Design Billing

Why I don't bill by the hour.

February 27, 2020

An email from Jonathan Stark came through my inbox today and brought up a good analogy. One worth sharing with all of you on this lovely Friday.

The gist of it is as follows:

When you buy a sandwich, the person making the sandwich doesn't say, "this might cost $5, we won't know until we're done making it."

What's the difference between that and saying a logo and a website might cost $20,000, but we won't know until we're done?

Geez, that sounds like a pain in the ass and disconcerting for the client on the other side of the transaction. This is the trap that hourly billing gets people in, both clients and service providers, a journey through the fog of unknowns that is costly and annoying.

The alternative? Diagnose for a set price (roughly 10% of the anticipated budget) and come up with three, tiered options at set prices. This might not be the best solution, but it's better than keeping a running clock and an hourly rate that never seems to stay under budget. At least a set price is predictable for both the client and the designer.

Why don't I bill hourly? Because I don't like leaving clients in a state of uncertainty.

More you say?

Inside Their Head

Getting to the heart of your user's issues.

11.11.2020

You know the problem that users are coming to in hopes of solving (I want to be healthier, I am sick of resetting my password, I have acne, etc), but that is the tip of the iceberg. Diving into the internal desires or concerns a user has surrounding solutions to their problem is core to developing your brand.

For example, in the instance of being healthier, a user might look for a fitness program online. What they are thinking while looking for it is "I want to be healthier, but I don't want to be known as a douchey gym rat. The intensity of most fitness programs makes me feel anxious."

Boom. Now you know that you can position this brand to be something more approachable and less "shredded" if you catch my drift.

What are some other things users might think of when considering a solution to a problem?

Password Management Software: It is daunting to put so much trusted information with one company, it needs to be legit. This let's you know that your brand has to err on the side of professional/trustworthy when marketing the product. You have to, at the very least, appear secure.

Skincare Programs: I'm concerned about the chemicals used on my body, the more natural this is, the more I'd be comfortable using it. This could be accomplished through visuals and language detailing the natural ingredients of a skincare product.

Investment Apps: I'm not even sure where to begin in creating a portfolio, it would be great to be educated from someone approachable. Through voice and tone and branded imagery, some awesome videos giving a walkthrough of how to use the product could be used in a campaign to get more users.

It's not just about the product, but about the user's feelings surrounding the decision to purchase it.

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Creche le Créneau

Ideas and frameworks for standing out in a crowded marketplace.

1.22.2020

Rebellion in its purest form is the willingness to go right when everyone else goes left. Meaning, it is an intentional effort to be different from everyone else. Developing a recognizable, bold brand is contingent upon this. What's not always clear though are the tactics used to intentionally differentiate your brand from your competitors.

First, research

Ugggghhhhh, research? C'mon man, I thought branding was supposed to be fun? Branding is fun and the best way to ensure it's fun is to do it right. You must know what is already out there within your market to see how you measure up. If you all look and sound exactly the same, this makes it insanely difficult for consumers to make a buying decision. The research doesn't have to be extensive either, especially if you can't afford the time. But you could at the very least do this:

Research your top 7 competitors via their website and social accounts. Ask yourself these three questions:

What do I feel when going through their marketing? List out all the adjectives you can (encouraged, empowered, bold, safe, clean, edgy, rustic, modern, etc.) or if you don't feel anything, write that down too.

Who do I think would buy this product/service? Be specific, write down the person's sex, age, economic status, occupation, etc. if a competitor seems like they are trying to appeal to everyone, write that down.

What is missing? These could be emotional qualities, different tiers in quality or price, or a missing offering that would be useful to the consumer.

Analyze

With all of this information, you can now assess where the weak points are in the market. For example, if all of your competitors gravitate toward a male audience, perhaps there is a chance to be female-centric. If they all charge a low price, there is an opportunity for a high price, high-quality offering. At the very least, if all of them act the same, there is an opportunity to be different at an emotional level.

Creche le créneau

French for "fill the void." Somewhere in your research is a gaping hole that no one has filled yet. Be it emotionally, quality of goods, accessibility, or catering to a specific user, if something is missing, there is an opportunity. If you can find a hole that fits the purpose and vision of your business, you've got the foundations of a rebellious brand.

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