Should I charge? How Much?

edited June 2012 in Do The Work
So I thought I would create a thread on pricing stuff. I got an email over the weekend and I'm stumped with how to address the request. Recently i sold a bunch of prints to a bar owner in Oakland, CA. Apparently he likes the art so much he wants to use a portion of it for a t-shirt to be worn by employees. He says he is not looking to sell the shirts to patrons.

So I'd rather not just let him do it for free, but what would I charge for using an image? And what if the shirts are a hit and he wants to sell them at his bar as well? Has anyone had experience with this situation? AND do you mind giving $$$ amounts?


  • Damn, that's a tough one.

    As many around here know I'm REALLY bad at pricing. In your case I would do it for free.  BUT, that's my take on it -- because I also see myself as making more art anyway.  It's not like I only do a few pieces a year and I have to make them count.  I do tons of pages, covers, art, promos, et.

    However, I see your point and I guess it depends where you stand at it... personally as a creator.  If you want the pride versus the money.  This is a single independent location, not a chain, so exposure is limited.  But if you feel the owner is really hyped on this then there's a *demand* and *value* on the art / image.  And there's nothing wrong with giving a customer something that they believe is a fair value.

    1 -- Ask for a $200 licensing fee on the SINGLE image (for his employee shirts)
    If you want to extend the licensing to business cards, bumperstickers, post cards, et.) that is up to you.  But charging a new license fee for every item is often frowned on.  Usually, it is stipulated what a licensing fee will (and will not) cover.

    2 -- Ask for your name credit on the bottom (a signature)
    3 -- Ask for a percentage if the shirt goes on sale to customers (often 5% to 7%)
    4 -- (optional) Ask for digital rights if the image will be used on a website, a smartphone app / store locator, et.
    The last one is tricky though, because the actual cost /profit/generation is not clear. If anything, ask for design credit for any digital applications (Facebook, websites, blogs, et.)

    Also, since only a *portion* of your art is being used and you are not making the entire design then asking for an art credit might be tricky.  That depends on your negotiation with the client.  Negotiations are always a back-and-forth kinda thing.

    But... as I said before, I've often given stuff like this away and I just got a T-shirt in return.  It goes in my collection and resume for bigger fish to fry.  The call is yours (or somewhere in the middle).
  • Thanks for the input Jimmie. You brought up a lot of my concerns and some I had not thought of. Some might be overkill in this instance, but something to chew on. Anyone else have any input?

  • Jimmie outlines a great way to approach this as a commercial professional. I would definitely recommend having a contract with them, whether you decide to get paid or not, authorizing them for the uniform t-shirts only. This way, if they do decide to start selling the t-shirts you have a contract that states this would have to be renegotiated so you can make a decision then on payment.

    Currently you're basically authorizing the design for uniform t-shirts, which should be free for employees. However, if the store is making money from your design (ie: selling them to customers), you should benefit from this. The licensing fee Jimmie mentions would be appropriate for that.

    If you don't want to be so formal, however, perhaps just a quick contract write up where instead of money you get discounts at the place (if you like to go there), or free food / drink coupons every month or so. Might make for a stronger relationship between you and this local place, and you still get monetary benefit for your artwork.
  • I live in minnesota, so getting free food in Oakland would be cool, but not really a perk. The guy has no intention of selling t-shirts at the bar since it is more "upscale". I'm leaning toward a modest license fee since I really can't take advantage of any other perk he may offer.
  • I think that's fair. It is your artwork, after all.

    Also, signing it or getting some kind of credit for the art may lead to more work down the line from another employee or patron.
  • edited June 2012
    Cover the sales thing anyway. It may change in the future, and if he doesn't do it, than he won't mind adding the what if, even if its in the form of a contractual restriction that does allow him to sell them. Make sure the possibility is addressed in some form.
  • Anthony - Jimmie and I would be happy to accept the free food on your behalf.
  • @DerekMcCulloch speaks the truth.  We are both in the region (Marvin is as well).
  • I usually charge $300 for a logo or such (which is similar to what the owner is using your art for), which allows them to use said logo in their advertising online and throughout a region.  If they are a national or interstate chain, that would go up. Global or universal use would go up even more (I'm thinking factors of 10 here...).  I'd also ask for a royalty if the product was being sold based on the art (which is different than a logo), prolly 10 - 15% of the t-shirt cost.

    So to sum up:

    $300 licensing to use the art within the state (and online)
    $3000 to use it nationally (or inter-state)
    $30,000 for universal rights

    10 - 15% royalty if the art is being used as the selling feature on a product (print, t-shirt, posters, whatever).

    Just my take.
  • I'm late to this particular party, but I've had a thought all along.
    Charging $200 or $300 for a design for a corporate T-shirt is perfectly fine. I wouldn't ask for a credit on the shirt -- who's ever gonna see it or notice? But there's a chance the owner or customers may really like the design and he may want to sell it on merch, make bar glasses, put it on the website, make tattoos, whatever. So, just in case, work up a contract that includes all eventualities.
  • Couple sites that have come to light recently:


    Might be helpful (the second one is Australian, but the AUD and USD are nearly par, so....)
  • I am actually a member of the ASA, Shawn. 

    Those rate sheets look great, but I'm pretty sure there isn't a single domestic publisher who can actually pay the page rates listed in the comics portfolio. 

    We don't really have a 'comics industry' here, although the feeling is that we're developing one (again.) We're basically a poor cousin to the American and UK markets. 

  • Very cool - yeah, at the indie level, these rates probably will get you laughed at stateside, also.  But it's a good starting point, as long as you remember to be open to negotiations.

    It's important to know your value, innit.
  • Got a question related to this thread. The guy who photographed my girlfriend's brother's wedding is opening up a restaurant. He just reached out to me for a job that would involve 1) designing a logo, and 2) designing a character / mascot for the restaurant.

    I don't have a lot of details yet, because he literally just reached out. However, he's willing to exchange his professional photography services for this design work (he normally charges $400 / hour, and he's quite good).

    So long as it's 1 logo and 1 character, I think this is a pretty good deal (but obviously need more details). What do you guys think?
  • Depends on what it's worth to you, @trevoramueller. I personally think we'd get along better doing everything on the barter system. But if you have no NEED for professional photography, how much value do you get versus what he gets?

    Like, if someone were to make that offer to ME, I'd take him up, because I have a wedding I need shot in a few months, so it's perfect. But if not, his "trade" might just be something that gets forgotten about or unused, like a gift certificate that collects dust in a drawer somewhere.
  • I would probably use it sometime this year. He was offering to photograph when I finally propose to my girlfriend - which is about a month or so off, now that she's finally sent me her favorite wedding ring setting designs....

    So yeah, I think it may be worth it depending on the amount of work he requests. I want to build into the contract that we only do x number of logo designs before it's final - so I don't end up giving him like 8 million designs.
  • Also, you need a clause that limits his rights. He can't sell it on merch, for example.
  • Also, you need a clause that limits his rights. He can't sell it on merch, for example.

  • @TrevorAMueller ; For my thing that started this discussion, I got a sample License agreement from the Graphic artist's Guild handbook and wrote my own agreement. If you would like to see the copy I used, I'd be happy to send it to you. just message me your email.
  • I'm late to is thread, so apologies, but here's how I'd've approached it:

    firstly, I'd have offered to print and sell him t-shirts (small numbers of shirts, you can probably find somewhere local) making a reasonable (though not excessive) profit on this. But he gets no rights to reproduce, if he wants another he comes to you.

    If the shirts turn out to be big hit with customers and he wants to sell those, I'd've offered him a split on the money for each shirt he sells. He can act as a retailer, effectively. (unless he offers to front the cash to print the shirts in which case I'd offer a bigger discount)

    I would retain all rights.

    If he'd approached you about designing a t shirt new, that would be a different matter. And then you'd negotiate for reprint, etc. but you'd make sure to earn a decent amount on the original image.

  • For Logos (and I've done a LOT of them lately) here's the general structure (in chinese menu fashion, pick and choose what is applicable):

    1.) Single Use Fee (such as the shirt) which clearly declares it as a single use purchase of rights.  This should include "Secured against competing commercial interests... in other words, you can't let another restraunt or competing company use the same logo.

    2.) Exclusive usage and deployment Fee (which is either 4x the single use fee, or 2x + a percentage of sales) meaning the purchaser can put it on anything they wish... menus, posters, signage, etc.

    3.) Artist promotional rights - meaning you get to put it on your blog or portfolio site, stating you created it.

    4.) Revision, updates, and alteration rights - meaning you get right of first refusal to do any changes, updates, or tweak to the logo at a future date, with a fee to be negotiated at that time.

    5.) Trademark and Copyright - should be sold as part of item #2, or as a separate item, with an additional fee associated.

    6.) Your "indicia" or promotional credit. Different clients will react in different ways to this, but it's always good to at least try to negotiate a "tiny print" logo credit in all printed used of the logo.

    Anything else is (no pun intended) gravy.
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