“But it will only take you an hour or so . . .”
As a graphic designer, I hear this comment a few times a year — a client is unclear as to why I won’t simply charge them by the hour, sometimes by fifteen-minute increments. I can sympathize. When spending my money, I want to know I am not being gouged and that I am getting what I am paying for. It’s this concept of getting what you are paying for that sometimes needs clarification when discussing logo design.
My creative process typically involves coffee shops, walking, driving and not sleeping. Taking time away from the creative problem is vital to finding a solution. I will catch myself taking a break from working on an identity only to have a sudden jolt of inspiration. It is often these moments away from my desk, times of incubation that are worth every penny a client is billed.
You really can’t force creativity to happen. There are ways to encourage it and a process is there to help direct it, but in the end it has to just happen. So while a project may only take an hour at a desk, I can assure you more time was spent thinking about it.
I think it’s a better idea and more appropriate for clients to understand they are paying for a solution and not for the time associated. A graphic designers’ job is to solve problems. One of these problems is helping clients understand the creative process, and, in turn, the value behind design.
What has your experience been with hourly billing? What do you say to clients that want to pay for graphic design by the hour? Please share your comments using the form below.