Seeking "best practices" from experienced designers....
- A design is completed for a direct mail sales piece.
- The piece is printed, mailed, and used by the client.
- The project is paid for and thus considered complete by the designer.
- The client presumable gains sales due to the mailing.
- The following year, the client reprints the same piece again,
without any changes, and mails again.
- The client presumably gains more sales due to the second mailing.
- The designer receives nothing for this second mailing.
So my question is, should the designer be compensated in some manner for the reprint?
After all, if was a successful campaign when initially mailed. So successful that using it again is seen as having merit. The success is, at least in part, due to the designer's work on the project.
I know copywriters traditionally tend to get a per-piece royalty on each printed piece. Usually a small number such as 0.01¢-0.05¢ per printed piece (which can add up). So if a piece is reprinted, the copywriter is eligible for those royalties again. I'm also aware, that in today's world, even copywriters may be struggling to validate these royalties to clients unfamiliar with the traditional structure.
But.. designers really can't gain clients with any sort of "royalty". Merely using the word "royalty" in client conversations can ensure you do not gain the work, especially on something such as direct mail. At least that's been my experience.
Is there merit to seeking a "reprint fee"?
Something such as a flat-fee paid each time a design is reprinted.
Not a "royalty" per say, but more of a reuse fee?
What I'm think is something like $500 for each time the piece is reprinted. So, the initial project may have cost something like $5,000, then the following year, the designer would be paid $500 when the piece is reprinted.
(Above uses random dollar amounts. not real dollar figures.)
I would, of course, disclose such fees prior to any work starting during contract negotiations. I am not considering some specific project after it has been created. I'm just presenting a broad, general, scenario here.
Anyone with any experience regarding this? Are there any recommended phrasing/arguments to persuade clients? Is there a solid basis for my thoughts on attempting to implement such a thing? Am I merely nuts and it'll never work?
Of note: I am not thinking of this as an all encompassing "blanket" policy for everything I create. Certainly a client should never be charged by the designer for reprinting their business card, or stationary in general. As well as many items seen as necessary "to do business" such as general promotional items. Unless the designer is also subcontracting printing services. However, these items are typically much, much, smaller in terms of cost to print than what I'm considering.
I'm considering this for more (non-web) direct sales venues where perhaps 100,000 pieces are mailed and response rates offer direct quantification for how well a design works.
As an off-the-cuff example... a sales letter designed to get buyers to purchase lots of land. When that letter gets a response resulting in a purchase of land, the return the client sees is a direct result of the designer's work. Wether that work was performed last month, last year, or last decade. If I were a salesman selling the land, I'd get a commission - I'm seeing a reprint fee as more of a small commission without any direct tie, in terms of dollars, to the revenue the sales piece may generate.