Wanted: Graphic Design Monkey Who Works For Peanuts

585 396 Derek Kimball

graphic design monkey

When I was starting out as a designer I was contacted by a Florida plastic surgeon who was wanting a price quote for some graphic design work (logo & stationery). After emailing him my pricing and a breakdown of the logo creation process, I received the following reply in all it’s misspelled glory:

“Thanks for your help! First of all, I loved your work and as an artist, I can tell you, Get rid of the a Amount you wanna spend on your logo shit, Cus if you’re going to charge wathever the fuck you wanna charge please don’t bother. Thanks. And I’m sure there’s a million designers that’ll love to work for less, Cus there’s millions of designers but there’s few plastic surgeons!!! Regards!!”

Admittedly, I was a bit dumbfounded when I read this. Here is someone who undoubtedly charges his clients hundreds or thousands per hour, yet my drastically reduced price quote of just $500 for 20 hours of my time was somehow inconceivable? How dare I charge a barely livable wage.

I typically don’t waste my time with assholes, but I couldn’t help myself. The following was my reply to the surgeon:

“Hello XXX, thank you for the kind words and understanding. After reading through your thought provoking email, I’ve come to the conclusion that you are completely right. My asking price of $20/hr for my “logo shit” was completely out of line. I am one of a million designers and shouldn’t have such high expectations.

To remedy my greedy ways, I’ve decided to reduce my pricing to just $10/hour. I’ve run the numbers, and I think I can make it work…

Assuming I’m able to work 40 hours a week, I’ll bring in $400 a week ($1,600 a month, $19,200 a year). Minus taxes and usual business expenses, I can expect to clear around $12,000 a year.

Sure, it’s a pretty big pay cut, and I’d be below the poverty line… but it’s nothing a second or third job can’t fix. And if I cut my sleep down to just 3 hours a night, I can use this saved time to work on the unpaid portion of running my business. If for whatever reason I can no longer afford my rent, my parents have agreed to allow me to move in.

Well, I don’t want to take up any more of your time. I just wanted to thank you for your advice. It’s been life changing for me. Let me know if my new rates are more to your liking. If by chance I’m still out of your budget range, may I suggest LogoMaid or LogoGarden? Both offer the rock bottom pricing you’re looking for, and both have plenty of generic non customizable graphics for you to cluelessly choose from. If you happen to read about the frequent “stolen artwork” claims against cheap logo sites like these, don’t worry. The worst that can happen is you end up with a cease and desist letter.

If I ever run into anyone in need of plastic surgery services, I will surely send them your way. For future reference, could you please forward me your hourly rates? I read online that they can run upwards of $2,000 per hour, but that must certainly be a typo. Thanks!”

Apparently the guy wasn’t a fan of sarcasm, as I never received a reply back. Or maybe he was just busy insulting other graphic designers who wouldn’t work for peanuts. I just hope he’s better with a scalpel than he is with his grammar and people skills.

Have you encountered a similar situation? Please share by commenting below. Thanks for reading.


Derek Kimball

Derek is the founder of DesignBuddy and a full time graphic designer. He specializes in logo creation and visual branding. Over the past 13 years Derek has helped hundreds of clients grow their business and establish a stronger brand identity. View his portfolio, or get in touch. If you'd like to receive an occasional free newsletter with useful design related content, please subscribe here.

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