Developers guide for commissioning creative types

Having commissioned quite a lot of art and designs from the creatives of this world i thought i might share some tips.

General rules (you know them already and like to be treated this way, but just to remind you)

1) Dont pester, if they don’t reply, wait 24 hours before trying again, remember lack of planning on your side does not mean a crisis on their side, if its a rush job tell them up front so they can price (and plan) accordingly.

2) Agree how many edits you can make at the different stages, before paying the deposit, a single page agreement is fine.

Specific to creatives

1) Let them create, give a rough outline and then some very specific details (the important ones), you will find that they fill in the gaps better than you do, but if they ask for more details give them simply and clearly and for goodness sake never say something like “your the artist isn’t that your job”, if they are asking questions then they are trying to do a good job, help them help you

2) Portfolio is everything, good creatives will love their job, and will ‘create’ in the same way geeks ‘fiddle’, if they don’t have a good portfolio don’t employ them, it does not have to be client based, but it does have to exist

3) The best time to get hold of a creative, is when they have just finished their education (or if they have none, straight after their first decent paying job), its when they are eager and full of fresh ideas but know how to behave and deal with clients (yes i know that’s a nasty way of looking at it but its true)

Money and Rights

For DECENT work, $100 is your ball park for single detailed images ( for example of a realistic looking person ), or $250 for an original design (say for a company site), better artist cost more, poorer artist less, your judgment ($10 for anything artistic is a normally a waste, don’t be tempted), its is normal to pay 50% up front, then the final 50% upon sign off of the final images, you will then receive the master images, DO NOT accept compressed image formats as masters you want PNG/PSD/etc files with their layers intact.

Rights are a funny thing, and worth being firm up-front with, you have purchased this art, it is now yours!, an artist should of course be allowed to use their images in their portfolio, and should receive full credit where suitable, but you can change the final image if you want and the rights do not revert to them at any time in the future, always be honest on what the FULL extent of the use of the image or design could be up front (so again they can charge suitably). Rights are the only thing i have found that its no good discussing, if they want unacceptable rights (say a yearly rental of the work with a financial review annually {yes i have met that}), thank them kindly and state that “that is unacceptable for my business model”, and move on to the next artist/company

Hope these help

As requested, the biggest place to go to get artists/designers at this point in time is, the best way i find is to put a post in the “work advertised forum” at, then while you are waiting go and browse the categories you are looking for, most artist state if they are open for commissions, if in doubt just send them a ‘note’.

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