invitation questions...

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Nicolecat, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. Nicolecat macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    So, I've been at it again.

    I designed some wedding invitations for a friend's friend.
    She loved them, and asked me to send her a proof. I saved the lowest possible pdf size I could and emailed it to her.

    Problem #1: We never agreed on a price ahead of time.
    Problem #2: She took my design, and is using it throughout her wedding.
    Problem #3: She thinks $125 (which is a fraction of what I normally charge) is too high, for the design (even after admitting she is using this design throughout different items, including her wedding gifts)

    She wanted custom work...for a 'kit' price.
    I don't know how to respond.

    She took the file I gave her to a friend, who is going to print them for her...and was like, "That's okay, right?"
    (I should've watermarked it...I KNOW)

    I'm just having one of those, "Why do you think I spent $20,000 on a degree to make you $50 invitations. I'm not in college any more!"
    Okay *rant off*

    Help!...What's the best way to tell her, that what she did was wrong? or do I just wait until she pays me whatever she's going to pay me and tell her, "Never do business like that again."
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus


    Mar 7, 2007
    I think you need to be upfront about it, but it won't be easy, no matter how you tell her.
  3. Nicolecat thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    I guess I'm just really worried about her not paying if I say something now and what my recourse would be if she didn't.

    I really want to tell her that if she can't pay that, then I'll have to ask her not to use the design...but I don't know what to do if she does use the design, and just doesn't pay me.

    Her total budget for design, print & postage is $150. (just found that out)
    I want to be like, "Are you f**king kidding me? You couldn't get invitation 'print-at-home' kits and mail them for that price?"
  4. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    She's not your friend, she's a friend of a friend.

    Tell your actual friend the issue (this is the person who may have to hear the brut of the complaining from her, so be sensitive to your friend first, and explain the issue.

    Then explain what your actual pricing is, and let her know you can give her a break, but it will be no where near what her budget is and there was a misunderstanding.

    I assume if you saved the lowest size pdf, that it would be unprintable in anything that looks decent.... if it's still printable, you didn't save it very small! :)

    Anyway, direct her to your site, or give her your normal invoice pricing, maybe give her a bit of a deal, but don't compromise.

    If she uses your design despite not paying you after you tell her the facts and explain the miscommunication, i'm afraid you may have to do what you would do with anyone else who would be breaking the law like that. It's simply unacceptable... but that woud be the last straw.

    Just talk to your friend, and then her and simply explain the problem, that's all you can do. Do not compromise yourself or your time just because you are "worried" what she may do. If she didn't explain her budget to you, then that's her problem, however, if you never gave her any sort of estimate before dong the work, then you may just have to accept your mistake and learn.

    I'd make sure she doesn't use your design in a low res pdf though, that will just look like crap.

    Tell her how it is, maybe she really just doesn't understand pricing for this sort of stuff, if she still says "too bad" or something after, then you can tell her not to use your stuff... and maybe you can use some of the work you did for her for someone else if she's not willing to pay for it.
  5. teleromeo macrumors 65816


    Dec 2, 2006
    kidnapped by aliens
    The invitation is almost as important as her wedding dress, it's the first thing people officially get when a marriage is anounced. 125$ is a bargain, especially since she used your design without your supervision over and over again.
  6. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2004
    Send her a bill for the full total, then work out something, even if it's just partial payment, and chalk it up as a learning experience. We've all been there, and I bet you'll make the price up front next time. The hassle may not be worth the $125
  7. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Sadly, I think every designer has been in your situation at one time or another...

    I think you know this, so I don't want to harp on the idea too strongly, but its unethical to both you and other design professionals to work on spec. If you had negotiated a budget with your client before pen hit paper both you and your client would have a clear understanding of each others rights and responsibilities and have a designer/client relationship built upon mutual respect.

    Why should she consider your time be valuable when you were so quick to do the work for free?

    Once the design is out of your hands its out of your control. It happens everywhere: I've had two projects in recent years taken in this way by fortune 500 companies! Get some money up front...

    The key question is what do you want to do about it? How much fuss are you willing to raise? Particularly in light of issue #3.

    You did not have a contract or (it seems) even a verbal agreement before you handed over the work, so you don't have a ton of legal protection. You do have copyright law on your side, but a good copyright lawyer makes between $300 to $800 an hour. :eek:

    This is the kicker. The simple fact is that even if you did do a great design that you were proud of, a client and a budget like this is bound to fail and reflect badly on you. Its a no-win situation!

    My advice is to not make a scene. Walk away with grace and pride and take the loss. She can consider it her "wedding gift".

    If you do take her money, she will probably keep coming back with changes and/or fixes. Its just not worth it...
  8. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    that's good advice........and next time, agree on a price BEFORE you start working
  9. Nicolecat thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    Yeah, the original plan was to meet and get some ideas for what she wanted. I have a creative brief that I asked her to fill out. (although, she only filled in a few fields)...On this creative brief there was a place for 'agreed upon pricing'. (but somehow this never came up)

    I had a good idea for what she wanted, so threw together a comp...never intending her to LOVE it, but just so she could see their names on paper.
    (obviously this was a bad idea).

    I really want to put my foot down and be slightly catty about it...but I could see where I would have the upper hand by gracefully 'bowing out'

    After all is said and done, is there still reason to lecture her on how good business is really done. The girl is still in college, and from what I've heard from my friend is obnoxious in her personal life (stepping on toes, and inviting herself places). It sounds like this is how she takes life in every aspect of the word...and somehow I think she needs to hear the brunt of it sooner than later. (Although, I'm not one to ruin someone's wedding experience...I remember how stressful that was.)

    Oh, well...thanks for the feedback everyone.
  10. Nicolecat thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    Okay...Here's what I want to say. Is it fair?

    "Okay, so I've had time to sleep on it, and have asked other designers in the field what the best way to handle this situation would be.

    The better way to approach pricing would have been to ask you what you thought my custom work and time was worth before we started...and if wasn't a match, then we could have discussed further how we wanted to move forward.

    I realize now, that my pricing (even though severely discounted)
    may be (and have been) slightly out of reach. You decide what it's worth to you...and then we'll talk more about it.

    I do want to point out that the pdf I sent you was the lowest quality I could save it as...If you would like a highres pdf let me know. I don't want something out there with my name on it, printed in low res (it may look fine to you...but it most definitely wasn't print ready).

    There's more.
    Sure I designed the invitation. But it really hurt my feelings that you took the design and had someone else finish the project without my knowledge of you doing so. When you left from our meeting, I had no reason to believe that I wasn't finishing the design for your wedding ensemble. You even messaged me asking to design thank you's as well. (I am assuming you're just going to have your friend do those as well)

    Everything is all over the place.
    I don't want to upset you because I know how stressful planning a wedding can be. I just wanted to point out that when (in the future) you ask for custom design work...keep in mind that a designer's time is going to cost more than something you can buy in a store, because of the simple fact that nobody else will have it. I also don't want to offend you when I post the design up to sell to other people now, to help recoup my costs (I wanted to let you know ahead of time)."
  11. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2004
    Calgary, AB
    Should have agreed to a price up front, even if I'm doing "freebie" jobs for friends I make a point of mentioning that my friends and family rate is a case of beer just so there's no confusion.

    But yes do what others have said, draw up a full invoice for you time and send it to them. At the very least it will get the ball rolling in their mind that "yes, I do in fact owe this person some money" and take it from there.

    And in the future, use a contract.
  12. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Well, for $125 or lack of $125, I would make her put your website and phone information on all the information with your design on it. That would be required + whatever they would pay for it.

    $125 is nothing. Publicity and good will is much better if the bride loves the design.
    However make sure the bride tell anyone interested in price to "contact you for a price"
    and not say you worked for x amount.

    Your friend would also owe you a favor.

    Always discuss price first and get a contract before working on something. Live and learn.

    As to protection, the artist is protected by copyright. Don't need a contract for that. But pursuing that is probably not worth it in this case.
  13. werther macrumors regular

    May 15, 2006
    I think the letter you wrote should suffice and chalk it up as lesson learned. Would be interesting to know her response.

    What is being printed off is not really a finished design and according to the op was saved in low quality. I wouldn't want my name on it.
  14. kymac macrumors 6502a


    Nov 4, 2006
    you should have misspelled the names on the mock up.. or used the wrong date! haha
  15. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
  16. Nicolecat thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    She b*tched out...because she found me through a friend, she wanted a 'handout.' She said she's not going to use the design, since she hasn't paid for anything. But I'm going to keep my eye out, I just don't trust her.

    She called and blessed out the friend who tried to set this up for us (because when 'friend' tried to reason with 'bride', she was accused of taking sides)...and I think 'bride' is trying to kick her out of the wedding now too.

    This is BRIDEZILLA if I've ever seen it.

    I dipped out of this drama, asap.
    ...and don't plan on making this a reoccurrence. :eek:
  17. a cat *miaow* macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2007
    That was definitely the best thing to do. Maybe sending proofs online or something might be a good thing to do _ you can lock them (to most people at least) by displaying as a background image.

    Don't know how someone would even have the cheek to attempt to use something they hadn't paid for, especially when it's through friends..
  18. Nicolecat thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2008
    She had a local printer use clipart...CLIPART for the artwork on her wedding invitations. (I just hope there wasn't certain copyright issues against that kind of usage).

    Oh, well...just thought I'd let the creative world know how much, the rest of the world just doesn't understand. :(

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