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  1. #1
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    50+ Character Designs Offer - How (much) to charge?

    Heya folks,
    I just received an email from a guy saying that he's planning on doing "a browser game" and he likes my stuff and would like to know how much I would charge to do "50+ characters, passport-photograph-size, coloured".

    well, that's pretty vague, so I asked back what the style, idea and theme of the game is and if the characters will be static or moving.


    I've never done something like this, but it could be fun and a good experience and bring in some money. doesn't look like he's running (or working for) a big entertainment business or something, but he's willing to spend money, so apparently not one of those "you can do free work on this very prestigious project" kind of guys.

    How do you guys plan the costs of stuff like this? Per hour? A fixed price for a fixed amount of as-many-things-as-possible-specified (format, style, etc. so you know what to do and don't suddenly run into big surprises) characters?


    anything that comes to your mind is highly appreciated!


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  3. #2
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    ill make it short as i dont have as much experience as most of the members here but i normally run quite well with a "per hour" counting. make 4-5 layouts for your customer so the level of the needed quality is set up and depending on the quality you can make your counting.

    i guess he wont pay much, so you have to deal with yourself how low you want to go but never ever forget to make profit.
    i know by myself that its of course fun to do something and of course you can use it for your portfolio...blabla...its work. get paid and dont waste your time.

    coldblooded...i hate it but its necessary.

  4. #3
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    thanks!
    yes, I know, I try to do it that way. Also depends on the project and time at hand.
    I just always think the per hour think must feel strange and dangerous for the one who's going to pay..
    Do you usually set an upper limit?
    Would you recommend writing something like "I would like to charge by hours. My normal rate is at xx$ / hour. I estimate it will come to about xxxxx$ alltogether, it might go higher for various reasons though. For this case I suggest an upper limit of xxxxx$ to cover at least a certain amount of the extra time I spent. It might go lower as well, good for you then. Does that sound ok for you?"

  5. #4
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    I'd ease up on the rates if a commission is likely to generate more work / an improved network / a "better" portfolio (i.e., stuff i LIKE to do and would like to do more of)...or similiar non-monetary pay-offs.
    In the future, everyone will have 15 minutes of privacy.

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  6. #5
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    yeah he wrote "it would be great if you are interested in this kind of work, since I am looking for somebody to work with me on future projects."

  7. #6
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    thanks MIKE for being the trendsetter and actually talking about money... it often seems like a total crapshoot.

    I get paid by the job. Then I don't have to feel like if I decide it stinks a redo everything I dont feel like im stiffing the client.

    I bill travel time by the mile too

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  8. #7
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    woah, i would check out where he comes from (company), and stuff, to see if they can handle that amount of money Mike mentioned... but if it's a small company i highly doubt they will pay those sky-high prices! I'm in Ecuador, and personally if I had been offered that job, I would have asked for flat rate of 500 dollars, including final drawings, it also depends of the size. if he wants a4 sized illos, for each, then I would ask him a bit more money... or maybe leave it as it is! 500 bucks is to drool for (here at least).
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  9. #8
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    That brings up another point - location of you and the client, $500 USD is a lot different in the US as far as how far it will go than it is, in say, Mexico. May need to take that into consideration as well.

    As for prices for a small business (which from the sounds of things, this guy isn't) - a small business with investor backing may actually have $5,000-$10,000 USD allocated to advertising/brand development/etc. (sometimes more, depending on the level of investment - using "Small Business" to refer to business that qualify as "S-Corps" legally in the US, not Mom&Pop businesses *which are sometimes started on $5,000-$10,000*). This guy however does not come across as a 'small business' from the little you've mentioned, instead he sounds like a hobbiest.

    I would especially recommend getting at least SOME money up front from this person, because they are coming across as an 'unknown' on reliability in pay. I would also break it down into a 'cost per piece' setup, possibly how MIKE described it - that way the guy could ask for 2-5 pieces if that's what he could afford, and give you money for new ones when he has more money (possibly leave it open to negotiations for each new set of commissions).
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  10. #9
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    so invaluable advice.... thank you all so much!!

    I received an answer, he has worked in project management for an online agency, and game design. "Basically since it all started."
    His plan is to start a new business with a Programmer, Game Designer and Visual Artist. Which could be me

    He wants those three persons have distinct personalities, styles and qualities, to produce different/special products.

    From how I understood it I would kinda be art directing myself and doing most (or all?) of the visuals, I guess that would extend to creating the CI and whatnot. Which would be a great opportunity on one side but including the sacrifices connected to building something new. I guess the more I would be part of the team, the harder it would be to get paid for the work and don't see it as "just small things here and there" (which - summed up - might be a time and energy eater).


    Since I have no experience working in the industry I don't know if I should start out this way, even though it sounds tempting.
    what I did so far is mostly posters for concerts, webdesign and logo design. where I want to go is illustration, graphic design and everything related. book covers, record covers, illustrations in books/magazines, snow-/skateboards, clothing, tattoos. That's one part. The other is the fine art stuff (www.dorian-iten.com). (< example of my web design work, too )


    What do you guys think?
    Sorry, the topic kind of broadens here - tips on the money part are still very welcome!

    Oh and a last question: is it very unusual in the industry to be this open about one's plans? I think in the end we're all more allies than competitors.

  11. #10
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    It's usual for smaller businesses and start ups, now the things you have to ask yourself are: will the time invested in that project prevent you from reaching your set goals? Will they expect you to work for free because you are given some title in the company? Are the others involved in the project able to draw their load of the work (so all your hard work doesn't go to waste)? That's the hard part to guess because some people are all talk, and it's hard to judge on a programmer or manager's work rapidly because it's not as visual as an artist's.

  12. #11
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    Will they expect you to work for free because you are given some title in the company?
    I guess that might happen maybe, yes. If it is the case I probably won't do it. I want to push full throttle at school - little part times are wanted, a little money is needed, I draw characters almost every day anyway so I might as well combine it with a job :]
    But if it demands too much with a too high risk that everything might just be abandoned at some point... well.
    On the other side: I don't think offers like this come in every day... or week.. or year..
    I'll see how the email contact goes and what feeling I get about the guy.

    Thanks for all the input!

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