I thought this would be an interesting share. I'm sure if you're a designer and have been for a few years, you've gotten that email from that guy who wants you to do some work for them on the cheap. The very. very cheap. It's happened a few time to me, and tonight I felt I should respond in a bit of a different way. Here is the original email and my response below.
My name is X owner and founder of X. I came across your portfolio a few weeks ago, and was extremely impressed by the work you do in the logo and identity branding field.
X is a small company that we are just kicking off that illustrates collaboration on projects amongst designers while executing the highest perfection those designers can commit. I am sending you this email because I would like you to be a part of our roots, and grow this business with us.
I am offering you a position on the team at X for which you will work on mascot design to the best of your abilities. Like any other position, the pay gradually gets better as you go, but there are conditions and non-traditional factors about the income for employees of this company, so let me explain - [Below]
Steps towards your individual project completions for X:
1) I give you a name, or a theme, or an idea of a mascot logo for you to execute
2) You complete the mascot logo / branding for me, then securely send the files over to me
3) Either myself or one of our other designers will use the logo you created to construct a large package of social media designs such as Twitter graphics, YouTube graphics, etc, as well as phone and desktop wallpapers using the logo for all
4) This whole package - Logo, Twitter graphics, YouTube Graphics, and the Phone & desktop wallpapers - will be sold to a client willing to claim the package for $100 - $129 depending on the quality of everything in the pack.5) Once it is sold, I will send you 50% of the payment that was received for the creation of the logo put in the pack
Keep in mind, the price for these packs will get higher as we grow our business. Also, the amount of new clients we get will increase over time, as we begin to show the world the power of beautiful logos and brandings. We hope that you enjoyed hearing our ideas and strongly consider joining our business as we see it an opportunity for all designers alike.- - - - - - - - - - - -
Hope to hear from you soon & have a great day!
Thank you for writing and thanks for the position offer at X. I gather that this is sourcing opportunity where you pay me as a freelance designer to execute the logos for the projects you need? In this case I must charge my regular logo rate starting at $550. This cost is based on a simple equation of what i want to make per year (allowing 2 weeks off for vacation and holidays) which is within the average salary of others of my profession with similar experience and "skillz", in my same area of the country as tracked by the AIGA, divided by how many projects i need to do monthly to make said salary, and spaced out in a schedule that is achievable. This cost covers the week I will spend . . .
1.) researching the client and subject
2.) gathering information and files (usually reference photos and "inspiration")
3.) sketching ideas - i usually take 2 to 3 days on this part. it is essential to the end result of the logo. this part of the process often involves lots of "creative thinking" and doubts about my choice of profession and what i'm doing with my life, followed by long walks through the city pondering the project and hopefully not getting lost like that one time in Columbus when i ended up in an area that gave me an urge to listen to Eminem and develop a strange "hood accent" so that kid who asked "yo, do you smoke?. . . you do drugs?" wouldn't think i was educated or had anything of value and just leave me alone cause i'm trying to crush it on this logo project, man.
4.) sorting out the best sketches and thinking hard how they will work in the real world and most of them are kind of crap so i revisit my anxiety about life and if i'm going to be able to pay the bills when i'm only able to do work that is so average and why can't i generate great ideas like Banksy? he's so damn good.
5.) taking the best sketches that i believe will work and doing "tight sketches" of them so i have a blue print to build from when i import it to Illustrator
6.) even most of those look like crap now so have to cull those down to the best 1-3 ideas left and hope one of them will work.
7.) the last day or two is building those sketches into actual vector logos and somehow making them into a respectable design that the client, his audience, and i are proud of and the more i re-draw and refine my work the better it becomes, so i'm usually doing about 5 versions of the same idea, only better, and it takes time to do that and sit at my computer starring at the work and finding new flaws i hate about it and need to correct.
from there on, clients usually want to make changes to the logo, which i will do 1 round of for free but charge $40 for each round there after. i do this to deter the client from going on and on with changes which eats into the time i have for other projects and before you know it 2 weeks later i've done 7 rounds of changes for nothing, haven't been paid the final 50% of initial cost ($550) and the client ends up with some terrible bastardized version of the original logo i presented them and can't even use in my portfolio because its so horrible but his wife and nephew love it so, what the hell, they have to live with it.
That is why i must charge a starting flat rate of $550 to be able to ride the bus, feed my son (think about the children!), eat things from Wal-Mart's grocery, and pay that damn evil Verizon company. But to stay within your budget of $50 - $60 per logo i can send you some loose sketches of any ideas i can come up with over the next 1 to 1.5 hours based on the mascot you provide.