When working as a graphic designer, you will inevitably come across clients with limited budgets. In some cases, this may mean you need to decline the job. However, other projects have benefits beyond pay, and you will find yourself looking for ways to work within the client’s budget. There are several reasons you may want to do so, and several ways to make it less likely to regret your decision.
Reasons to Work for Less
Deciding whether or not to work for less than you think a job is worth is of course a personal decision. In some cases, it may be worth working within a client’s limited budget if the project can lead to more work, making it an initial sacrifice with potential long-term returns. The job may also be a nice piece for your portfolio, you may have open time in your schedule and looking for work, or looking to break into a new industry. Depending on the reason, you may wish to take on the project as you would any other, or adjust some policies or methods in order to compensate for the lower pay.
Limit the Scope of the Work
One of the easiest ways to work within a limited budget is to limit the scope of the work, and therefore the time invested in the project. Let the client know what you can for the amount of money they can spend, allowing them to still obtain your quality of work while shrinking the size of the project. For a website design, this could mean holding off on some features or pages until more money is available in the budget. For a logo design or print project, it could be providing less initial concepts to work from than usual. For example, if you normally start with three designs to choose from, limit it to two with additional work billed separately. Cutting the number of pages in a book or brochure can lower your time and the amount invested in printing costs, as can choosing different paper to work with. Any one of these options can allow you to lower the budget while still providing a quality product to your client.
A designer may also choose to work for less for creative freedom in a project. In some cases, designers get their start even working for free for complete creative freedom, meaning they have final say in the look and feel of the work. Such decisions should be discussed with clients and spelled out in contracts, like any other elements of the agreement.