The number one question I see from freelance designers who are just getting started in the business is “what should I charge.” The second thing I hear often is tales of woe from designers who did work for a client and failed to receive payment for one reason or another. Inevitably other designers chime-in with comments like “you should have had a contract” or “this wouldn’t have happened if you had a contract.”
Thankfully, the Graphic Artists Guild exists to help designers and content creators answer these questions and much more. The primary way they do so is by offering their excellent Graphic Artists Guild Handbook Pricing & Ethical Guidelines.
In its 15th Edition, the 430 page 8.5 x 11 inch handbook contains invaluable information about virtually every aspect of running a freelance design business. Some of the topics covered are:
- The latest pricing guidelines for buyers and sellers.
- Current salary information with job descriptions.
- Formulas for determining hourly and per diem freelance rates.
- Hourly freelance rates by discipline.
- Copyright registration information.
- Model contracts and forms that can be adapted for specific needs.
- An expanded chapter of additional professional, business, and legal resources with the latest contact information.
The salary information for various design positions in a professional agency is great for those looking to negotiate their salary at an agency, as well to use as a basis for setting freelance rates. The contract section is awesome for those of us who simply don’t know where to start coming up with a contract to use for our own purposes. The section on dealing with payments, non-payments and collection strategies is outstanding. And the chapters covering all those lovely legal issues such as copyright, trademark and registration puts everything you need to know in plain English. The entire book is organized for quick reads on all the topics.
I almost can’t believe in my 35 years in the design/content creation business I had never heard of this book. I went to the “School of Hard Knocks” – having this book back then would have prevented a lot of sleepless nights, research time and quite a bit of Pantone 877 hair.
There are two ways to get the book. One perk of membership in the Graphic Artists Guild is receiving the Pricing & Ethical Guidelines book for free. If you’re not ready to become a member, you can buy the Graphic Artist Guild Handbook Pricing & Ethical Guidelines for $44.99 from the website.
If you’re getting started in the design business looking for pricing, business and ethical guidelines, or even a seasoned pro looking for salary comparisons or a knowledge brush-up, this book is a must-have.