Making designs look “easy”

Making designs look “easy” is both a blessing, and a curse.

A blessing because ultimately – the design looks good! Tons of clients think so! They keep coming back to you for more work, you make money, and all is right in the world.

A curse because said clients think it doesn’t take long to produce those results. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard “you can do this in no time,” or “got a quick job for you…” Yeah, right, is what I want to reply. A lot of pre-planning, thought, tweaking, revisions (and revisions and revisions and revisions) takes place behind the scenes before a client even gets a first draft of a design. In fact, I sometimes have to walk away and come back to it an hour or so later with fresh eyes to continue the editing process (I oftentimes see glaring problems that were before being lost among even more glaring problems).

The result of people thinking a design in general “is a cinch” is that they undervalue the work we do. The only reason a client thinks a design is “easy” is because I made it look that way! I’m good at what I do! I often struggle with the correct response when I feel like someone is undervaluing my work – and I’ve usually found that just being honest does the trick. I’ll come right out and say “Ok, but this will take me X amount of hours, so it will be X amount of dollars.” Clients usually understand the general rationale behind equating a cost to time – and more times than not, will not argue.

Therefore, freelancing ultimately boils down to the almighty “charge per hour.” Before embarking on a solo career, you need to put some heavy thinking in to determining what you want, and are able, to charge for your work. That way you can feel confident justifying the cost for a project if someone questions you. Some great articles on the subject can be found here, here, and here

And for a super quick calculator of the concept, check out