Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ten engaging things

This is a blog. (Which as you may or may not know is short-hand for web log.) We bloggers are generating so much content every day the clutter of it all demands creators find ways to engage readers. Blogging borrows heavily from a tradition called print media - a system where editors are accountable to the readers because the advertising revenue depends on them. Delivering eyeballs is worth a lot to advertisers from manufactures of cake mix to sellers of automobiles. (Advertising dollars, paid circulation and editorial lived together in near perfect harmony.)  But now you must do it without testing the limits of the increasingly shrinking attention span. So, offered here for your engagement pleasure my top ten:

10. So, a priest, a rabbi and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender says “What is this some kind of joke?”

9.  So St. Peter says, “There are no lawyers in heaven!”

8. How do you make elephant Jello? Just read the directions on the box.

7. A canner can can anything he can, but a canner can’t can a can, can he?

6. What’s black and white and red all over…a newspaper. (A newspaper is part of that ancient print media tradition referred to earlier in this blog. Read all over, get it?)

5. She sells sea shells by the seashore.

4.  A daffodil slid off ada.

3. If you flip a coin 99 times and it comes up heads every time, what are the odds it will turn up heads again if you flip it the 100th time? (Answer 50/50.)

2. Like Groucho, I don’t want to be part of any club that would have me as a member.

And finally at number 1… There was an Old Man of Nantucket; Who kept all his cash in a bucket. His daughter, called Nan, Ran away with a man, And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

If you read this far, thank you. I hope you were reasonably entertained and engaged along the way through this post of 350 words (or less).

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Welcome to Casey's Cave

Sitting around the dining room table at Casey’s; Kathy, Kat, Ferrell, Vicky and myself; we are ready to talk business about ExecLink. Terry sent his regrets because he’s working on a contract basis with a software development client in Illinois (across the river).  Our leader is at the head of the table and ready to conduct business. This was not the president’s first choice for our board meeting, but he is gracious none the less. Casey’s home is pleasant and comfortable. In this Ballwin neighborhood this evening, it seems the only sound is the clamor of our little business meeting. Casey’s wife said hello before heading upstairs.

Our meeting comes to order. Casey offers updates on the composition of our board. We might like to add two more he says. He yields the floor to Kathy to give a member update and some news on our event registration procedure. A natural segue on costs allows Ferrell to jump to the treasurer’s report. All are in agreement that we are not yet in a position to charge annual membership fees to the 650+ we have on our roster. The meeting structure relaxes enough to cover a few thoughts on one new website, marketing, sponsorship, speakers and future venues. A motion to adjourn is seconded and our business is complete within the space of an hour.
The subject of the cave comes up as we begin to disperse. Kat and I follow Casey down the stairs to find out what it is. I expected a haven for sports viewing with a big-screen TV and a fully stocked wet bar, but that was not it at all. This cave is a remarkable display of memorabilia that is a feast for the eyes. The room is small with a 360 degrees of collectibles arranged carefully. It is a work of art and a celebration of life itself. The curator of this museum makes sure that every inch of his approximately 200 square feet is neatly arranged and dust-free. There are Kurt Warner bobble-head dolls, NASCAR die cast cars, a couple of file cabinets, spaces dedicated to displays of buttons, coins, action figures, Olympic Pins, baseball memorabilia, more than 200 beer steins.
Clearly a person could peruse such a place for hours. Our guide talks about a few of his favorites: A retrospective of personal cell phones spanning three decades (telecom specimens that reminds us of how fast technology is changing); A Stainless steel NYC subway strap, installed and hanging perfectly, allows you to imagine a bumpy trip downtown. A coconut monkey sits proudly on a shelf in the middle of it all. The purchase made during a tropical vacation with his wife. “It was just 50 cents. I just had to have it,” he says. The room is a collage, the art of assemblage, almost a decoupage,  a masterpiece, parts of which consist of holiday and birthday gifts from his children.
In all, the room is a glimpse inside the life and mind of Casey himself, a wonderful cornucopia of tokens that are recognition of travel, business, family and friends. It’s a tribute to colorful memories and simple pleasures. Thanks for showing it to us Casey!     

Sunday, March 3, 2013

How Much for a Logo?

Tiffany posted a question on LinkedIn Group recently. How much do freelancers usually charge for a logo? The question triggered a lot of answers that were really more like guidelines than definitive rules. Unfortunately, the value of design can often be determined by what the market will bare.   

David Ogilvy did NOT say, it’s not creative unless it sells. The mantra actually originated with Benton & Bowles in the 1970s, but David Ogilvy, however, frequently quoted (or misquoted it as) if it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative. Either way, it is unfortunate to suggest design doesn’t have value unless someone is willing to pay for it. Some of the answers to Tiffany’s question seem to point to a pretty good range of challenges designers face, especially freelancers. Highlights of some of responses to Tiffany are offered here:  
A few factors used to determine a price: How easy or difficult is the client?  Is it a rushed job? or  Expected difficulty of project? Not every designer will be charging the same. Other factors: your experience level, your costs, your expertise, possibly your location, and most of all your ability.
This is a challenge for designers at every level. Look for the Graphic Artists Guild Ethical Pricing Guide, an invaluable tool. I wouldn't base identity design solely on time. The value of an identity should largely be based on the size of the organization and audience it will reach. Unlike other areas of design, identity includes a transfer of copyright which has value. As a baseline hourly rate, determine what you want to make annually and divide that by 2000 to determine your hourly rate.
A project retail price range depending on client budget, how many comps, how many versions of logo, etc. If Joe Blow wants a logo for his new bagel shop that's a lower rate. If a corporate entity wants a new logo, that's something entirely different. Also depends on where you're located. I'm just outside NYC where the rates are probably a little higher than say Oklahoma City. Generally speaking, if I retail a logo for $550, I will pay my freelancer $250-$350 depending on the number of comps. Some clients want 2-4 original comps. Then they pick the look they like and I do 2-4 variations of that. Then we nail it.

An hourly rate for design can be problematic. You develop a good feel for how long it will take and how much it should cost to do a given project. A good designer with specific instructions and sample logos as a guide can do a logo in 2-6 hours.
If you sell logos for $100 you will never be able to demand $500 somewhere down the line.  The design part of your job is 50%, the other more important 50% is being able to sell value.
If you are currently working as a freelance designer I would highly suggest becoming a member of AIGA. It is very affordable and would provide you with the information you need to be competitive.