To be able to quote an illustration fee accurately you need to get the following information from your client. This can be asked directly of the client, who should have most of it available.
Essentials for Pricing Commissions
Promotional postcard for a small business, or a nationwide advertising campaign on 48 sheet billboards and bus sides for a fashion chain?
It’s essential to know specifically how the image is to be used. Is it a spot or the landing page image for the client’s website, an illustration for a brochure cover or interior? These have different fees attached. The more important and visible the work is, the higher the fee.
Re-uses of the artwork can be negotiated with the client later if required.
If you are asked for an All Media usage licence, note this is very broad and allows for use of the image across any media. As this type of licence is so extensive, it has a high value which should be reflected in the fee.
UK only, Worldwide or one city only? Clearly the larger the territory more significant the fee will be as it is reaching many more potential customers. A USA wide advertising campaign will be lot more than one solely for the UK.
How long licence is for. The time period the client requires the licence for. Is it three years for food/drink packaging illustration, one month for an online retailer’s special offer or for ‘the period of copyright’ for a children’s book?
The longer the licence period, the higher the fee to reflect the duration of usage of the artwork.
Multinational organisation or local shop? Larger clients will have more sizable budgets (although they won’t always admit it) and this will have an impact on the fee.
Does client have a budget they are willing to tell you, or do they want you to quote? Budgets may be negotiable, and if the budget offered is small, then you know you need to start that process.
Courier, travel, research. Any expenses must be agreed with the client up front.
Approach your Client/Commissioner for the information if they have not already provided it.
Do not quote without the information, or provide ‘ball-park’ figures. This:
– Demonstrates professionalism
– Demonstrates accuracy and actual market value
– Makes client consider actual uses as opposed to potential usage
– Allows for additional negotiations and fees for additional usages
The object of a written licence is to define the usage rights a client has bought:
Territory – Duration – Usage
E.g: UK Licence, 1 Year, illustration for Printed Postcard ONLY
Worldwide Licence, 5 years, full coverage illustration for whiskey label ONLY
And if the commission goes ahead, don’t forget to invoice the client promptly on completion.
This resource has been made available to support the Price It Right campaign which supports illustrators and commissioners to be confident in pricing and negotiating work.
Further advice is available on Negotiating Pricing
Joining the AOI gives illustrators access to bespoke pricing advice and additional resources. See Membership information here.