I went to a function recently where there was some serious negotiation happening around if and when to hold the next function.
VERY long story short, it was obvious, after many opinions and ideas, that it was going to be how the chairperson wanted it and no negotiation was going to be entered into. Regardless of how the mere members of the debate felt or what they wanted.
Life is full of negotiations.
Toddler tantrum negotiation - “if you stop I’ll….blah blah blah, or conversely, if you don’t stop I’ll – insert consequence here.
Tween/Teen I want X negotiation - “if you get me this I’ll - insert bargaining tool they are prepared to do here – more often than not in our house it is wash the dishes for a week, or keep my room clean (Yeah right! Mum’s know that one will never happen Do they even realize they just bought them selves a “no” using that one?)
Work negotiation – “Can you work Friday so I can take child A to the doctor and then I can work Tuesday for you…..”
You get the idea.
Now let’s bring this back to stationery.
I often get asked to negotiate on the cost of custom designs.
Sometimes yes, the price can be amended through a little negotiation and scaling down some of the requirements to meet a specific budget.
But most the time…and I think I can speak for most Graphics Designers here…no.
As a professional, tertiary educated qualified graphic designer, one thing I don’t negotiate on is the fee I charge (which compared to some is relatively inexpensive) for custom artwork and design.
Expertise costs money. You get an electrician to fix your electrical stuff, you get a plumber to fix your plumbing, you go to a shoe store to get fitted correctly for shoes, you go to a graphic designer to get something designed.
“But I could do it myself – how hard could it be?” I hear you saying. Yes maybe you could do some of it yourself, but there must have been a reason for contacting an expert in the field in the first instance.
Graphic design is more than opening Microsoft Word or Publisher and typing words and inserting a clip art. It involves a whole lot of elements and principles to get the look right. While every designer has a different they all use the same elements and principles of design. The knowledge and expertise to produce a finished item (using the right tools), takes time. And by time I mean sometimes hours in front of the computer, or paints or pencils.
When I do get approached to negotiate on price I find myself thinking, and have even questioned out loud to some, “would you go to work for two to three hours and not get paid?”
You would say “No, that’s not negotiable”. And you would be right.
A little look behind the scenes of the design process. A lot of thought and hours to get what looks like a simple little turtle.
Little Miss Ten needed some stuff "from the olden days mum" for school. I struggled to think for a while, then light bulb moment.
I went to the attic storage, rummaged around, and found the box of my pre marriage life. I blew off the dust and preceded to pull out a few odd things that she could possibly use....Dad's old slide viewer (slides were used to take pictures for a projector so you could display them on a large screen to share your holiday snaps. Now there's powerpoint, or Facebook or facetime/skype - no need for the post holiday slide night), a set of nana's old encyclopaedias, an old bone china plate also from nana's place, you get the idea.
I had sort of stacked the things into "she could use this" pile, and "the these won't work" pile. I took out my wedding video (VHS - it's in the box because we can't watch it anymore. Who has a video player anymore?), my baby hairbrush, my name badge from my first job, a lot of other random bits and pieces and that signature bear from my 21st birthday. (BTW, I can hardly read some of those messages. There should possibly be a rule that the signing of those things needs to happen before alcohol consumption), my "Kix On 88" tape and a few other classics (cassingles etc, you know from the 80's, before downloading, before CD's, after records) - ready to place in the "that won't work pile".
Then I hear it - "What are these mum?"