the brief and the client shared accurate answers to those questions. Yes I've had client choose ideas I thought were secondary or tertiary, but that's going to be inevitable if a client doesn't trust or value your expertise. Some clients are simply "that way".
- Software build: Fairly straightforward. A refined software design (vector) of the chosen comprehensive. Here color is introduced and assigned.
- Polish: Simply further refinement, possible tweaks to color values, size, position, etc.
I'm not going to go any specific numbers - that's another matter. However, I do not price my work based on "ideas" or "revisions". It's unfriendly and causes trepidation with clients. I price brand packages on the field, size, and breadth of the company (local, regional, national, international) not on "number of ideas".
RE Packages: I don't offer "packages" with varying costs. If I'm given a design problem to solve, I do my level-best to solve that problem. There's no such thing in my mind as charging more for a "better" solution.
As a designer myself, I don't really understand the mindset for "packages". As a client I'd be very skeptical of "packages". Does paying more mean a client gets a better solution? Or is it only if a client pays top dollar that they actually get the proper solution to the problem?? So anything less than "top dollar" may completely suck, but that's all they paid for?? I don't get it.
- 1 idea = $$ - My best solution to your problem
- 2 ideas = $$$ - My best solution to your problem, and a second solution which doesn't work as well, but you paid for it
- 3 ideas = $$$$ - My best solution to your problem, a second "lesser" solution, and a third option I think sucks, but I created it just because you paid for it. (Do they also get fries with this order?)
I provide my best solution regardless of what I charge. To this end, I charge for the problem not how much the client is willing to pay. If a client doesn't want to pay my rate, they can find someone else to solve their problem. Paying me less for a lower "package" would only mean I'm undercutting myself since I will still be providing my best solution to their problem. I'm not a "flea market" where a client can haggle over pricing until they are happy. No. I'm a business and like any business you pay my rates or I don't work for you.
I have a base fee for logotypes, a minimum. This acts as a qualifier for early conversations. If a client is unwilling to pay even the base fee, they should find someone else. Client's size, field, etc. are all then factors which will increase my fee beyond the base fee.
RE Revisions: The last thing I want is a client to walk away unsatisfied because they want one more revision to something but they've already used their "3 allotted revisions" and aren't in a position to pay another $X to see things finalized. I want to create designs that work and are effective. If that takes 4, 5, 10, 20 revisions then that's fine. I simply ask my clients to understand this and be considerate when revisions start reaching higher numbers. The reality is, I have almost never had any client need more than 3 or 4 revisions to anything. So, to me, putting up that defensive block does nothing but add unnecessary stress to the client relationship.
To be fair, I don't deal with many random "cold call" clients. I get qualified clients looking for a designer, not clients looking to "get some art done" by someone on "that designer web site". Working with clients found on crowd-sourcing site may be different. I don't often like crowd-sourcing clients and avoid them.
Now, "packages" and "revisions" are indeed fairly common fees among designers. I see it as a way to earn that little bit extra from passing, one-off, clients. Clients you don't have the desire, time, or acumen to establish a lasting relationship with. They just want their art and you just want their money. If that's your business model, I'll be the last person to cast any aspersions on that model. If it works for you, it works, that's all that matters. My business model is far more about building a stable of established, repeat, clients that I can work with for years to come. "Packages" and "revisions" are relatively unwarranted for deeper, lasting, client relationships.
Don't charge for ideas...Charge based on size of the client and their business. Simply show your ideas at the comprehensive stage. You do not need to create fully polished, ready for press, logos as "ideas".
You can make the offer as per number of proposals, and let the client decide which option to go for:
- 1 proposal + 1 revision = X$
- 2 proposals + 2 revisions = XX$
- 3 proposals + 3 revisions = XXX$
There is no formula for the pricing, it depends on your location, your experience level, the size of the client, the deadline, any third-party material needed (font licence) and so on.
I don't think this is a design question, I think it's a marketing question. People are more likely to accept something and to like it if they feel they have a choice. That's why there are always multiple flavours or sizes or colours of pretty much everything.
If you show them three things, they will pick one. If you show them one thing and the choice is take-it-or-leave-it, they are very likely to leave it.
I agree with Lucian. It is standard in agencies to offer 3 options with 3 different styles. However, when you are a freelancer the clients don't want to pay thousands of dollars and creating many options can put you in the negative.
I agree with different packages where you offer more options=more money.