Designers are problem solvers. Because they like to eat, most of what they do, they do for pay. However, when designers have the time, ability, and interest, they are (sometimes) very happy to help on pro bono projects. To make your life (and theirs) easier, here are some tips for working on projects with them.
Long before I started my own business or even had a degree in design, I noticed something interesting. People (in general) like art and design, but they often don’t value it enough to feel it ought to be a paid service. To them, it’s “extra.” It’s like the frosting on a cupcake. Sometimes even, people are put off that you’d even think you ought to be paid. Some haggle over it, considering that neither art nor design requires energy or effort. In that sense, occupations within that spectrum sometimes get treated like a novelty public service you’re obligated to perform, rather than a legitimate occupation that takes time, skill, and decision-making.
If you’re interested in building a service-based business that includes working with clients on custom work, there are a few things that are helpful to know going into it. A lot of working with clients effectively is about setting the right processes in motion from the start. This is especially true if you’re working with clients who are far removed from your industry. With that in mind, these are some ways to be really intentional with the “how” in your process.
When I was a little girl, my mom liked to carve out time between her full-time job and the busyness of day-to-day life to sew dresses for me. If I had a preference, she’d let me pick out the fabric or pattern. One dress in particular, she let me pick the fabric—and I picked something that looked like it might not go together well. She asked if I was sure, but I was.