Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Giving the client what they want.

I have often been asked how I negotiate with clients when I'm selling my services of providing cartoons to clients, and I know that this process is very interesting to many of you reading this website.

Here's a recent example of an email discussion I had with a very difficult client (names changed to protect the innocent)


Dear Susan Ledrow,

I am the managing director of an ice cream administration company, and I would like a new logo for my company vehicle. I'd like something that looks friendly, and attractive to my clientele who are usually of a young age.

Are you able to provide graphics for a vehicle? Please let me know the cost, before I decide to go ahead with this project. I have a very limited budget.

Mr W. Hippie.

Now this was an interesting project, but after doing some research on the various print on demand website sites I was obliged to reply thus such:

Dear Mrs Thurrock,

Thank you very much for your interesting email about me desiging some cartoons for your ice cream van. While I would be delighted to provide you with the service that you have requested, I am not sure how to get the cartoon designs printed directly onto your vehicle. While I now have a colour printer, sadly it is only an A4 model, and will not accomodate a vehicle of your size.

If you'd still like me to provide the designs, maybe you could find a van printer yourself? Please let me know if you'd like me to work on some rough ideas for your vehicle. Have you got a website? I could easily design something for that.

Miss Clair Moumatch.

I forgot to mention how much I was going to charge, and thought nothing more of it. Probably wouldn't hear from this client again, but 3 weeks later:

Dear Leo Gussett,

Thank you for your reply to my email. I only require the design to be produced by you. I already have a printer that will reproduce the design for me on vynal sheets which can easily be affixed to my vehicle.

If you can produce some rough designs for me, and let me know how much you would charge me, I would be most greatful. If this is not possible, then I shall just use the design I used last time, before the respray.


Mrs Chris Ledyard.

I was relieved that the client had his own printing company to repro (reproduce) the design and set to work straight away on some rough ideas for the design:

Dear mr Biles,

Here is a rough ideas for the logo for your ice cream van vehicle. I forgot to mention there's no charge for rough ideas, and if you like the design, my charge will be just £20 (design will be emailled to you free of charge), or if you want it printed and posted to you I will have to charge postage and packaging charge of £2.88 + £20 design fee. This is a license to use the artwork outright with no further charges.

Please let me know how you would like to proceed.

Leonard Gubbins.

Unfortunately that was the last I heard from this client. I'd done some speclative work, in the hope of making some money with this client, but they never got back to me. Frustrating, yes, but as most professional cartoonists and illustrators will tell you, it's all part of the course. Hopefully one day I'll be able to use these designs for another client that approaches me for some work.

UPDATE: A few days later I successfully sold a missing cat poster to Mrs Stocker down the road. The cat was never found.


  1. This is a salutary tale, Leonorad. I suspect it was your highly inflated P&P rate that killed it for you. I'm sure you'll learn form your mistaeks.

  2. You could be right Mr Bright. I probably pushed it too far. Thing is, I can't remember how much I paid for the envelopes as I bought them a few years ago. I guessed that I paid around 80p each for them (they are padded).

    If you hear of any ice cream men wanting a logo, please send them my way ;-)

  3. Very funny Mr Bright.

    With a flake, I think.