In this post I will be going over licensing and how it affects your prices. I will also talk about my experiences and pay with editorial illustration.
In my previous post I talked about hourly rates. Another thing to think about when deciding on your hourly rate, is billable hours. You may be working 40 hours a week at your business, but not all of those hours are billable to the client. Administrative work like writing contracts, invoicing, updating your website, etc. are not billable. So you have to factor in the work to run your business, as well as your billable hours. For example you might work 40 hours a week, but can only bill 30 hours to the client.
Another factor in pricing for illustration work is licensing. How is your client going to use the illustration? Is it a logo? Is it a short time use, like an editorial illustration for a magazine? Pricing for a logo vs. an editorial illustration would be very different, based on the license extended to the client.
I use the Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines when I am figuring out licensing, because otherwise it hurts my brain. For logos, the client needs all rights, so they can use the image in any media, for an unlimited time, because it is their brand, so they will be using the image for the life of the company. For all rights usage I charge an additional 50-100% of my fee. For example, if I charge $800 for a logo, it would be an additional $400-800 for the rights. So a total of $1200 – $1600. For small companies I include all rights in my fee, so I would only charge them for the hours worked (usually around $800), which is low for a logo. I don’t do branding packages, which cost a lot more (in the thousands).
For other short-term projects, the price would be lower, because the licensing does not cover as much. For example, when giving an estimate for a custom greeting card illustration recently, I calculated the flat rate, for example 5 hours x $80/hour is $400. In this price I included a limited license of 3 years, for printed greeting cards only. After the 3 years, the rights of the image revert back to me. If the client wanted to purchase additional licensing (or a longer license) the fee would increase.
Editorial pricing is a different ball game. In my experience so far, the magazine determines the price for the illustration. They will offer an assignment to you, for X amount of illustrations, and they will give you their budget of $X. The magazine determines the price, not you. Larger magazines have bigger budgets, therefore you get paid more. Smaller magazines or non-profit magazines have small budgets, so you get paid less. Which is kind of unfortunate, because the illustration is the same amount of work either way. But that’s how the industry works. So far in my experience, I have worked mostly with smaller magazines or non-profit magazines, which pay anywhere from $0 – $200 for one or more illustrations. I have done a couple illustrations for mid-size magazines, and have been paid $500 – $600 for doing one or two illustrations. My goal is to do more work for larger magazines, so I can make bigger bucks.
Thanks for reading! Hope these posts were helpful in shedding some light on the complicated world of pricing.