To quote an illustration fee accurately, you need to get the following information from your client. You can ask them directly – they should be able to provide you with most of the details.
Here are some essentials for pricing commissions…
Are you creating promotional postcards 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. What the image is being used for will have an impact on your fee. Generally speaking, 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’re asked for an All Media usage licence, bear in mind 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 and this should be reflected in the fee.
Area of Use or Territory
One city only, UK only, Worldwide? The larger the territory, the more significant the fee will be as your work will reach more potential customers. As such, the fee for a USA wide advertising campaign will be a lot more than one solely for the UK.
How long does the client require the licence for?
Is it three years for a 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.
Is the client a multinational organisation or local shop? Larger clients will have more sizeable budgets (although they won’t always admit it) and this will have an impact on the fee.
Does the client have a budget they are willing to tell you, or do they want you to quote?
Budgets may be negotiable – if the budget offered feels too small, then you know you need to start the negotiation process.
From couriers and travel, to time spent on research – any expenses must be agreed with the client up front.
Why you want this information
Don’t quote without the necessary information, or provide ‘ball-park’ figures. Approaching your client/commissioner for the information they’ve not already provided does the following:
– Demonstrates professionalism
– Demonstrates accuracy and actual market value
– Makes the client consider actual usage as opposed to potential usage
– Allows for additional negotiations and fees for additional usages
Composing a Licence
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
If the commission goes ahead, don’t forget to invoice the client promptly on completion!
This resource has been made available as part of the Price It Right campaign which enables illustrators and commissioners to price and negotiate their work with confidence.
Further advice is available on Negotiating Pricing
Joining the AOI gives illustrators access to bespoke pricing advice and additional resources. See Membership information here.
The AOI would like to make resources accessible to all. If you would like an alternative format please ask.