The challenges of concept design
By Dan Sawatzky
Posted on Saturday, February 23rd, 2019
I often get asked if we charge for design. The answer is always “Yes!”—with one caveat. We do charge upfront for design, but because our projects are sometimes very large and complex we often do a teaser drawing, at our risk, while we are still in the preliminary discussion stage. This teaser concept is never given to the client—only showed on an iPad during the meeting.
The purpose of this ﬁrst concept drawing, done before we are under contract, is threefold. It’s our way of nudging our client away from their preconceived ideas toward our more creative way of thinking. It is also a great way to upsell. And lastly it gives us a good idea if we have a fair chance of selling our creative designs before we are under contract.
A case in point
A recent job is a good example of these principles and illustrates very clearly why it is a good thing to charge for design services. A local zoo approached us for signage and building facade design. It quickly became apparent that this will be a massive project with the potential to go on for many years, for the client is committed to updating the entire property.