So, you’d like to commission some illustration for your business or organisation, but don’t have a clue how much it’s likely to cost?
This is often one of the first questions I get asked by new clients.
Particularly if you’ve never commissioned an illustrator before, it’s not surprising you have absolutely no idea how much they’re going to charge…
They just pluck a figure out of thin air, right?
No. But, I’m afraid to say there’s no quick answer. Every illustration job is different, and there are a number of key factors that a professional illustrator will want to know about in order to calculate their fee for your specific project.
As a member of the Association of Illustrators, a recognised trade association based in the UK, I have access to a standard industry pricing structure, which helps me understand the range of fees charged for all kinds of different illustration projects - from corporate and advertising through editorial and children’s book publishing, to character development and apps...This information is invaluable to me in ensuring that my pricing is in line with industry standards.
Whatever the project, there are some important considerations that should always be taken into account when calculating a fee...
- Usage - What will the illustrations be used for?
Licensing - This relates to specific media, the territory (UK only or elsewhere in the world?) and how long will the illustrations be used for
The size of the client - The costs for a small business or start-up would be justifiably different than those for a global enterprise
The complexity of the illustration ...and the time the work is likely to take
The quality and experience of the illustrator
Additional to these, an illustrator will likely suggest and take into account the process required for a particular project. For example...
- Initial sketch stage, how many options will be presented to the client?
Does there need to be any kind of sample style or different colour options shown?
How many rounds of amends, if required, will be allowed for within the process?
Delivery of the final artwork in specified formats - are there lots of different versions?
If this all sounds rather complex, please don’t be put off.
I can assure you that it’s in your best interests to have a project priced with your particular needs in mind, rather than a blindly quoted, blanket fee, which may allow for usage that you won’t require. It is mutually beneficial for the client and the illustrator that when agreeing a fee, a specific licensing agreement is in place - this way everyone knows where they stand and how the illustrations may be used.
I have recently created a set of questions I like to send out to new clients, before quoting on their project. I have found this is a useful way of gathering all the information I need, but it can also help crystallise the client’s thoughts in terms of what they actually want in illustration terms, and as such form the basis of a brief.
Do feel free to use this document whilst considering your own potential illustration project… I hope it helps you on your way to briefing some illustration for your business.