What’s the dumb­est thing you’ve ever said to a prospec­tive client?

Computer Arts - - CONTENTS - ROBERT DUG­GAN WHITE Co-founder, Gilly & Rob Ltd www.gillyan­drob.com KIERAN BOND Free­lance de­signer, Kern & Bond www.ker­nand­bond.co.uk BATU COLOGLU Free­lance mo­tion graph­ics de­signer www.batu­cologlu.co.uk

“Sure, I’ll add that with no ex­tra charge.” About six years ago, when I was a free­lancer I was work­ing on a web­site for a client who had a small trans­port com­pany. It was just a stan­dard web­site – a small num­ber of pages, a few pho­tos and a con­tact form. Sim­ple. When the job was done, the client asked me about get­ting a busi­ness card de­signed and I naively of­fered to do it for free, think­ing it would be a quick job. The client then got this idea that he wanted to have a bus with air­plane wings, be­cause his main busi­ness in­volved go­ing to and from Dublin. It turned out to be a night­mare that dragged on and on. I spent more time on that bus than I’d spent de­vel­op­ing his web­site. To make it worse, he ended up us­ing it as his busi­ness logo. I de­signed his logo for free without even re­al­is­ing.

“Be­cause you’re a char­ity, I’ll to­tally do a full re­brand of your iden­tity for free.” When I was just start­ing out, I was given a job by a lo­cal char­ity who wanted a full re­brand of its iden­tity, sta­tion­ary, the lot. They promised to ‘rec­om­mend me to some peo­ple’ in re­turn. Me be­ing young and naive, I did the re­brand. But although they were happy with my work, I never heard from the char­ity, or got any rec­om­men­da­tions. In the process, I learned one of the many lessons de­sign­ers need to learn the hard way: never do any work for free, even if the client does prom­ise some­thing vague, like ex­po­sure, in re­turn. The char­ity made me sign a con­tract, part of which said I couldn’t use the work in my port­fo­lio. An­other les­son learned: al­ways read the con­tract, and chal­lenge any­thing you don’t agree with.

“You need a pro­fes­sional to do that.” Back in the early days when I was start­ing out as a free­lance mo­tion graph­ics de­signer, ev­ery­thing was go­ing re­ally well. I was booked ev­ery sin­gle month with var­i­ous stu­dios. I was gather­ing real ex­pe­ri­ence and build­ing up my port­fo­lio. I was liv­ing the dream. One day, I was booked by a high-end ad agency and I re­ally felt like I’d made it. The pro­ducer ap­proached me and asked me to do an an­i­mated piece that I thought would be tough to do well within the time­frame. I replied: “You need a pro­fes­sional to do that.” To date, those have been the most ridicu­lous words to ever come out of my mouth, con­sid­er­ing I was the one they’d hired as a pro­fes­sional. Since then, I’ve al­ways ap­plied a fil­ter of en­gag­ing my brain first be­fore speak­ing. Words are pow­er­ful.

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