Clients should divide their initial budgets

Make the client pay, says Jim Davies in his Private View (DW 15 April). Designers are too afraid to make the client do anything. This is why certain clients get away with asking design consultancies to show their wares and jump through hoops without payment.

The analogy Davies uses of the builders’ wall reaches the heart of the matter. I often ask: would you contact three solicitors to represent you in court and only pay the one that got you off the charge? Or eat three different dishes at a restaurant and only pay for the one you liked the most? The answer is, of course, no. We all know you would never get away with it.

Design is, as Davies states, an emotive subject. And designers, being of creative ‘bent’ are emotional creatures. They have never been good as salespeople, they take it personally when rejected. They are easy prey compared with bricklayers and solicitors.

The solution of being paid for pitches is not new. It has happened to me (once in the past ten years). I was contacted to produce some design ideas for a new brand name.

When the client in question told me it had briefed two other design consultancies my heart sank (emotional, see). It told me that it had a budget for initial designs and felt that dividing this budget between three design studios would provide it with three different sets of thinking for the price of one budget. We would all be paid one third of this budget.

I agreed to do the work and (of course) gave it my very best shot. My designs were not selected at the end, although the client received three sets of designs and we were all paid for our time. A win-win situation.

If more clients were prepared to divide their initial budgets this way there would be no need for any more free-pitch letters. Problem solved.

Warwick Dipple

WD Design

Rugby CV22 7DE

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