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Demystifying deadlines: Why your Brand or Graphic Designer sets them & navigating late or startup fees

If you’ve ever worked with a graphic designer, you’ve probably encountered those looming deadlines. You know, the ones that seem to creep up way too fast. But have you ever wondered why we designers are so obsessed with deadlines? And what’s the deal with those late or startup fees? Let’s dive into the world of graphic design deadlines and fees, shall we?

Why do we set deadlines anyway?

Alright, picture this: you’ve got a killer idea for your business, and you’re ready to unleash it onto the world. You’ve hired a graphic designer (oh hi, that’s me!) to bring your vision to life. Now, why on earth would I slap a deadline on your project faster than you can say “Pantone swatch”?

Setting deadlines ensures the momentum of the project continues and that you get to enjoy a fun but thorough process but one element of being a Designer you don’t likely see is the impact a client being late has. With content. With a brief. With feedback. With anything and everything. 

When a client misses a deadline, it has a domino effect on on three things I consider very important, so important I class them as non-negotiable:

1. The level of service I’m able to provide

    A Designer running on little sleep, being overworked and generally tackling an overbooked schedule isn’t going to give you the experience and service you expect. Nor is it going to have a great result on the work I produce for you.

    It’s also not fair on you if you’ve been meeting your deadlines to be working with a Designer whose a hot mess because of other clients.

    2. My schedule 

      I’m a one woman band so my diary is a very carefully run tight ship. Which means if you’re late, it impacts my schedule and every other client in the queue. Whether that’s having to slot in work at night/weekend or having to push a project back, it has a knock on effect regardless.

      And again, if you’re on time, why should your project be put on hold because someone else was late?

      3. My well being

        Those extra hours, that anxiety of letting another client and my family down on top of the stress of trying to fit in work all impact my well being.  Without my mental & physical health intact, I don’t have a business – hustle culture is so 2014.

        Deadlines aren’t just arbitrary dates we pluck out of thin air. They’re our secret sauce for keeping projects on track, ensuring everything gets done in a timely manner and puts out wellbeing at the forefront.

        Ok, so why late fees?

        Ah, yes, late fees. The words every client hopes they’ll never hear. Late fees aren’t some sort of designer punishment device. They’re more like a gentle nudge to keep things moving along smoothly.

        When projects go off the rails and deadlines come and go like yesterday’s news, it can throw a wrench into our carefully crafted schedules. Late fees help us keep our sanity intact and encourage everyone to stick to the game plan.

        Think of them like an out of hours surcharge (and often, it really does translate to us having to work late!)

        Start up fees too?!

        We’re all geared up, ready to bring your design dreams to life. But suddenly, you disappear into the Bermuda Triangle of client communication (aka ghosting). Or maybe you need to hit pause on the project for a bit. Either way, it can throw a wrench into our carefully planned schedule, leaving us twiddling our thumbs and our creative juices in limbo.

        That’s where startup fees come in. They’re our safety net, covering us in case things don’t go as smoothly as planned. If you ghost us, disappear without a trace, or need to pause the project unexpectedly, those startup fees help cushion the blow for when you’re ready to pick your project back up. They ensure that we’re not left high and dry and scrambling to make up for lost income. It’s our way of keeping the wheels turning and ensuring that everyone stays accountable throughout the design journey.

        So, think of startup fees as your insurance policy for a smooth-sailing design adventure. They keep us all on track, ensuring that we can dedicate the time and energy needed to bring your vision to life. Plus, they show us that you’re serious about making magic happen – and that’s something we can definitely get behind!

        From the perspective of how I run my business, it’s not completely with my Cruella Deville wig on (no really, I do have one) but communication is key. If life throws you a curveball and you find yourself needing to pause the project or disappearing into the ether, just keep me in the loop. I’m always more than happy to chat about adjusting timelines and finding a solution that works for us both.

        The deadline dance

        So, what’s the bottom line here? Deadlines, late fees, startup fees – they’re all just part of the wild and wonderful world of graphic design.

        If you see that deadline looming on the horizon and you’re worried about hitting it, just stay in communication with your designer.

        And hey, if life throws you a curveball and you find yourself facing those dreaded late fees, don’t sweat it. We get it – stuff happens! Just keep the lines of communication open, and we’ll work through it together like the design dream team we are.

        So, there you have it – the lowdown on deadlines, late fees, and startup fees straight from the designer’s mouth. Now, let’s go out there and create something amazing together!

        Becky x
        Welcome to the BLD Blog

        Hello! I’m Becky. A brand identity & website designer for passionate & ambitious small businesses. This little corner of my website is dedicated to sharing the 15 years of experience I have with brands, websites and of course running a small business.

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