I have a client that hired me to design a logo for them. By our contract I supplied them 3 concepts from which they chose one.

After all was said and done the client asked to buy the other 2 concepts as well. For example they want to use one of them as an artwork for a T-shirt design.

I'm having trouble quoting those 2 other concepts. They came into existence during the work I did for the first logo... so technically I wouldn't need to put extra hours into them.

On the other hand I don't want them to go of cheap because then they get 3 designs for the price of 1.

Does anybody have experience with this?

Also they told me they wanted to use one as a t-shirt design. Is it common to ask a flat fee or are royalties a better approach in this case?

  • Even if you feel that in this case you should not charge them for extra 2 designs, your client should also feel that he should give you extra promotion or something else may by. So actually you should not give them for free any way. And you client is clever enough to understand this "the client asked to buy the other 2" Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 7:58
  • Also consider how you are going to use these 2 extra concepts if you would not sell them. Would they be throw away? Or would be used to sell at higher prices? Do you already have a customer for them? Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 8:04
  • Just an outsider opinion, I'm not a designer but still a freelancer myself: you write "By our contract I supplied them 3 concepts from which they chose one." You clearly state that they paid you to produce 3 concepts, why shouldn't they get them? If a customer pays me to produce 10 prototypes they are covering the work needed to do it, and the prototypes are their property unless we agreed explicitly on some discount situation where they pay less and I got to keep them.
    – motoDrizzt
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 12:05

8 Answers 8


enter image description here Unpopular personal opinion :))

With that being said ( :)) ), let's put things into perspective, ok? You have a contract, in that contract you agreed to supply 3 concept designs out of which they chose only one! That's it!

In any such contract, you should also add that if the client should want 2 or all 3 concepts developed and delivered, they agree to pay 30% (or whatever you feel like releasing your designs for client use is worth) of the contract's total for each other design.

Basically, they pay x for the main design and an extra 30% of x for each other design. That way, they get a fair price of x + (60% of x) for all 3 designs.

3 at the price of one and a little over half. THAT is your fee for releasing the designs (allowing them to use it) to your client, not for creating them. There's a difference. :)

PS: In some cases you may also want to consider what @Digital Lightcraft said at point 1:

  • Do they stand to profit from the t-shirts?

This usually adds more value to your design but not all designers take the use purpose of the design into consideration when price tagging/releasing work.

  • 8
    @LaurenIpsum He is the unpopular opinion puffin :)) It's a meme :) At the time of my answer, all the other answers were about giving it for free :)) and mine was the unpopular one :)) Also, a lot of people appear to share the give them for free idea, which is great if it works out for them.
    – Alin
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 13:33
  • 3
    yeano, we don't work for free. :) Nobody ever tells plumbers or electricians they should do another room for free. Why should graphic designers be less valued? It's a bloody corporate ID, FFS. It's the foundation of the dang business. Commented May 30, 2017 at 13:56
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    @Lauren Ipsum - Hate to tell you, but the last time my plumber came round he was honest enough to tell me my water problem was a simple turn of the spanner, and charged me nothing. I gave him a tip anyway, and now recommend him to all my friends for his honestly and would certainly hire him again. Loss leaders do not equate to working for free :) PS - Love the puffin Commented May 30, 2017 at 14:18
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    @mayersdesign As above: the loss leader of a spanner turn is easy. A logo (corporate ID) is equivalent to installing an entire appliance or kitting out an entire room. And I don't know any contractors who do that for free. Commented May 30, 2017 at 14:54
  • 2
    40% is almost a half, 60% is more than a half. Commented May 31, 2017 at 0:49

Consider the upside of giving them away - (As a loss leader)

For good or bad I think I break most of the "rules" of running a freelance business daily. That said, I've been running a successful business for fifteen years, so I must be doing something right!

In this case - based on the assumption that someone printing a t-shirt design would likely want to design other t-shirts, and likewise that someone who has a use for three logos would likely have a use for five...ten...a hundred... I would be inclined to offer the other artwork for free (providing it takes no more time to finish). Or else a very low fee based on the time it takes to move them from comps to finished artwork.

Building goodwill, especially at no actual expense of your own (you already have this artwork after all) is a massive bonus in our business, and part of the reason I have never had to advertise my services in all these years.

Making yourself, and by proxy your business, fair and likeable is more than half the battle.

_ Quick edit to say that obviously there are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration here, including time you've been with the client, their general attitude, the time the work took, the profits they stand to make... so I cannot give exact advise, but I do think my suggestion has merit "in general".

_ Quick edit II - It's important here that people understand I do not advocate working for free (boo!) What I am pointing out is that a "loss leader" is a well founded strategy to build good-will amongst a client base generating greater long term profit (yay!)

  • 5
    While its true giving away work for free will make you very popular as it would anyone. Heck I could be the most popular designer in my niche if I never charged for anything. There are other services which one can provide, free of charge, without actually giving away artwork. Artwork should have a price, always. Give away a 20% discount on the next job.. or a round of changes for free, or that flier the client wants... not entire logo designs.
    – Scott
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 14:08
  • 1
    @Metis - Obviously one can't go around giving everything away for free. But this situation seems quite unusual, and possibly a great opportunity to create what I should have pointed out is called a "loss leader". I don't advocate working for free. Or even for popularity. I advocate the occasional loss leader to generate even more profit in the long term :) Commented May 30, 2017 at 14:15
  • 3
    mayersdesign I fully understand your way of thinking. It so happens that I am pretty confident more work from this client will come my way in the near future. It is therefore tempting to offer them at no extra cost, but because these concepts will cost me a little bit more time to finish them (clean up, export them to different formats etc..) I'm also adopting the strategy @Alin suggested to make a fair price for the other logos (I decided 35% of the total design price per concept). This way I can make an extra buck on concepts that would be too specific to use in a future case.
    – Paytogo
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 18:25
  • 3
    Ow, and! a happy client because he feels like he is getting a discount on the extra concepts! Win win.
    – Paytogo
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 18:27
  • 2
    @Paytogo that's excellent. The take-away here is that everyone comes out happy - and that of course is the ULTIMATE end result :) Good luck. Commented May 30, 2017 at 19:21

Alin has the right idea here. Your contract states that the client is paying for one logo. If your client wants to pay for the other two, great!

Calculate a fair discounted price for the second and third. Thirty percent of the total contract for each is probably not bad; it depends on the market, the client, and your relationship. You might go as high as 50% for each, so they're getting three logos for the price of two, but that's math which you have to work out.

Issue an amended contract here. Write up the new terms for the additional logos and spell out the additional payments. Create a new payment schedule. Add a note saying that this contract supercedes the previous one. You and the client must sign and date it. Then you continue with the new logos.

From there, all three logos will get the same treatment. Develop all three logos to the same polish. The deliverables are the same (B/W, 1 color, 2 colors, 4 colors, etc.; vector file in outlines; whatever), as are the copyright releases on final payment.

What they do with the logos after that is not your concern, so no, you don't charge royalties for the T-shirt logo. You are selling three corporate IDs. That's what the "X% of the total contract price" is for. You give them the same full copyright release for all three logos.

  • 1
    Glad to see you share the same opinion :D Cheers!
    – Alin
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 13:36
  • Well I'd charge for the t-shirt by getting 3-5 shirts myself :)
    – Scott
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 14:26

After running my design company for over 30 years, a small additional piece of advice, for future situations like this: get yourself some terms and conditions, on paper. Make sure you show your clients these Ts and Cs before working with them, and then if anything like this comes up in the future you can draw their attention to that part of your mutual agreed way of working.

I realised that I had 'grown-up' as a business owner when if someone asked me to do extra -- such as adding work onto an agreed schedule, work over the weekend, sell extra concepts, et cetera -- I was able to say calmly, "Of course, I'd be happy to, as per our Ts and Cs that will be time and a half / double time / an extra 40%" without feeling embarrassed, awkward or unsure about asking for extra money.


This isn't an every-day occurance, and there is no real answer, more you need to decide how to play the situation.

  • Do they stand to profit from the t-shirts?
  • Are they a new client or one you need to keep happy (early stage)?
  • Are they a long standing client that you already have a good relationship with?

As they have clearly offered to pay for them and they already exist as a by-product of the original job, I would be tempted to offer them at a nominal fee, then both sides are happy. Should they require "Finishing" work to the logos, then of course that would be chargeable.


You have to remember that you are most probably going to keep working in the industry and it matters what quality of work you officially release as "done". So if in addition to 1 main article of work you also publish 2-3 more unfinished designs (sketches, rushed, unpolished, dirty), think of how that would make your portfolio look.

If you're deciding to put more hours into finishing the remaining designs, remember that it costs you your time and effort, and that in turn should cost your client more money. Working for free is not a good idea, unless you get something other than money out of this business relationship.

As a side note, if you decide not to publish your unfinished concepts, consider publishing them on your own portfolio site as a "work in progress" or "the development process" section of the finished design page. Provided you can do that according to the contract you've signed, of course. I've heard that could give you a credibility boost, and show that you've really been working and chose what you think is the best iteration, especially if you get the kinds of clients who tend to think that "designers don't do much anyways".


I think that you are looking at this wrong. You are considering the work you put into creating those, which was already covered by your initial contract. Your client seems to be thinking of it differently. You have provided them with a service, with which they are satisfied. In separate and, for all intents and purposes, unrelated transaction, they also wish to purchase some property from you. The fact that the property is intellectual, or that it was generated in the course of your regular business is irrelevant. It is still property, it still belongs to you, and it is still reasonable for them to pay for it. If I understood you correctly, the customer offered to pay for them, so this seems reasonable and acceptable to all involved.


I don't know who came up with this idea of offering options, but that infected the whole market.

Personally, I never offer options to my clients - be it logo, website or ad. I sit with the client and work through the briefing and present the client the logo he wants. Then we adjust it if necessary - sometimes it's not. And my client retention rate is pretty close to 100%.

Offering options is excess of information. It's not good for the client, because it makes the decision more difficult, and definitely not good for us, because it makes us work more than what we are paid for.

  • The Paul Rand theory of deductive visual problem solving... love it.. and I do the same. I offer a solution... not options. Then adjust from there. One can't effectively design 3 logos as "options" for the price of one. (Not really sure this actually answers the question though).
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 22:43

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