Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Should Graphic Designers Provide Mock-ups?

That question is a tough one. Many designers feel adamant about not providing mock-ups because the time and effort spent on conceptualizing and designing is time that they should be paid for. I couldn't agree more.

However, consumers want to make sure that the designer they hire can get the job done for them. Often times designers who claim they understand what the client is looking for and can deliver, fall short. This is a valid point too.

We've had potential clients ask for design mock-ups from us in the past. We've experienced both positive (getting the job) and negative results (loss of income) from doing so. As a result, we decided to make it our policy not to do mock-ups until hired because the risk outweighs the benefit. It's a difficult balance as sometimes we aren't chosen for jobs because we won't provide a free watermarked mock-up. On the other hand, we've had potential clients contact us (because of our affordable pricing) with a watermarked mock-up that another designer had created which they wanted our designers to copy. Keeping that in mind, we decided it wasn't in our best interest to offer them.

I read an article the other day from a consumer who purchased a logo design from a designer and the sole deciding factor was that they were provided with a mock-up before an agreement was made and that made the designer stand apart from the other design firms in the running.

I also read an article from a designer furious at other designers for providing mock-ups. He was angry because he felt that it was destroying the industry of graphic design. His gripe was that designers are working for free without the guarantee of being compensated and that the practice can also result in copyright infringement.

I wrote this post today because I want to hear your opinion.

Small business owners, please weigh in, tell me what you think! Should designers provide you with mock-ups? Do you feel that it is standard practice in business today?

Designers, are you providing mock-ups to your potential clients? Do you think it is increasing your sales? Or hurting your bottom line?

Please post your comments, or if you don't feel comfortable sharing in public, please feel free to take the anonymous poll in the upper right hand corner. Or, if you're one of my regular readers, email me. I'd love to hear what you think!

As always, thanks for reading...



Anonymous said...

My opinion is yes with a cavet. Mockups allow someone to see what they are getting or at least potential, but also allow people to steal the code fairly easily with the "view source" option. What should be done by the designer is to create a mockup and then rather than post it for the potential customer to view, use one of the many applications that take a snapshot of any given window and turn it into an image. Posting a like to a static image instead will let the customer see what they are getting without giving any code away.

Complete Business Systems said...

Thanks for commenting!

That's the point I was making with the "watermarked" design. It's the actual creativity of the design that can be copied. Not the coding. Designers work hard coming up with solid concepts and sometimes their work is "pirated" by providing potential clients with a mock-up (even if it is just an image).

rivieracadman said...

I like to provide a graphical mockup if I'm sure that I have the project. It's simple to mock something up in Illustrator, or even OOo, so that the client knows what they are getting. It also helps with making suttle design changes easier before I get to coding.

Complete Business Systems said...

You have a great point - thanks for sharing.

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