Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of my advisory story, two things;
1. Those charging miserly prices are not the reason clients don’t pay good money for branding and…
2. Actually, clients do pay good money for branding.
If 1 and 2 above sounds like a myth to you, only one thing then… YOU’RE NOT A PROFESSIONAL. OK, less bitterly, you’re not acting like a professional.
Why the designers charging miserly prices are not the problem?
I once used to charge N2000 ($13) to design a logo so when I see someone charging same for a logo I know why. Such a person knows within himself/herself that he/she isn’t professional enough yet so he/she will collect anything to get by.
But here is the good disadvantage. Paradox yea? Whatever… Anyway, will a N2000 designer have an identity design brief let alone send a client one? Will he send design proposals channelled towards the client’s specific needs? Will he send invoices and contracts? Will the final design come with a 10 to 20 page manual explaining concepts behind his designs; that’s if his designs have any concept to start with. Do they even know what mock-ups are let alone understand that those things also serve the purpose of creating extra business? What’s good about these disadvantages? We’ll get to that later.
Now, ruminate severely on the above analysis and then put yourself in a client’s shoe. Will you pay more than N2000 for meaningless elements that have/show no relevance whatsoever to your brand muddled up within a digital space of 333px x 333px? Seriously?
Interestingly, the answer is yes. There are clients who are only bothered about slapping ‘something’ on their communication materials – clients who don’t care about a clearly defined brand identity and as such, they will never pay beyond a certain amount of money even if your professional conduct was more dapper than a 007 agent behind the steering wheel of an Aston Martin Vanquish Volante.
Are these the only type of clients that exist? Or you think because there is a N2000 pencil and paper draught’s man, every client out there has now refused to pay N50,000, N300,000 or even N1,500,000? Definitely not! The N2000 designers are there to meet the needs of a certain market and they’re doing well at it.
Now, remember the good disadvantage? What exactly is good about the disadvantages of a N2000 designer? He does not offer a number of things the better paying clients require in order to part with their money. What’s even better about their disadvantages? They’re the majority in the design business which makes it really difficult for a professional designer to be found thus encouraging clients to happily pay a great sum when they FINALLY find the professional designer.
So the solution to earning more as a designer, is it in getting rid of those who charge miserly fees? The answer is no! The question you should be bothered about providing an answer to is; how do I attract the better paying clients? Subtly said all through this post till now, the answer is professionalism.
According to Microsoft Encarta Dictionary, professionalism is the skill, competence, or character expected of a member of a highly trained profession. Change the ‘or’ before character to ‘and’ because you will need all three (3).
If you position yourself to offer both the value and perception that demands large figures, (something that comes with dedication to self development and not necessarily the passing of time like most designers think) you will attract the right clients with time.
Skill is self explanatory. You must have the talent of creativity. I’m surprised you read this far if you don’t. Not to discourage anybody but you’ll have difficulties attracting anybody (not just the better paying clients) if you are not creative. Sad news though, creativity is never enough for business.
Competence and character is usually where the bulk of the problem lies. A client calls and immediately, people are jumping on their PC to produce designs without a proper brief let alone a contractual agreement. Get yourself a brand identity questioner, get yourself a design contract, design yourself invoices and receipts, design a profile, have a website, etcetera.
I hear it’s difficult to be professional when one is broke and scampering to make ends meet but if you keep acting like a hungry man it’s only crumbs you will get even if you design better than Leonardo Da Vinci. Rich people don’t deal with paupers.
Speak proper English and use a bit of professional jargon… all the xup, hiya, and hw u, what’s up, so many designers keep using is just appalling. We might all be graphic designers but must you call yourself one like a beggar? Brand Identity Consultant, Brand Identity Developer carries more weight. Regularly go for training. If you can’t afford the time or money, study resources online so you know exactly what you’re talking about when you call yourself an identity consultant. If you can’t prove how your design can improve a client’s business, he/she is not going to pay you a fortune for it.
In conclusion, no one is responsible for what we earn as identity designers but us – not the other designers, not even the clients; just us. With proper packaging as manure, you can sell cow poop for 10 times the price.