Your questions answered #2

q and a

A few weeks back I asked if there were any questions you’d like me to answer, and addressed them in a ‘Your questions answered’ blog post. You kindly asked additional questions, so here we go with three more.


Kristen (of asks:

Do you still figure out your prices approximately by the hour? Given that you’ve had a lot of practice you may know how long something might take?

Where logo design projects are concerned, I’ve carried out enough to have a fair idea about set prices. However, sometimes the work required goes outwith the initial project scope. In such cases, the client will already be aware that I charge additional tasks by the hour. So I use a mix of both set rates and hourly charges, depending on the work involved.

That being said, it’s near impossible to accurately forecast how long logo designers spend on individual projects. You can set guidelines, but dealing with clients is unpredictable, as I’m sure you know.

Mike Ingham

Mike (of Mike Ingham Design) asks:

If graphic design wasn’t your career, what do you think you would have been doing?

When I was growing up (not that I’ve finished yet), I wanted to be many different things. As a child, being a soldier held appeal, then came the fire service, followed by a love of physics and a desire to become an electrician. All this was before I got a real taste for art and design while in school, and this lead me to believe architecture was the path to follow. Looking back, I’m not sure if I’d fancy any of those professions now (with a slight exception made for architecture).

Other than being a graphic designer, I’d love to earn a living as a scuba diving instructor, or a professional footballer (chance would be a fine thing). What about you?

q and a

Steve O asks:

Aside from word of mouth, what would you say is the best way to find new work when starting out alone?

Research local businesses. When you first start out in self-employment, it can prove much easier to clinch a deal with someone you can meet face-to-face, as opposed to clients across the globe, so start local.

I’m not sure if that’s the best way to find new work, but it helped me.

Do you have a question you’d like me to answer?

There are some questions from the previous post yet to be answered, and I’ll come to them soon. In the meantime, should you have any additional questions, by all means leave them here in the comments, and thanks for your interest.

27 responses

  1. Now if only I’d got my new site up before you gave me prominence! Heh, next time.

    When you say ‘research local business’, did you approach specific businesses offering your services? What made you choose them in particular? Can you tell I had a hard time freelancing in Cambridge? :)

    Have to agree on the pricing. I have a set price in mind for say a branding and then add extras by the hour. But it does depend entirely on the project and the client.

  2. Sounds like a good system for prices.

    I like the range of professions you were tempted by. It’s a bit boring when someone always knows what they want to do (sometimes its great when they achieve what they always wanted to do though).
    I’ve wanted to be an actress, singer, police officer, artist, biologist, graphic designer, photographer. Haven’t actually gotten to a particular point yet, but I spend most of my day in a microbiology lab.

  3. Next time, Steve. For sure.

    Good question about approaching specific businesses. I did, and focused upon non-profit organsiations. Some contacts wondered why, thinking that they wouldn’t have much of a budget for design work, but they’re run just like any other company, and I had experience working in the ‘third sector’. I felt my relevant experience would stand me in good stead, and it did. My advice is to target businesses in a sector displayed in your portfolio.


    Ah photography, that’s another profession I was attracted to. I studied black and white photography whilst at college. Loved it. So we can expect to see you on the big screen sometime in the future? ;)

  4. RE: Mike’s questions – – What about your career as a Premiership footballer?

    I have a question for the next round ;) – What was/is behind your concious effort to focus on logo design as your niche within graphic design?

  5. Ha! I probably couldn’t be more useless at acting if I tried! It was an inclination when I was quite young.
    Well, I’m not sure if that’s really true (that I’d be useless), I could probably learn lines and I have been on stage before. I would probably end up in roles like the ones Zooey Deschanel plays :P

  6. Aaron,

    As I mentioned on your blog, Man Utd approached me as a youngster, but I couldn’t bring myself to sign. None of the others could meet my wage demands. Thanks for the ‘next round’ question. I’ll be sure to answer it.


    I wasn’t familiar with Zooey (what a name), but I notice she acted in ‘Elf’. That’s a great movie! ;) Don’t worry about the editing. When that happens (not sure why) a simple refresh of the page brings it back to normal.

  7. Hi David. That is an Interesting issue.

    Let me ask you something.

    Why did you start by approaching non-profit ogranisation specifically? Was it for some specific reason in your mind?

  8. interesting questions with some very valuable answers. Thanks, David.
    Here’s for another round of Q&A:

    Can you please, describe your logo design process: what’s your next step after you’re done with the creative brief, client’s requirements, what’s next — do you simply grab a sketchpad and start sketching, or do you let the ideas sink in you first, go for a walk, or…?

  9. Yeah, I had to look her up on IMDB through Failure to Launch, which I watched last week. I’ve only seen a couple of movies with her in it, but she has a sort of dry humour about her. It is an interesting name.

  10. I think for me the hardest thing after hitting up local organisations was when you want to actually earn some money.

    btw are you guys talking about acting and soccer in the same breathe? lol

  11. Sherif,

    I started by approaching non-profits because because going solo I was working full-time for a charity, responsible for their print promotions and branding. So it made sense to use my industry-specific portfolio by contacting other companies in the same sector.


    Thanks very much for your question. I’ll be sure to address it in another round of Q&A.


    What I liked about Elf was Will Ferrell. He can be hilarious. To be honest I can’t remember Zooey in it.


    Interesting comment about earning money through local organisations. Did you find them unprepared to pay? As for the football, did you know that Man Utd’s ground is labelled the ‘theatre of dreams’? Appropriate that Ronaldo plays for them, what with his diving and complaints. ;)

  12. Wow. I wanted to be an architect. I want to retire on a beach and teach scuba diving (I am Nitrox certified). And I wanted to be a paramedic. I still kind of miss not having gone the architect route, but I am starting to get traction as a graphic designer and winning awards just makes it that much sweeter.

    I still sketch cool architecture in my free time. I think it is probably better that it is my hobby rather than my profession.

    I just took up acting in my local community theatre group and I would love to start an improv comedy troupe. I love the variety of acting and comedy.

  13. Wow, SCUBA diving?? Are you certified, David? I have my NAUI open water cert and that was the whole reason for my recent Carribean cruise and why I went to Hawaii for my honeymoon. It’s sure hard to want to dive in Southern California now! Too cold, and not anywhere near the colors!

    I wanted to be a psychologist or a lawyer. I actually started getting my Bachelor’s degree in psychology, but switched to graphic design when I discovered you could make money in a creative and artistic career :) Psychology still interests me, but I’m sure glad I didn’t pursue law… too much reading!

  14. Oh yeah… I didn’t mean I had to look her up because she’s so great, although I do like her. I meant I wasn’t familiar with her name, only knew her face from a couple of movies.

    Heh… I really don’t like Will Ferrel. Most of his humour is a hit and miss with me. I’m sure he’s got a few good ones though. I seem to remember disliking the one that he coaches soccer in – I think it’s the inappropriate humour that gets me, I prefer a more witty (read British) style. :P

    That’s a pretty cool hobby Tom. I never thought of architecture as a hobby type of things, but I guess anything can be if the love it there :)

  15. Oh, this is not a question for your next answers post, but How do you use Wp-cache? Or do you use a different plugin. I’d like on that creates a cache after a certain number of visitors within a certain amount of time so that when I get a stumble upon hit or something it reduced the server load. At the moment I have a problem with comments not showing up because it’s displaying a chached page, or something like that. Maybe I need a much shorter expiry time?

  16. Tom,

    Quite the similarities between us then! When you get your comedy sketches uploaded to YouTube (or you impending comedy website), do let me know. :)


    I’m actually not certified, which is a shame considering the amount of time I spent travelling through South-East Asia. It’s much cheaper to get a PADI certificate there. Still, I’m sure I’ll be heading back that direction in the not-too-distant future. I think you made the right choice switching to graphic design, consdering the helpful content you publish on Creative Curio. Keep it up!


    I agree that Will Ferrel can be hit an miss, and I’m not always in a slapstick comedy type of mood. If I was to list some all-time favourite comedies I’d have to go for something like ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, ‘The Life of Brian’, or ‘Sideways’.

    About the WP Cache plugin, I have it set at the maximum expiry time, so I’m not sure why comments show immediately. Perhaps there’s some sort of override for post comments. It’s a plugin that has caused me some issues, and I can’t get it to work on my Logo Design Love site. Have you tried using Super Cache instead? It’s apparently a better overall option, but I’ve yet to sample it.

  17. Do you have any advice for a student who just graduated and is looking for work at a small studio or advertising agency to being their career? How did you get your start out of school?

  18. Thanks for answering my question!

    Not sure what I would be doing, my dreams of being a professional footballer never took off!

    Its interesting the amount of people who considered architecture as a career, as did I, but I was put off by the 7 year courses.

  19. No worries, Mike.

    Those 7 year architecture degrees had a bearing on my decision too. Not much, but some. It’s similar to medicine in the amount of time you need to spend in full-time education!

  20. Thanks for the compliment, David :)

    I think PADI is more world-wide than NAUI. I always get certified from the more unusual group, though not on purpose… when I was a lifeguard I was certified by the YMCA rather than Red Cross, which is not as difficult–but more universally accepted–as YMCA. I tried to get a job at the Disneyland Resort, but they only accepted Red Cross certs.

  21. I have just bought a new website that has design in the title.

    I really don’t know what to do with it. I am ok with illustrator and Photoshop and can design some ok logos. I am also very interested in reading and writing about art and deisgn.

    Anyway to the point. If you were starting from scratch with my website what would you do with it? Is there anything that is a bit different from other sites on the web that you or your visitors could recommend

    Your feedback would be really useful

  22. You’re very welcome, Lauren. See those buggers at Disneyland? Don’t know a good lifeguard when they see one.


    Do you have any idea what you want to do with your new domain? What does the t17 represent?

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