Just a quick note: We have gotten round one of our new graphic and logo design portfolio up and running. Please stop by and take a look! More to come but that is enough for now. Getting a blog-based portfolio turned out to be quite a challenge. The days of 100% pure hand-coded HTML seem so quaint by contrast…
Here are 6 books for one penny each (US dollars) that are a steal! They are used of course but their information is timeless and you can’t beat the price:
- Graphic Artists Guild Handbook (Graphic Artists Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines)
This book contains priceless discussion about and examples of contracts for graphic designer to use. New or used, every designer should have this on their shelf.
- Color Harmony: A Guide to Creative Color Combinations
Sometimes you simply need to turn away from the computer and pick up a printed swatch book or some other tactile form of inspiration. This is a classic!
- Quick Solutions for Great Type Combinations
A great book for seeing on paper how to combine classic fonts. Sometimes you just need to see up close examples done by skilled typographer to see what classic fonts are capable of, and how they work in combinations you might not have thought of.
- Inspirability: 40 Top Designers Speak Out About What Inspires
It’s hard to find 40 designers in one place speaking about the timeless issue of how to get inspiration. For 1 cent, you just saved 5 hours of surfing the web looking for this info!
- 2005 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market
Why include such an old book? Surely the information is dated. Not exactly, not at all! Most of the information in the book reveals how you should approach all kinds of people, timeless marketing tips, and a ready list of companies that year after year are in the book. So, for 1 cent, you can nab the book. If you really want an updated list, you can then turn around and buy the new version. But for 1 cent, you get to see what all the fuss about this great book is year after year.
- Designer’s Guide to Color 3 (Bk. 3)
I included this classic book which has been sold for years unchanged. It’s just another book you can turn to and hold and flip through when you need to take a coffee break and your eyes are tired of the glowing screen. It’s timeless and a book I pick up with some frequency nearly 10 years after I bought my new copy.
NOTE: When I checked these out there were limited numbers of copies from various booksellers for the 1 cent price. If the 1 cent copies are gone by the time you read this, there will be some under a dollar. And if you wait long enough (why you’d wait I’m not sure) you might see them again for 1 cent.
- What’s your favourite graphic design book? – David Airey
Here are 100 of the most popular books on graphic design. Some are old and some are really old. The great thing about the fundamentals of graphic design is that they never change. How many of these books are in your personal libray? Enjoy!
100 of the most popular books on graphic design
- Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students (Design Briefs)
- The Non-Designer’s Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice
- Meggs’ History of Graphic Design
- Graphic Design Solutions, Third Edition
- Graphic Design: The New Basics
- The Elements of Color: A Treatise on the Color System of Johannes Itten Based on His Book the Art of Color (A Basic color library)
- Envisioning Information
- Universal Principles of Design
- Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines (Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines)
- Designing with Type: A Basic Course in Typography
- Design Elements: A Graphic Style Manual
- Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop
- An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers
- Typography Workbook: A Real-World Guide to Using Type in Graphic Design
- Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team
- Layout Workbook: A Real-World Guide to Building Pages in Graphic Design
- Designing Brand Identity: A Complete Guide to Creating, Building, and Maintaining Strong Brands
- Graphic Design: A New History
- Interaction of Color
- Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type (Design Briefs)
- Geometry of Design: Studies in Proportion and Composition
- Picture This: How Pictures Work
- Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works (2nd Edition)
- The Elements of Graphic Design: Space, Unity, Page Architecture, and Type
- Design Basics Index (Index Series)
- How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul
- The Laws of Simplicity (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life)
- Forms, Folds and Sizes, Second Edition: All the Details Graphic Designers Need to Know but Can Never Find
- Designer’s Color Manual: The Complete Guide to Color Theory and Application
- Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide
- Fingerprint: The Art of Using Hand-Made Elements in Graphic Design
- Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color
- Logo Design Workbook: A Hands-On Guide to Creating Logos
- Design Language
- Graphic Design Basics
- Getting It Printed: How to Work With Printers and Graphic Imaging Services to Assure Quality, Stay on Schedule and Control Costs
- Understanding Color: An Introduction for Designers (Design & Graphic Design)
- Exploring the Elements of Design (Design Exploration Series)
- Elements of Design: Rowena Reed Kostellow and the Structure of Visual Relationships
- Exploring Typography (Design Exploration Series)
- Caffeine for the Creative Mind: 250 Exercises to Wake Up Your Brain
- Graphic Design School, Third Edition
- Graphic Communications Today, 4E
- Basics of Design
- Building Design Portfolios: Innovative Concepts for Presenting Your Work (Design Field Guide)
- The Designer’s Guide To Marketing And Pricing: How To Win Clients And What To Charge Them
- Color Index: Over 1100 Color Combinations, CMYK and RGB Formulas, for Print and Web Media
- Type: A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles, Vol. 1
- Becoming a Graphic Designer: A Guide to Careers in Design
- Introduction to Design (2nd Edition)
- Publication Design Workbook
- 1,000 Type Treatments: From Script to Serif, Letterforms Used to Perfection
- Data Flow: Visualising Information in Graphic Design
- A Guide to Graphic Print Production
- Layout Essentials: 100 Design Principles for Using Grids
- Layout Index: Brochure, Web Design, Poster, Flyer, Advertising, Page Layout, Newsletter, Stationery Index
- Picturing Texts
- Marks of Excellence
- Principles of Form and Design
- The Information Design Handbook
- Business and Legal Forms for Graphic Designers (3rd Edition)
- What is Graphic Design? (Essential Design Handbooks)
- The Designers Complete Index (Boxed Set)
- D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself (Design Handbooks)
- A Designer’s Research Manual: Succeed in Design by Knowing Your Clients and What They Really Need (Design Field Guide)
- Logo, Font & Lettering Bible
- Typographic Systems of Design
- The Wayfinding Handbook: Information Design for Public Places
- Visual Literacy: A Conceptual Approach to Graphic Problem Solving
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Graphic Design
- The Business Side of Creativity: The Complete Guide to Running a Small Graphics Design or Communications Business (Third UpdatedEdition)
- How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer
- The Designer’s Desktop Manual
- Graphic Design: A Concise History, Second Edition (World of Art)
- Package Design Workbook: The Art and Science of Successful Packaging
- Starting Your Career as a Freelance Illustrator or Graphic Designer
- Letterhead and Logo Design 9 (Letterhead & LOGO Design (Quality)) (v. 9)
- Type Idea Index: The Designer’s Ultimate Tool for Choosing and Using Fonts Creatively
- The Design of Dissent: Socially and Politically Driven Graphics
- 1,000 Graphic Elements: Details for Distinctive Designs
- Decoding Design: Understanding and Using Symbols in Visual Communication
- Looking Good in Print
- The Graphic Designer’s Guide to Portfolio Design
- Idea Index: Graphic Effects and Typographic Treatments
- Creativity for Graphic Designers
- Designing Type
- Type Rules!
- The Creative Business Guide to Running a Graphic Design Business (Revised)
- Make It Bigger
- Design Matters: Logos 01: An Essential Primer for Today’s Competitive Market (v. 1)
- New Vintage Type: Classic Fonts for the Digital Age
- Design for Communication: Conceptual Graphic Design Basics
- Green Graphic Design
- Creative Sparks: An Index of 150+ Concepts, Images and Exercises to Ignite Your Design Ingenuity
- Process Color Manual: 24,000 CMYK combinations for design, prepress, and printing
- The Designer’s Guide to Color Combinations
- AIGA Professional Practices in Graphic Design, Second Edition
- Designing Brand Experience: Creating Powerful Integrated Brand Solutions
- Information Design Workbook: Graphic approaches, solutions, and inspiration plus 30 case studies
- Vector Graphics and Illustration: A Master Class in Digital Image-making
- What’s your favourite graphic design book? – David Airey
This is a great topic we’ll revisit in one way or another many times. For now, I’m going to list out some pros and cons in the form of bullets for each type of payment. There is no right or wrong answer here, but rather we have pros and cons based on situations.
Pros for hourly rate:
- You get paid for the time you work
- It’s 100% quantifiable
- It’s your bread and butter with established clients
- You and your client feel good and have a great level of trust to be at this point
- You like when this work comes in
Cons for hourly rates:
- Clients distrust hourly fees when you have not worked with them long enough or built a relationship over time
- Hard to know what rate to set with each client, unless you just have a simple flat fee or simple two-tier system in place
- You have to wobble things around to know what to charge for
- You have to have a pretty good system for tracking hours
- You have to decide how you track time: in quarter-hour increment, half-hour increment, or hourly or daily.
Pros for by-the-project or fixed bid graphic design fees:
- If you do really well and hit the ball out of the park in several key phases of the project, your profit can go way up which makes your internal hourly rate take a nice leap forward
- It settles the client down to know that the bill will not change and makes them happy
- For the right job, it makes perfect sense. For instance, the logo design process can be fixed up front to a certain exact work scope and fixed number of hours. Other technical jobs, like custom programming or web site creation where the content and navigation are changing as the client sees the site coming together are not a good mix for fixed bid fees. Estimated fees for these kinds of projects are the only way the designer can be fairly compensated while trying to hit a moving target.
Cons for by-the-project or fixed bid graphic design fees:
- If you underbid, you are stuck with the responsibility to deliver for your client, no matter what.
- You will have to work on a more detailed scope.
- You will have to say “no” to the client when they request something outside the budget, or at that point work on an additional fee or hourly rate to accomplish the extra task
- Fixed bid projects are larger so you take more risk on the back end of the project for getting paid on time, or getting paid at all (in these trying times…)
- Overall, fixed bid costs to you are time in the planning and documenting department
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but is rather a quick brain dump of the main highs and lows of each billing method.I think one method that is not used enough, not because it doesn’t work, but because some designers afraid of losing a job might not want to try it. The estimate method is very strong:
Pros for the estimate method:
- Gives client a general range of cost, but nails down an expected cost based on a scope you have worked out
- Allows you some flexibility in deciding what to charge and not charge for.
- Allows for some scope creep (inevitable) but at the same time doesn’t create a situation that makes you have to go write more documentation and cost fixing for additional work. Under the estimate model, you can simply verbally or by email tell a client “We can do that, no problem. That will take 5 more hours…”
I have found that the estimate method works great for new and existing clients. The trust-based hourly rate clients all seem to naturally fall into this mode. I’m hourly but bigger projects get an estimate. If I’m way off, I just eat the overages because I value the long-term value of the client. No need to worry over 2-3 hours here and there if over the long run you are able to get consistent work and you are both happy. In that case it all comes out in the wash.
The least workable model for larger projects (typical freelance graphic design projects, especially web design) I think is the fixed bid. It can create unrealistic expectations by default for some reason because it requires copious documentation as well as copious understanding of said documentation on the part of the client to understand what is in and out of scope. In other words, though it’s in writing (and took a long time to write) sometimes it’s not clear to the client what they can and can’t request. Nothing is less fun than saying “that’s not covered in the agreement” to a client. It creates a more rigid eye-for-an-eye type of relationship that is easy to create a sense of resentment in for both yourself and client. The client can’t understand why you just can “tweak the layout a bit here” and you can’t understand why they don’t understand “that’s not in scope”.
Of course, any of these methods can indeed work wonderfully. I have had clients that used me in both fixed and hourly scenarios. For instance, repeat work that involves updating web content or formatting new content into an existing print piece are all hourly. But the same client would also have me working on knocking out basics for new customers at a fixed cost since the scope was always 100% the same. So it makes it easy to just go in and get it done.
Fixed bid graphic design fees – a final good word:
One last thing, to say something good for fixed bid systems: they do in fact work great when you know for a fact the scope will not change. Simple print design falls in this category. There is only so much work a post card could possibly take given the source photo and logo the client sent you, for instance. You could just say 5 hours or 8 hours and it’s no big deal if they decide to swap the photo. In reality, changes to small fixed bid projects, especially print design projects, are easier to just knock out in 10 minutes than to take another 20 minutes for billing and emailing and stress. As I mentioned above, the logo design process can also fit this process very well too.
Summary: Mix up your graphic design fee methods!
There is no one size fits all graphic design fee structure or system that works for all clients and projects. Try and get to hourly by building trust, but be open to fixed bid fees on smaller simpler projects, and try to use the estimate model which doesn’t require copious documentation and onerous detailing of changes in scope as a larger project rolls along. As trust with your clients builds over time, you will likely not have any billing issues, as you both grow in understanding and appreciation for the mutual value and benefit you bring to one another.