It gives me great pleasure to announce the winners of What's Your Type? 2011 are...
How to get paid.Posted by Johnny on July 22, 2012
So we started off last week with looking before you leap. Definitely an important part of getting your business up and running in a sustainable and less stressful manner for yourself. But what about the other really stressful part? Getting paid for what you do. This for many of you may be the most important part of this series or the only bit you are interested in. Here I will cover, deciding how much to charge and how to go about chasing for money owed. So here goes.
I made probably every conceivable mistake when I first started out on my own. One of the very first lessons that you have to learn and this may come as a shock to hear someone say when you hear so much contradicting advice. There are no friends in business. You may have a great relationship with a client, get on with them really well and even have had a few drinks after work with them to discuss a project but never forget that you are providing them a service and they are paying you for that. Whenever money is involved, there are no friendships. This will sound a little harsh but trust me, if you take nothing else away from this entire post, please take this point seriously.
Why do I say this? What has happened to make me such a cynical arsehole? Well I will not go into specifics or mention names, but it enough to say that I have been burned more than once with a client relationship that became way too friendly. Where I ended up doing way more work than I should have for what I was getting paid. As I said, pretty stupid right? But surprisingly easy to slip into. So now I make sure that I go into every project with my eyes open and guard up. Don't get me wrong, I am still the friendly loveable rogue that everyone knows me as but I am just not as naive. So, point number one has been made and that is quite simply
There are no friends in business
But how does one stop themselves from getting taken advantage of? That brings us to point number two.
Contracts can be your best friend
One of the very first things that I learnt after my first blunders was the power of a contract. Always, always have a contractual agreement. But now I hear many of you asking, "what should be in this agreement?". Well, the contract is incredibly important because it is a tool that outlines points such as
1) How many hours a project will take from start to completion with you quote
2) How many revisions a client can have within that time
3) What is and is not within the scope of the project ie have you been hired to create a print campaign? But then the client wants a simple website page to go with this. This is a change of scope, so the contract protects you here.
4) Rights to the usage of the materials that you create. ie if you are creating a piece of custom artwork for a campaign for a large retailer, there are issues you should consider as to the value of your work. Rights are an incredibly important issue, for more information I really would recommend Jessica Hische's awesome piece but for the moment lets just say that you should have price tags and scenarios in place ready for things like perpetual usage (the client owns the work and can use it in perpetuity) and things like a years usage in print etc etc. As I said, check out Jessica's article which explains this in much more detail.
5) Payment terms. How will it be split? How long will it take etc. We will talk about this later on.
You will be able to find many contract templates online and if you use business banking, you can actually get some software with that which will help you to set up a good base contract. Of course there will probably be things that you may not consider but always ask the community. Most folks in the design community are more than happy to help and would be more than willing to share their experience. We all have to start somewhere.
How do I know what to charge?
This is always a tough question to answer because honestly it all depends on your experience, who the client is and how much they want to own in terms of the rights. Many designers charge by the hour and that seems to work for them which is great but there are some weaknesses to this approach in terms of things like licensing and also the fact that what may take one designers an hour may take another 4.
You may have noticed that in the above paragraph, I mentioned something that many people may have an issue with which is the charging of different prices for different clients. Now lets say you have a lady who is starting a café and she wants to get you to design her a logo and website. Obviously you will ask the regular questions about the usage of the logo, what her plans are for the growth of the business and how that will affect the use of the mark that you will be creating for her. Once you have all the relevant information and you have your contract ready you quote what you think is a fair price. Let's pick a random figure out of the air and say £10,000.00 for a logo and simple site as she doesn't have a huge budget, doesn't have any real plans for expansion yet but when she does she will contact you to help with the future of the business (this can also be a clause in the contract to protect your work in the future for giving such a reasonable price).
But now lets say someone like Nike approaches you for the same sort of project. They want you to create a logo for a new range of sports clothing and a website design to go along with this. Obviously, you are not going to charge the same. Principally because without being unkind to the client in the previous scenario but this is probably going take a lot more work in the first place but that is neither here nor there for the moment. The important factor here is Nike want you to create something that will be used in marketing campaigns throughout the world, across all media, and with a global reach. The usage rights alone (if lets say they want it in perpetuity) on a project like this would be a pretty decent deposit on a house or could pretty much pay for said house depending on how large it is. Again though, make sure you have your contract ready.
How long should a client take to pay and how should I chase them?
I touched upon it earlier when I mentioned about the contract, but getting paid can be one of the most painful parts of the project. However if you follow some simple steps it needn't be.
Work out a payment structure and get money up front.
This is good for you and the client because it shows that the client is serious and that you get a little bit of a financial cushion at the beginning of a large project that may well take up all your time. It is good for the client because once the money has changed hands together with a contractual agreement then it is on you to deliver on time and on budget which means they will feel a whole lot more secure about the project. There are many ways to do it, half up front half later works pretty well or splitting the payment into equal thirds is also quite common. Never leave anything to a lump payment at the end of a project unless you want to find yourself in a whole world of pain. I don't think I really need to elaborate on why this is a terrible idea. Just don't do it.
Before you sign any contract, have someone better qualified look over it.
Many clients will have their own contract for you to sign when you take on a project. This is fine and quite common. Just be wary of those clients that want you to sign on the dotted line right then and there. If this happens, walk away. This is the biggest alarm bell that should go off in your head that something isn't right and that basically you will be experiencing some painful times ahead. Any good client will be more than happy for you to have someone who understands the intricacies of contract law explain things too you if you are unclear or do not understand some of the details. At the end of the day, the client designer relationship is just that, a relationship and there has to be give and take for both parties to end up happy.
If a client doesn't pay within your invoice period, charge them interest
This should be in your contract and a clause that you have in everything. Many companies work on a 30 day turnaround of invoices. Personally I don't like this and so I set my invoice time to 7 days. Once I have handed over the work, the client has it and are happy, that client has seven days to get the money to me. If the structure we mentioned earlier is in place then that is more than ample amount of time. They already have your details, it is just a transfer of funds. If the client does not make the payment within that time, I send ONE chasing email after the 7 days reminding them that they will be charged interest on the invoice if it is not paid by (insert date here). Then I leave it. As I said, many companies work on a 30 day turnaround (which should be in their contract by the way) and so I allow for that with the invoice period. I appreciate that people may not work on my timelines so I give the thirty days. If after the 30 days I still haven't been paid, then I send an email with an amended invoice adding the interest and explain that I delivered the project on time, on budget and within scope. I also guilt trip a little here by saying that I am disappointed at the unprofessional nature of their actions after such a great project and that I gave them the utmost level of respect with my service and that I expected they would do the same. Since I have upheld my end of the agreement it is up to them to do likewise, so I will be adding another 10% interest every 7 days that the invoice is not paid. This normally gets the job done. But to be honest, I very rarely would have to resort to anything like this and as long as you set yourself up with the contract as there is a clear understanding between you and the client, you should be fine.
Chance are that this post has not had all the answers that you want. There are probably numerous questions you still have and I am more than happy to answer them. You can get in touch with me via twitter or email. I hope you at least got something out of this weeks post and that you join me for next weeks. Keeping existing clients and winning new ones.
What I have learnt so far.Posted by Johnny on July 15, 2012
So it really has been a long time since I posted on my personal blog. I guess therefore a little explanation is in order for the lack of posting. Well, in March I decided that I would leave my day job as a mobile UI designer and try to make it on my own. I won't go into the whys and wherefores of how I came to my decision but sufficed to say, I just felt that there had to be a change. I was having to turn down great offers for work and things were not going so great in general. But I digress. Since making that leap, I have started my own company, become tax registered, worked with some great clients on some really interesting projects and most importantly learnt some incredibly tough lessons along the way. Which brings me to the point of this blog post. I want to share what I have learned with you, whomever you may be, wherever you may be and whatever it is that you are doing. Obviously I am still learning too but hopefully by reading this you may be able to avoid some of the mistakes that I have made during my first foray into the frankly fucking petrifying world of self employment. To that end, I will be posting on here once a week about what I have learnt that week which hopefully some of you might find useful, amusing or downright ridiculous. In any case, I hope that you will find it at the very least, helpful. So without further ado, lets get into it shall we?
Look before you leap.
Now the chances are that if you are a freelancer or designer who owns their own studio you will be horrified at what I am about to say next so I apologise in advance of that. I didn't have a plan... I will let that sink in for a minute because most of you will probably be looking at this right now thinking, "You utter fucking lunatic!" and I have to be honest, you are probably right. Looking back over the last four months, the decision to quit my job, start my own company and work for myself was done with a little bit of naivety. Ok, a lot of naivety. But... I think that sometimes people can get paralysed by the planning process. We are currently in the worst recession in living memory. Jobs are scarce, people who have the security of a regular income would surely be mad to leave it right? Well, I happen to be a firm proponent of Nike's philosophy of "Just Do It!". So with naught but the iMac I had at home, a small amount of savings and my wits I decided to dash it all and give it a go.
The saying goes, "Fail to plan. Plan to fail." So it must be said that I wasn't exactly looking like I was off to a wonderful start with lets face it, no clear plan, direction or general idea of where I was going or how to go about setting anything up. Who should I get in touch with to register my company? How should I handle my accounts? Who would feed the cat if I had to go away for the night. All things that I really should have considered before deciding that owning my own company was such a wonderful idea. Luckily I had some friends who were able to give me a point in the right direction and so off I went.
I guess the point that I am trying to make in this first post is that I wasn't paralysed by my fear of the unknown. Normally I am a pretty play it safe and rational kinda guy (unless confronted with a retina display MacBook Pro at which point not so much) and I know that if I had weighed up all the options that I had, thought things through and really assessed where I was, I would probably never have made the leap to start out on my own. But as it turns out, I have been incredibly fortunate and the offers of work that I had were still there when I got in touch (which is a point for another post, keeping in touch). Having my regular income and a nice secure job was in fact very comforting but the satisfaction that I now feel working for myself is so much greater.
So if you are thinking about making the leap to freelance or starting your own business, take the time to think things through, but don't think so much that it paralyses you. It would probably be better to think slightly more that I did and have a chat with your bank manager. Seriously, they may seem evil but they are actually all surprisingly nice and will give you a lot of great advice when you are starting out. Believe it or not, they want you to succeed. Times are tough for everyone and new businesses are suffering more than anyone. If you are in a position like I was, with no mortgage just yet, no kids and just my girlfriend, cat and myself to feed then what have you really got to lose? It could all fall apart, but it might not and surely you would rather find out now than wake up at fifty and wish you had just gone with your gut and gone it alone.
Next time, how to charge for work.
Ladies & Gentlemen. The winners are...Posted by Johnny on March 28, 2012
Wow!!! It has been a long time folks but the end is here. We have the winners of What's Your Type? and I am proud to say that we had some absolutely incredible entries. I am so stoked with how everything turned out and how many of you participated in what was an awesome competition. The winners have been emailed, they are now sending their addresses to me so that their posters can find their way to them all over the world.
Important Announcement!!!Posted by Johnny on November 15, 2011
Firstly, let me start by saying how amazed and happy I am by the response to What's Your Type? It has been truly humbling. Due to this amazing response and a few lovely emails I have recieved from people, I am extending the deadline of the competition until the end of this month. Apparently there was some confusion with the closing date so I am offering people one last chance to get their letters in. The very last date to get your entry in is the 30th November. If you do not get your entry in by this final date I am sorry I will not be able to take your entry as it is just not fair to the others taking part. Thank you again to all those that have taken part so far. Your entries are incredibly inspiring!
Typography TimesPosted by Johnny on October 16, 2011
Oh my gosh it has been a long time since I posted something new up on here. But I have been so preoccupied with What's Your Type? and the amazing entries coming in that I have been a bit distracted. On a somewhat similar note though, What's Your Type? has been featured in The Typography Times. Check out the site here.Tweet
What's your type?Posted by Johnny on August 15, 2011
Calling all illustrators, designers and artists! What's your type? As part of a new collaborative project Oh Momma is inviting all creatives to get creative with their favourite media and make a character or characters for a new typeface. For more details click here and all will be explained.Tweet
Creative BoomPosted by Johnny on August 12, 2011
Whilst there are many resources out there for designers, illustrators, photographers and artists in general they dont come much better than this. Creative Boom is probably one of the most useful and informative sites I have come across. It is chocker block will tips on things like choosing a company name, websites for designers to get inspiration from and also tips for being a better freelancer / business person.Tweet
Jessica HischePosted by Johnny on August 12, 2011
An amazingly talented illustrator, designer, typographer and all round creative whizz. Jessica compiled this wonderful info-graphic entitled "Should I Work For Free?". It is witty, beautiful but most importantly, it is actually incredibly useful. Consult this whenever someone asks you to work for free and you can't go wrong. You can buy the letterpressed print here along with some of her other amazing work.Tweet
Chaos in LondonPosted by Johnny on August 09, 2011
With everything going on around the capital it seems hard not to have some sort of recognition on here for it. The police are fighting what seems to be a losing battle against people angry for whatever reason they feel they have to be. I don't see how destroying the homes and shops of others is in any way going to get others to listen to you though. I hope that these people come to their senses and realise that this is just wrong. One person has already been killed in these riots, please stop now so there will be no more.Tweet
Let the Search Begin!Posted by Johnny on July 23, 2011
Everything is done. The event is ready, all the work has been completed and will soon be live on this very site. Serach Party, an event that I and my frined Alice Roche have been involved in is finally here. you can see all our design work around the Liverppol Street, Shoreditch and Hackney area.Tweet
Onward Display.Posted by Johnny on July 21, 2011
Had my first experience of using the printers Onward Display yesterday for something I am currently working on. They were incredibly helpful and they checked through everything with a fine tooth comb before it went to print. Really great printers are hard to come by and I can't recommend these guys highly enough.Tweet
Thank you everyone.Posted by Johnny on July 19, 2011
A huge thank you to everyone that organised th Camberwell external BA Graphic Design show!!! You know who you are so thank you! The show was a massive success and the location was perfect. Thank you also to all the people that came to see the show and who were there both for the private view and the days afterwards. To see some of the work click here.Tweet
Graduation.Posted by Johnny on July 18, 2011
Happy and sad to be graduating. Felt like a dork in my robes but it was worth it to see the look on my parent's and girlfriend Katy's faces. It's been emotional Camberwell.Tweet
BA Graphic Design External Show.Posted by Johnny on July 13, 2011
the external BA Graphic Design show is on at the Shoreditch Townhall Tomorrow and we need you!!! Please everyone and anyone come and see what we have been up to over the last three years. I guarantee you will not be disppointed. There is some truly awesome work from the student populus at Camberwell and we hope you can make it. Bring anyone and tell everyone!!!Tweet
My new cards are here!Posted by Johnny on July 12, 2011
So this is probably a very lame thing to get excited about but I just got my cards delivered from the printers today and they are looking sexy. Take a look and see what you think people. The logo has been spot uved and the font is Proxima Nova for those of you like me that care about such things.Tweet
How cool is this?Posted by Johnny on July 10, 2011
Scouring the archives of the iTunes store for apps can take forever. But I cam across this little beauty called Shake It Photo. It basically turns your iPhone into a polaroid camera. As you can see I have been testing it out o my cat but hopefully I will find some more cheery subjects soon. This is exceptionally fun though. Check it out if you can as it is only £1.19 and a bargain.Tweet
BA Illustration ExhibitionPosted by Johnny on July 7, 2011
For those of you that don't know, tonight is the opening of the Camberwell BA Illustration external show. You can see some of the talent on display at 3 Rivington Street. A special mention must go to my good friends Jess Linares and Alice Roche whose work is absolutely stunning. I advise anyone looking for a top illustartor check them out.Tweet
A conscious decision.Posted by Johnny on July 6, 2011
I hate that word. I can never tell if I spell it right. Basically though ladies and gentlemen I have decided to give up on the idea of long blog posts and instead will continue with short ones like this from now on. Mainly because I just don't have the time to maintain the pages and also because I don't ever really have that much to say. I will maybe do the odd long post if I put up a tutorial but other than that I am done.Tweet
So it begins...Posted by Johnny on July 3, 2011
There comes a time for everyone that is both excitig and incredibly nerve racking. Having just finished my degree and graduating from Camberwell you would think that the first thing on my mind would be getting a job in this troubled climate. But rather than follow everyone else I have decided to leave a job I already had in a studio and persue my dream of starting my own studio in London or finding that dream job with a company whose work I can learn from. I already have studio space in Elder Street London to work out of and will be churning out work like a machine in the near future.
A beautiful and wonderfully exciting gift.Posted by Johnny on July 2, 2011
Sometimes you can feel genuinely privileged and thankful to own a piece of amazing work. This is one of those such occasions. My good friend and incredible illustrator Gabriella Barouch sent me through a copy of her book 'A Book Of Nonsense' in which she has illustrated the lymerics of Edward Lear. The book is beautiful, currently it is taking pride of place in a frame on my book case. To see more pics, check out my facebook page..
Happy Birthday Patrick!Posted by Johnny on July 2, 2011
So I know that this doesn't actually have anything to do with work but hey, I think that I should be able to celebrate my brother's birthday by posting it on my blog. He is my best friend and constantly pushes me to be better. So happy birthday bro, have a good'un! Incidentally it was my birthday recently so if anyone would like to send me any presents or cheques then please get in touch. ;-)
Results.Posted by Johnny on June 24, 2011
Finally got my results from my university degree today. After three years, countless hours and many late nights the stressing and waiting is over. Just need to wait until the 18th July when I can receive my certificate and that can be framed. I will soon be expanding on my final major The Creation Of Ideas. This has definitely given a platform to build from.
Been a while.Posted by Johnny on June 23, 2011
I hate to admit this but I have been a bit slack with updating the blog recently. Mostly because I have been so busy with work and things for uni. I have ben putting the showreel together for the external show and he internal show. Speaking of which, if you haven't been to the show then come down to Camberwell if you get the chance and check it out and see what is going on.
The end of an era.Posted by Johnny on May 27, 2011
The hand in is done. All the work over the last three years has been gearing up to this point and now it is almost over. The marks are announced on the 21st June but more important than the grade I get is the experiences I have had at Camberwell. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. We will all celebrate soon.Read more
Everyone loves a posterPosted by Johnny on May 25, 2011
So I will admit that I found myself in an unusual position today. I had pretty much finished everything that I needed to do for my final major project and was ready to hand in without a panic. It's a crazy world I know! But rather than sit and twidle my thumbs I decied to get creative and make this promotional poster for my piece.Read more
The video is done!Posted by Johnny on May 24, 2011
Today I finished the final cut of my project The Creation Of Ideas. It turned out really well and I am pleased with the results. I will be taking it further in the near future with some new work and experiments. I have lots of ideas so this is one project that certainly is ongoing. You can see the video and trailer on vimeo right now.Read more
Gabriella BarouchPosted by Johnny on May 20, 2011
Recently I was recommended to take a look at the site of illustrator Gabriella Barouch. Her work is totally incredible. She is currently on the final year of her illustration degree but she has already worked with a few pretty big clients and her work is being featured in Digital Arts Magazine this month. Expect to see a lot more from her!Read more
Society6Posted by Johnny on May 19, 2011
Society6 is a great site that was recently recommended to me by a friend for people to see some of your best work and also be able to to buy it. You just upload the work, click on how much you want your profit to be and they take care of the rest. There are some truly incredible people on their so I encourage everyone to check it out.Go there now
Powdered paint goes flying!!!Posted by Johnny on May 13, 2011
As part of my final major project I decided that I would put powdered paint into a speaker and run really loud music through it. Here is some of the raw unedited footage. Take a look and see how cool this looks. It has been filmed on a cannon eos 550D and the results are pretty darn impressive. Next comes the editing process ready for the final film and then putting it all together.Read more
Paint photographyPosted by Johnny on May 9, 2011
Before I can hope to film the paint being thrown out of the speaker. I decided to do some photographic tests. Take a look and see what you think. I used pipettes and compressed air to blast the paint into the air and shot it on a black velvet background. Some of the photographs are pretty cool. Let me know what you think.Read more
Colour Explosion!!!Posted by Johnny on May 7, 2011
Without a shadow of a doubt, this is my favourite television advert of all time and I was reminded of it the other day when researching for my final major project. You can see the full video on vimeo or youtube simply by clicking either of these two links. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GURvHJNmGrc or http://vimeo.com/6892682Read more
Josef Albers - Interaction of ColourPosted by Johnny on May 5, 2011
A book that every designer, artist or anyone who works with colour should read. Josef Albers work is truly staggering and the lessons that one can learn from this book are invaluable for later. I wasn't massively familiar with his work before reading this book but now I can't imagine not having found it. The systematic approach to colour selection is something that greatly appealed to me whilst reading it. Like a scientist playing with colour.Read more
Getting the knowledgePosted by Johnny on May 1, 2011
One of my favourite sites at the moment is the GreyScaleGorilla blog by Nick Campbell. The guy is a legend and shares all his knowledge of Cinema 4D and After Effects freely with anyone willing to listen. It's an amazing resource but also Nick has given some talks about how to get ahead in the industry and how to get paid. Check out the site and then check out some of his talks http://greyscalegorilla.com/blog/Read more