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Release of Customer Artwork - Your Policy

Discussion in 'Polls' started by Doyle, Sep 23, 2008.

Release of Customer Artwork

  1. Burn it to a disc, charge a small administration fee (release ownership)

    9 vote(s)
  2. Offer to give him a disc containing limited files and restricted use (retain ownership)

    7 vote(s)
  3. Offer to burn it to a disc in various formats/sizes just as a LOGO, charge accordingly ($100+)

    19 vote(s)
  4. Give him a 60X60 low-res gif and snicker as he walks out the door

    3 vote(s)
  5. Give it to him, he paid for your time in designing it, it really already belongs to him

    22 vote(s)
  6. Other

    10 vote(s)
  1. Doyle

    Doyle Very Active Member

    Dec 4, 2006
    I know that this topic has been debated at great length here at Signs101, but I think that the answer is clear as mud. I am just curious as to how the majority of SIGN SHOPS actually handle this type of situation, HONESTLY!

    Here is the hypothetical situation, choose the poll option that best describes your action:

    A customer walks into your shop to order a sign and vehicle lettering, maybe some t-shirts as well. Since he is a start-up business, the topic of an identity/logo package is briefly discussed, but it is determined that the customer either cannot afford it, or doesn't think it is necessary at this point in time.
    You then design some really nice graphics for his signage, charge for your time in designing it, and all is well. At the end of the job, the customer requests the artwork that you created to be put on a CD for him to incorporate into various other media (phone book, newspaper, etc).
    You don't want to lose this customer and feel that he will be a good customer for years to come, but at the same time, you don't want to hand over all of your original artwork for free, what do you do?
  2. Jackpine

    Jackpine Major Contributor

    The first thing I ask is "what is your budget?" and "do you have a logo". Then give them a price for the logo work on a three tier level. Once the company logo is done the sign needs can be addressed. Aways educating the customer the value of their company's identity and the value of your work.
    In your situation offer the work as a logo fee and release it to them. They must now think there is an importance as you said to them in the beginning when they couldn't afford it.
    Get paid for your work.
  3. Doyle

    Doyle Very Active Member

    Dec 4, 2006
    What if a logo was NOT discussed prior to the work and the business is small-scale and probably couldn't afford your logo services anyway??
  4. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA
    The answer, quite simply, is that I don't do what you have in your scenario.

    There is a difference between developing original artwork and simply doing a nice layout. Those charges are buried in my original price for the work I've done for the client. So if we're only talking about my layout (type face selection, sizing, positioning), then we're not talking about a logo or anything the client or I should be claiming intellectual property rights to. In that instance I would either charge a small fee for creating and supplying the digital files in a usable form or I would just give them without charge as a good will gesture.
  5. Jackpine

    Jackpine Major Contributor

    Really you have to do some type of layout for their signs. I do 3 quick sketches by hand to give them an idea of layout and color and color value. A $150 minimum is what I charge for logo. Even if it is "just a sign" and no logo is talked about, I have had my layouts in yellow page ads and other uses as now the customer thinks it is theirs. Some customers have to be educated. A layout is one thing a logo is more. As Fred said, bury it in the job.
  6. Shovelhead

    Shovelhead Major Contributor

    Dec 5, 2003
    I voted along with Fred.
  7. speedmedia

    speedmedia Very Active Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Me third Fred.....

    Kurt Dietrich
    Speed Media
  8. Doyle

    Doyle Very Active Member

    Dec 4, 2006
    What about something like this......

    Attached Files:

  9. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA
    That's a logo and should be charged for at your highest rates separately and up front. Ownership is negotiable.
  10. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    It really depends on who the customer is for me. If a good customer asks for some artwork I generally dance around what he needs it for so I can figure out what is best for him and the person using it. By doing this I can suss out if they are trying to leave me, which so far has never happened. I generally email a logo to where they need it and I don't charge for it unless the customer is a tightwad and made me jump through hoops to do his job, then I charge. I generally do not do design and most customers have their own artwork it seems these days
  11. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

    Jun 24, 2003
    A logo is not just some words and graphics. It is not just a piece of art.
    A logo represents at a glance....
    The quality, integrity and value of your business. It is the graphical representation of every thing you stand for as a company. Look at the BMW logo. Immediately you know what it means. Look at the Domino's pizza logo. Immediately you know it stand for fresh hot pizza.

    Once you figure out how to define the work then you know how to charge for it. Are we sending out a lay out? Or are we sending out a Logo?
    How much is that worth? How much will you charge for a logo. How much will you charge for a lay out?
  12. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

    Dec 24, 2003
    Butler, PA
    I voted other, because I'm with Fred. Except for the part about giving it away free.
    I have had a customer who is too cheap to pay for his layout (Looks like a logo to me) which I designed 12 years ago, who went to another shop, they took a pic of it and voilà! It is on cheap banner billboards, his bizcard, YP ad, even embroidered onto his shirts. Except it looks like crap now.
    I'd probably burn it onto a CD in a few simple formats, like .jpg, .bmp, .gif, etc and charge him a buck and a half. He wants his cake and eat it too? I'd charge as if for a logo ($250) and he could have it all (every format known to man) on a CD.
    People just don't "get it" unless you explain to them early on just what they are getting.
    They think we love our work so much that it is pure orgasmic joy, and why should we charge them for giving us pleasure?
  13. DOGraphics

    DOGraphics Very Active Member

    Aug 9, 2007
    Even the "lady on the street corner" gets paid. :ROFLMAO:
  14. Total LOGO

    Very nice & should be charged at $250 +
  15. DPD

    DPD Member

    Apr 3, 2005
    New Jersey
    Nice logo.

    I reckon that unless you've discussed the logo up front then the customer believes he/she has paid for the layout work as part of the job. Now, I see a difference between paying me to layout the job and paying for the layout. I wouldn't release the artwork outright I would simply reprint the job or give out a jpg of the layout. All the person has to do is take a picture and they've got that much already so what's the difference.

    Just curious, but why did you design a logo? Typically, I'll charge for layouts and avoid designing a logo for just this reason. I too llike to do the best I can but I wouldn't design a logo unless I was paid to do so.
  16. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    That Pizzeria layout is a logo....

    They can afford a logo, bare minimum for opening a Pizzeria is around 100k for a small mom and pop operation. if you would have charged 1000 bucks for a logo, business card layout, sign layout(s), t-shirt, pizza box layouts, that is only 1% of the minimum investment they would have put into it that would last for years and years.

    Now if that logo-ized layout was going to sell your services for a sign, banners, cards, menu, shirts, vehicle wrap, website in the 10k range, I see no reason why you would not sign it over to them for their flyers, yellow page and news paper ads and other uses AFTER you have performed the work or you can sell them the service of keeping their "brand" consistent by laying out all their ad work.
  17. Mason

    Mason Very Active Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    I agree with Fred, my partner however is somewhere in between..
  18. Alphonse43

    Alphonse43 Member

    May 8, 2008
    I charge for the logo design, then burn a CD with the file in several formats, AI, EPS & BMP, print the logo & company name and all information needed on the front of the CD, along with the cost of another CD when required. This covers any hassles down the track when they can't find their CD and need access to the files, they then know it is not free of charge. I have never had any problems with this system, everyone knows exactly where they stand.

  19. Joe Diaz

    Joe Diaz Very Active Member

    What is key is to not only explain the benefits of owning a logo, which most of us do, but also explain the limitations of the design when it is not a logo. Most sign shops don’t do this. In fact we didn’t until recently. First make a clear comparison on what makes a design a logo or a layout. If you explain to the client that if he or she skip on the logo design process, they then won’t be able to use the design like a logo. Then show them the differences in costs and explain to them that if they want a design to act as a logo, that they should buy a logo. If they can’t afford a logo, they can’t afford the benefits of owning a logo. Plain and simple. Put it in terms they can understand. We have broken up our designs for not only signs but also logos into three categories: simple design, medium, and high-end, all falling under different price ranges. We then show them samples of each so that they can see the benefits of spending more.

    But like I said, it’s important to explain the limitations of the non logo design:

    They own the sign design but only on that application. It is not meant to be used on other applications. Outside of that sign, we own the design.
    What we have done to deal with the issues that could arise from this rule is: Offer the client what we call a “sign design to logo conversion package.” That way the design can be outfitted to work on these other applications and can be released to the client at any time, whenever they wish to use their sign layout as a logo. Other wise you release the sign design and skip the proper steps and the customer calls up complaining that it doesn’t work on a biz card or worse they butcher the design to fit an application it was not meant for.

    Now you could simply charge hourly what it costs to make this “conversion” or… and we do this: charge what the design is valued at. Meaning: you don’t charge for designs based on time, because you get faster every day… but the quality of those designs improve also.

    Another limitation is: we will not send sign designs to other vendors. They didn’t pay for this service when they bought the sign. They just bought a sign. We will, however, send logos to other vendors, but we have a small fee to do that. So if the customer wants or was planning on using this service, the logo route is the way to go… other wise they can buy the sign… come back later when they have more money and purchase the “sign design to logo conversion package” which will include the disk containing everything they need.

    But, if they take the route and go with the higher end sign design then later purchase the conversion package, they will actually end up spending $50-$100 more in the long run compared to if they just bought the basic logo to begin with, which would have been designed from the ground up to be used as a logo not just for a sign.

    And… we also now offer an annual plan where we will send the artwork where ever they need it sent, however many times they need, for an annual fee. This is a new thing that we just started offering.

    So to answer your question… If a customer comes in and wants a design that can be used on signs, vehicles and shirts. They want a logo.

    If they don’t want to pay for a logo then you charge them a design fee for each project separately, which honestly if it were our job, might actually end up costing them more to do it like this anyway, plus that customer wouldn’t be able to use that design outside of those applications. It would be kind of a dumb decision on their part.
  20. bob

    bob Major Contributor

    Nov 4, 2005
    Fred has it right. It's just a layout. I don't charge for that either, I have to lay the thing out, it's simply part of making a sign and included in the cost.

    There are few things in life more irksome than a cheap chisler, or even the appearance of being a cheap chisler. That's what charging separately for each and every specific thing looks like from here.

    I set up my pricing model to accommodate the majority of mywork. I always make money, some jobs more or less than others. But coming at it with the cold calculation of a cost accountant isn't part of my scene.

    Besides, the most of you aren't good enough at this sort of work to actually charge money for it.

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