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A client approached me with his brand and asked me to make a logo for him, and I charged a certain amount as upfront payment. Next, the client put the logo on hold, and contacted me once again after two months, with a different brand altogether, and asked me to start over. He wanted me to continue the project under a different brand just like nothing had happened.

Should I charge the upfront amount again and begin work as a new project because it is a different brand altogether (similar name, but the client requires a completely different kind of logo)?

I find it unfair to start all over again as my work with his previous brand has been laid to waste.

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    Did you have any kill fees outlined in your original contract with the client? At this point you may only have what you agreed to in writing to back you up. Conversely, you may be able to point out that there was never any mention of a rebrand in the original contract and use that to renegotiate. The client needs to understand that you're not at their beckoning call and all of that time in which they put you on hold, could have been time devoted to another client. – zeethreepio Apr 3 '17 at 19:16
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    @zeethreepio I charged the upfront fees as non-refundable fees no matter what so that my hard-work was partially paid for. I proposed to start another project different from this one where the upfront fees would be charged again since this was a new project. The client is refusing to pay again as he believes that because he is not using the previous logo that I made, that he can completely change the brand name and concept and ask me to start again. Should I stand by my proposal? – Krish Wadhwana Apr 3 '17 at 19:21
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    You should definitely stand your ground. Especially if the concept of the brand is going in a different direction, in which case you would have to start the entire design process over again. Keep in mind it's not your fault they didn't have their information together before contacting a designer to carry out their vision. – zeethreepio Apr 3 '17 at 19:26
  • @zeethreepio Any idea how I should frame this when informing the client? – Krish Wadhwana Apr 3 '17 at 19:27
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    I personally frame these discussions as problem solving. In this case, the client had a problem (needed logo A), you solved the problem with your original design and they decided not to go that direction. In fact, they changed direction completely so now they have an entirely new problem that needs solving (logo B). They can either pay you to do it (a known variable) or go elsewhere and still have to pay a designer to do the new work (an unknown variable). – zeethreepio Apr 3 '17 at 19:32
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Stand your ground and renegotiate!

If I may reiterate my comments on the original post, at this point you may only have what you agreed to in writing to back you up. However, you can also point out that there was never any knowledge, or statement in writing, of a rebrand in the original contract and use that as leverage to renegotiate (I'm guessing this was a surprise to you or else you wouldn't have asked the question). The client needs to understand that this is indeed a completely separate job from the original and new terms need to be outlined before the design process begins. If anything you can lean on the very recent experience with this client and point out that you have to protect yourself, and time, from any more surprises.

The client should also know that you're not at their beckoning call and that all of that time in which they put you on hold, could have been time devoted to another client. Bottom line is this is a completely new assignment that is going to require your time to solve and you should be compensated for that time and expertise.

If you're unsure how to approach the client, it could be helpful to frame the discussion as a problem solving issue. In this case, the client had a problem (needed logo A for brand A), you solved the problem with your original design and they decided not to go that direction. In fact, they changed direction completely so now they have an entirely new problem that needs solving (logo B for brand B). They can either pay you to do it (a known variable) or go elsewhere and still have to pay a designer to do the new work (an unknown variable).


Something to include on future contracts:

Cancellation / Kill Fees

A “kill fee” is a fee paid by the client to the artist when the client does not use the artwork. “Kill fee” is a general term that covers two types of payments: a cancellation fee, and a rejection fee.

Cancellation Fee: A cancellation fee should be paid when the artwork satisfies the client’s stated requirements, but the client decides, for reasons outside the artist’s control, not to use it.

Artists generally negotiate the kill fee as a percentage of the agreed-upon fee for the finished piece. We have seen a wide range of kill fees, from 20 to 100 percent, usually depending on the stage of completion of the artwork at the time the project is killed.

Graphic Artists Guild Contract Glossary

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keep the other brand, as it could become some sort of use in the future but re-design the logo as your client says to.

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    Why should he not charge any extra for the client switching the design midway through the project? What about all of the work that has already been done? – Zach Saucier Apr 3 '17 at 19:45
  • he could always charge extra but would he want too, it could and probably would give a bad reputation for this client which may effect his bushiness in the long term – RaGe MaGiXZ Apr 3 '17 at 19:47
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    Perhaps, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. We can't always work for free. Where is that line and why is it there? – Zach Saucier Apr 3 '17 at 20:02

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