As a graphic designer, you may run into a situation where the client wants more than one of your designs. Should you provide the design free? Should you charge for the additional design? Find out what to think about and how to figure out how to price it.
Hi and thanks for tuning in. I’m Colleen Gratzer, and in this episode of Design Domination, I’m talking about what to do when a client wants more than one of your designs.
Every once in a while, when you create designs for a project, a client may want to use more than one.
A lot of graphic designers may feel unsure about this. After all, you may have created a few designs in the process, but they’re only entitled to one.
How should you react to this request? What should you say? Should you charge more for this? Or should you not, because it was part of the work you were doing anyway?
Stick around to find out how to respond and how you can actually leverage this situation.
As part of any design project, you may present a few designs to start with to set the direction. Then the client chooses one for you to make revisions or to refine. After they approve the final design, you create the deliverables.
You may run into a situation where the clients decides they want more than one of the designs. They may want to use one of the designs now and another one later, such as an event logo for this year and one for next year.
Or they may want to use them both now such as a design on something that will be sold—a shirt or other merchandise, for example.
Unless stated otherwise in your contract or the client is unreasonable, the client is expecting one final design. If you’ve specifically stated “one final design” in your contract, this will be clear, and they will expect to pay more. If you didn’t do that and they’re unreasonable, they might try to argue about it or negotiate an additional design for free.
How to React When the Client Wants More Than 1 Design
So how should you react when the client wants more than one design? You might be thinking…
Should you not comply at all?
Only one design was included in the deliverables.
If you simply say no, because only one design was included, it could make you seem inflexible. But, more importantly, you lose out on an opportunity to make money without having to do any extra work. That’s a dream situation!
Should you provide the additional design at no charge?
After all, the designs were part of the design process that you did for the one design. You already did the work. You might think it wouldn’t be right to charge them for the additional design.
If you respond by giving away the additional designs free of charge, then the client benefits, but you don’t. They get more designs than what was included at an agreed-upon price.
If you don’t charge more, it devalues your work because it puts the focus on the time or effort spent. It’s about the intellectual property. It’s about your expertise in creating a solution.
So when you only focus on the time you spent or on the fact that it was part of the initial work, you’re missing the bigger picture.
Should you charge for the additional design?
The client is getting something more than what was included in the scope. It’s not BOGO (buy one get one free).
It may not cost you any more time or effort. That is your intellectual property that they are getting extra benefit from.
They have additional opportunities to use the additional design and make more money with them. You have the right to charge for that.
Will there be additional work?
But there is something else to consider. You might need to do some additional work with that design—create the deliverables, create various formats, etc. You need to get paid for that too.
Think like a business person. How can you benefit while helping them solve a problem? How can you best help your client and do what’s fair for you too?
If you need more convincing, think about this.
I recently hired a designer to design a t-shirt so I could sell shirts. I told her I would use the design on other merch too. I got feedback from many of you about which t-shirt designs you liked, and I liked more than one. So I explained this.
She happily sent me the files for the other designs. She never said anything about me paying more for them. In fact, when she sent me her invoice, it was for the originally agreed-upon amount.
When I went to pay her invoice, I gave her extra compensation for the additional designs. That was the right thing to do.
I am getting extra benefit for having more than one design. I am going to sell them. Some designers may want one design, and other designers may want another.
I got more than I originally asked for. I should pay more for that. And I did!
How Much to Charge When a Client Wants Additional Designs
So how much should you charge for extra designs? Well, you can charge whatever you want really. There are a few things you should take into consideration.
Consider the effort you put into the work.
For instance, did the client ask for a ton of refinements to the designs? If they raked you over the coals, you could charge enough to make back some of that so that the project is more profitable.
Or you might say, OK, well, since this was part of the design process and there were minimal refinements needed, I will charge 50% more. So if the initial work was $2,000, maybe you charge an additional $1,000 for the additional design.
Maybe the design is really a variation of the first one. In that case, if they aren’t that different, maybe you charge less.
Then there is: What will the deliverables be? Does the client need the same deliverables as with the first design? Do they need additional deliverables? Either way, this will create extra work, so take that into account and charge accordingly.
For instance, let’s say the designs are for an email design that you are going to set up with their email service provider as a template.
You designed both designs in the process of designing one design for them to choose. But then maybe you have to still set up both templates, so that part of the work will be double.
This is one reason I like to—in my head—separate the design cost versus the implementation. So the design might be, say, 50% of the estimate and doing the work and creating the deliverables the other 50%. It depends on the project what the balance of those percentages will be.
I don’t share that information with the client. It just helps me estimate better, like x for the design and this much per page for layout, just to get an idea for the total project pricing.
But you could calculate this after the fact too. I admit it. I’m a geek. I love to run numbers different ways.
So maybe you charge 50% of the design portion of the estimate for the second design and then you charge 100% of the implementation portion for the additional design.
In other words, if the entire project was $3,000. Let’s say you calculate that the design portion was, say, half of the work, so $1,500. The implementation portion would be $1,500 too.
Another design might mean you charge 50% of the $1,500—$750—but 100% of the implementation, $1,500, or maybe less, like in the case of designing another document that is similar to another one, where you can potentially reuse the file and the styles, etc.
I feel like I am making you overthink it or overcomplicating it. I am just giving you some ideas and some insight into my crazy brain when it comes to pricing design work.
What’s important is to charge for the extra design and any additional work and that it would be profitable for you.
That’s what professionals in other industries do too. That’s typical.
I would consider the value of the work to the client. What will they get out of this? What will it do for them?
How long will the work be used? Will it be a short-term benefit to them or a longer-term benefit such as a logo design for a new brand?
For example, a design that gets changed every year, such as an event logo, has less value than a logo for a new service or product with a longer shelf life.
How to Amend Your Agreement for Additional Designs
After you figure out what you’re going to charge for the additional design and any additional work that may be involved, modify the agreement or create a new one. State the scope, deliverables, pricing and the rights.
Don’t be afraid to say—confidently—“Sure. I’m happy to send you that design too. Here is a modified agreement to include that, and it will be this much.”
It’s a win-win situation.