How Do You Articulate the Value of Graphic Design?

How Do You Articulate the Value of Graphic Design?

San Francisco / Bay Area Article

Let’s face it, it’s not an easy question to answer. And so, last night, AIGA SF assembled a panel of speakers (of which I was one) to try to come up with some strategies and solutions to tackle this often thorny issue. The goal? In order to make the leap from order takers to strategic partners, we’ve got to be able to articulate the value of design to our clients and business at large.

Joining Matt Cooke – Partner at Iron Creative – on the panel were Jordan Berg, Co-Founder of Questus, and Johnathan Tann, Managing Director of Odopod. I have to say it was a lot of fun and incredibly informative. For those who weren’t able to make it, I made some notes throughout the night as an engaged audience fed into a lively and rewarding discussion – which was expertly moderated by Josh Levine, Director of Strategy at Great Monday. So here are some of the key things I took away from a great debate:

  • Never negotiate and be prepared for the consequences (my favorite!)
  • Go in with a high bid and then re-frame the conversation around value or scope
  • If the client seemingly doesn’t value design try to understand their value system – find the common value
  • On complex interactive projects sell in a discovery phase which will enable you to better scope the project
  • Add a contingency fee to all proposals that will mitigate the need for smaller change orders
  • Frame projects in the larger ecosystem within which they live
  • Demonstrate your passion for their brand, service or offering
  • Demonstrate your individual and collective expertise
  • Discuss change orders before they arise
  • Always ask what the budget is
  • Demonstrate your process

The panel talk, entitled D.Talks: For a Few Dollars More: The Value of Design, is part of an ongoing series of panel discussions presenting practical information about current trends in the world of design and business. Hats off to AIGA SF for curating such a valuable series of events!

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