Chris Do – “Value isn’t determined by you, it’s determined by the client”

August, 2017
Reading Time
12 mins
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Image © The Interviewee

The innovative, ambitious, and controversial thoughts of Chris Do.

This week Creative Chair is talking to Chris Do, whose opinions on pricing for design are changing the way creatives are thinking about business.

It should be noted that Chris’s thoughts are not without foundation. His studio ‘Blind’ has worked for a myriad of high profile clients. In order to fully appreciate this interview, you should first watch the video below in which Chris Do suggests that designers should price the client and not the job.

There were elements of video which I agreed with, but I felt there were gaps, which is why I asked Chris to come on Creative Chair. We also discuss Chris’s exciting and ambitious plans in the educational space.

Read this interview with Chris Do then venture into the rabbit hole with The Futur’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

One of you workshop videos focusses on how designers should charge clients for logos. The lesson is that you shouldn’t charge by the hour, which is something that I agree with. But, you also say that you should price the clients and not the job, and there are a few things about that ethos that I can’t quite get my head around.

Firstly, in the video, you state that you charge a flat rate for logo design. That rate is between $15,000-$30,000 and will be based on how much the logo is worth to them. So, if Client A comes along and you deem a new logo to be worth a figure that justifies them paying $30k, that’s the price they pay. But then, Client B comes along, and you work out that a logo is worth double what a logo was worth to client A, do you still charge $30k? Put simply, based on your ethoi, I understand how there is a minimum, but I don’t understand why there is a cap?

There is no cap. I just submitted a logo to a client for $150k. During the time in which I produced the video, I was saying to charge the client. People were so used to charging a few thousand dollars for an entire identity system. I felt that it would be too great a disconnect to then say something in the 6-figure range. I also didn’t want to talk about something that I haven’t been able to close.

Hopefully, by the time this article is shared, we will have closed two clients whose budget has been over $100,000.

Secondly, let’s say Client A came to you after they had been trading for 12 months and you design them a logo for $15k. Then let’s say in an alternative scenario that same client had come to you after they had been trading for four years. In this scenario, nothing about the business had changed, but they make good products, so their revenue had increased by 400%, so you charge them more than if they had come to you three years earlier. That’s what I can’t quite grasp. In both scenarios I would assume that the logo/visual solution would be the same, so why would it cost more in the second situation?

The client isn’t the same anymore. They have had 4 years of growth, experience, risk, etc… They are a bigger company now, presumably with more at risk. They have different business objectives.

Additionally, you are not the same person you were 4 years, ago right? Value isn’t determined by you, it’s determined by the client. How much risk are they exposed to if you get it wrong? What’s on the line if the re-brand doesn’t work out? That’s the difference. Nike or Apple is arguably the same company as when they first started. Their values and mission are probably the same. But their operation is very different. That’s why both take design very seriously. A mistake can cost them millions in lost revenue and billions of dollars in opportunity cost. Just imagine this, if one of their suppliers causes them to miss the holiday shopping spree, what does that cost them in terms of lost revenue?

You’re doing some really great stuff with ‘The Futur’, and you’ve expressed some quite ambitious goals for a facility that makes creative education far more accessible than it is at present. Could you tell us more about that plan, when you would like it to come to fruition, and what steps/changes we’ll see with The Futur along the way?

I just finished writing the first draft of the vision for the Futur. We have big plans and are in full start-up mode. The current GBO (global business objective) are twofold— grow the YouTube audience (hit 200k subs by end of the year), and grow our revenue month over month (we are hitting both goals currently).

We need to continue to prove the business model and gain influence in the design education space. The money we make helps with covering the cost of writing, producing, and editing content. Currently, we spend every dollar we make (and then some) into making more content. We have a small, full-time team with a handful of volunteers who help us to make the content.

The 99th 366 Award goes to Chris Do for his outstanding creative work.

Chris Do The Future

We need to make as much noise in the education space as possible so that the sleeping giants wake from their slumber and take notice. We plan on creating the most relevant, engaging, entertaining educational material on design, creativity and the intersection of business and marketing. We will cover the creative soft skills (problem-solving, design, design thinking, communication, process, lettering, image making, typography, composition, editing, storytelling, etc…) as well as the “B” school concepts that creatives need to understand to have an impact in the business realm.

Step 1: Be a credible player in the education space. Be the number one resource for design education.

Step 2: Integrate with existing brick and mortar universities. Become part of the curriculum.

Step 3: Build the school of the future ourselves— a 50k sq. ft school that is a state of the art learning centre for communities to interact and share ideas.

Step 4: Expand the physical experience to other countries.

Finally, if you died and got reincarnated as a song what would that song be?

Lose Yourself— Eminem

Lose Yourself"
Lose Yourself (2002)
Play on Apple Music
Play on Spotify
Play on YouTube
What began as a fun question to end an interview, has now become a wonderfully eclectic collaborative playlist by 161 people (and counting).
Chris Do
Our Forest