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Topic: Question about Graphic Design work  (Read 1497 times)
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« on: April 07, 2009 03:08:16 PM »

I'm hoping I might be able to get some ideas from some of you who have worked in Graphic Design.  I haven't had the chance to go to school for Graphic Arts but if I could I would and maybe some day I will.

In the meantime, I have come across a wonderful opportunity that I'm really excited about.  A business owner that I'm doing some painting for is developing a new line and asked me to work up some drawings for the first set of 40 designs.  She said we'll discuss a rate of pay for my designing work then I'll also get paid for the painting of the designs.  She already has a price for the painting but not the design work.

So my question is - what would you think is a fair price to ask if, although my designs are of a quality high enough to be accepted, I don't have a degree in the field or any schooling?  Should I just let her set the price?  I really have no idea what a fair rate would be and I want to be fair to both of us.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!!

Oh - just for the fun of it - you can find some of my fun creations here


« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2009 03:45:54 PM »

im a graphic artist of like 10 yrs and i think that it would depend on the size of the paintings. I know we generally pay our artist 50$ an hour for watercolor paintings. I work at a corporate office though so if its a smaller company then it may differ. If you had more specifics i could help a bit more.
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2009 05:10:09 PM »


The designs will go on 2 inch glass square tiles.  They're either interesting designs - like a swirly type of heart - or a few words with a small picture of something.

$50 an hour.... cool

I thought of another question  Smiley  How long does it take to get a degree??

« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2009 12:59:43 PM »

I thought of another question  Smiley  How long does it take to get a degree??

That depends on the kind of degree you want. Wink  I know there are "certificate" programs that can be completed in under a year; an associate's degree is 2 years, a bachelor's is 4 years, etc...

my photography website  http://www.ambersteele.com

Be true to yourself and you will never fall. -Beastie Boys
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2009 01:08:20 PM »

Im going completely online to a community college in my area for Graphic Design. I originally started a degree in 2001, but then left college to work/move out/be an adult. But now im going to go finish the degree. None of my credits from the old college transfer because they are so old, but thats actually good cause I really dont remember a lot of what I learned so it will be good to have a refresher. If you really want to go into it and if you have complications such as work or disability that dont allow you to physically go to a classroom or if you're like me and just learn better on your own without all the "bla bla bla" lectures then check in your state for community colleges that offer online degrees. I just googled "washington state online degrees". Do NOT go to out of state colleges like University of Phoenix because you will pay 3-4x as much for their online programs. My entire degree will be around $10k with books maybe a little more if I dont get the books used where when I looked into art institute and UoPhoenix it was around $30-40k for a degree through them.

My 2 year degree at my local college will take 1.5years or a little more depending how many courses I decide to take per quarter. 2 years at the most. The certificate is 1 year. and if you go to an in state college you recieve the state resident discount. so for me its around $80/ credit hr for online credits which are a little more than going to a brick and mortar college. for someone who went from out of state it would be around $110/credit hr for the classes. most classes are 5 credit hours. Smiley


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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2009 10:58:18 PM »


I say, start by reading these sites:

Now with that in mind, here's my advice: You want to have a project cost estimate, not a hourly rate. And school doesn't necessarily determine your worth.

Yes, as rae333 mentioned, designers charge an hourly rate. But there is also the cost of materials and the copyright/usage rights.

1.) Determined how long the project will take you from start to finish. How long the process from start ideation to the final work for one piece? Ask if there is a date the client wants the work finished by. And what is the final work? You mentioned they were going on tiles, but do you create a print-ready file? Some type of stencil? Actual tiles?

You determine how much you are worth for an hour. Federal minimum wage is $7.25 a hour. Keep in mind almost half of what you charge you hold back for taxes, so you would need to charge $14.50 an hour to make minimum wage. Some designers starting out charge $20 an hour, there was a illustration project I did where I charged $75 an hour.

2.) What material cost are there? As I mentioned above, what are the final works ( print-ready file/some type of stencil/actual tiles) and what is it going to cost. If she wants...stencils, the cost of the acetone and x-acto knives are part of the project estimate.

3.) Copyrights and usage; when you create work, it is yours. You sell certain rights to use the work to someone for a specific time period and use. So if you okay the use of your designs on tiles, they can't be turned around and used on...tee shirts. Not without your say-so or more money for you. That the sketches you made of designs that were rejected aren't used by the client to be made by another (perhaps cheaper) artist.

GAG spells it out - http://www.graphicartistsguild.org/resources/contract-monitor/letter-of-agreement/

Now, make up a contract that clearly spells this all out:
-who it's a contract between
-what work will be done
-when it's due
-how much it'll cost
-all the other good stuff mentioned by GAG

Also, if you go to the library, just get the GAG.. um sorry graphic artist's guild handbook. They have boilerplate contracts in the back of the book for use. Just photocopy them.

About school:
Most state colleges, universities and communtiy colleges have graphic design programs. I went to art school. I didn't major in design, but I'm a pretty good designer. Some of my design work - http://gwendolynart.com/portfolio/Gwen-Richards-Resume-Graphic-Designer-Illustrator-09.pdf

But you don't necessarily need to go to school to be a designer. School can teach you how you basic skills; lay out a page/poster/logo/brochure/web site/etc, work with typography, and make things look nice and pretty. Or you can teach yourself with software, books, practice, and tutorials on youtube and the web.

Yes, a college degree is important to people and potential employers, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a design degree. But you're more then technical skills, and that's what you show people to get work. Talent and ability matter too.

Also, there's a LOT of business stuff to it that you do running your own design business I've found, instead of designing: finding clients, bills, contracts, promotion, bunches of other stuff. It is MUCH harder to go in on your own then working for a firm. Crap, I typed a lot.  Hope this helps.

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