Lunch Isn’t Free and Neither is Graphic Design


Graphic designers go to college to learn how to create logos, work with colors and images to make spectacular graphics that we all enjoy.  But, then they discover that people think graphic design services should be free.  Family members and friends will ask them to help with a new business idea and create a logo or want some funky icon for their networking group or child’s sports team and expect this to be done at no charge.


Then, the graphic designer decides to open their own business and soon discovers that people seem surprised when the graphic designer expects to be paid for their ideas and services.  Why is that?  Why do people think that graphic design is not something they should pay for?  After all you pay for all other professional services and advice from accountant, lawyers, doctors, dentists.  Yet graphic design isn’t considered something that people feel they should pay for.


Within the sign and graphics industry, we run into this over and over.  A potential client will call and ask how much is it to have a sign made or their vehicle wrapped. We give them an estimate to print or create the sign, but when we ask them to forward their artwork and logo so we can verify it is in the right format,

there is a dead silence.  Then we get “well, it’s a new business and we haven’t figured that out yet” or “my (fill in the blank) daughter, sister, aunt, cousin is going to be coming up with a logo”.   When we finally get

the artwork it is either hand drawn, taken off a website, or created so small that it cannot be printed without spending a lot of time (money) on cleaning it up and making it usable.



Often people will use an on line business card and print service and come in with their business cards and want us to make signs with the logo.  These on line services don’t provide high resolution graphics that can be used for signage.  We need the original vector file artwork.   If you don’t have the high quality image, your logo will need to be completely re-created.  This takes graphic design time and that means it is not free.


When we provide a quote for this service, people are stunned that they have to pay for this.  We often hear “don’t you just press a button and it’s done?”


No.. it’s not that simple


Most graphic designers most can generally do a good job.  A Great Graphic Designer is worth their weight in gold.  They understand colors, what is eye catching, how to generate artwork in various formats and layouts, and (gasp) even have a grasp of math.  An important and essential part of graphic design is appropriate size and spatial relationships.


The sign has to fit onto the building and the space allowed.  Is the marquee going to be large enough to be seen when cars are driving by at 50 mph? Is there enough color contrast so the post and panel is readable from a distance of 100 feet?  What colors are easier to read?


The two images above are for a trade show display.  Which of the two options do you like better?  Then ask yourself… isn’t a professional graphic designer who comes up with unique ideas that catch your attention worth paying for?   Don’t sell yourself or your business short with poor designs.  Because in business… lunch isn’t free and neither is graphic design.

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