A good graphic designer can command decent hourly rates, and as one, I fully appreciate why.  What frustrates me is a client’s perception of time versus value.

When a client asks me to do ‘quick job’, alarm bells are a ringin’. What clients forget is that they are not paying for 10 minutes of my time.  In actual fact, they are not paying for my time at all … they are paying for my vision, my skill and my experience. The simple fact that I can actually achieve what they want in ten minutes may be true ONCE I have an idea.

More often than not, however, the scenario will go a little like this…

• I would probably spend half an hour talking to the client about their thoughts, the design requirements, the application for the design and the possible uses of the concept in the future.

• I would then have to take this information onboard and will spend time (which is incalculable) thinking of possible design concepts, associated copy and layout.

• I would then perhaps spend 10 minutes digitally putting together my thoughts and ideas.

• I would then send a proof to the client for their thoughts and/or corrections.

• If a change was necessary, I would spend time on the changes (again: incalculable) send another proof and wait for feedback. This could take a while!!!

• Once the work is approved, I would prepare the file for the end-use (web; print etc) and send the final artwork to a. the client; b. the website developer or c. the medium … or all three.


Further consideration must be given to the file format needed for the end use. Here’s some examples…

• If it’s a magazine advertisement, the production department will require high resolution artwork with trim, registration and bleed marks. The client will also want a copy for their files, but generally ask for the printer’s marks to be removed. They will also ask for a ‘web friendly’ version so they can feature it on their website. That’s three versions of the same file.

• If the end use was a sign, a t-shirt motive or a bus mural, the required format would be a vector file. These files cannot generally be viewed without having the original design program, so the client cannot open it. That means they would need it in a PDF version or similar. That’s two versions of the same file (possibly in different sizes).

• For both the above scenarios, each version takes time (again: incalculable) to set up, save and supply.


So … yes! The actually design may have taken 10 minutes. However, the rest of the effort took a further 60 minutes at the very least.

Next time you ask a designer for a ‘quick job’, spare a thought for the 20 years experience, knowledge and vision, the ‘tweaking’ aspects before finished art and all those little ‘in betweens’ like email proofs, distribution and meetings.