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Working With Others

I was going through my search log (yes, I can see what you all search for and it’s fun) and I noticed quite a few searches for “working with illustrators and photographers.”

And, very accurately, we have not discussed that. Usually working with illustrators and photographers puts us in the client role. We become what we deal with every day. We set deadlines for them. We stifle their creativity every now and then. We don’t send the checks out on time. You get the picture. These collaborations require trust, respect and confidence in who you work with. Some may handle this well, others might struggle.

What are the best ways for working with other creative professionals? Of finding the best working ground to meet, what is most important in the end, the clients’ needs.?

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PUBLISHED ON Feb.24.2003 BY Armin
joy olivia’s comment is:

Finding the "Nordstrom's equivilant" in a talented illustrator or photographer is a priority for me.

Working with a freelancer who prides himself/herself on outstanding service always makes my job easier. Who actually wants to work with someone who makes their work more difficult?

Not me. Especially since I typically do not have the budget or time spare on any unprofessionalism. This reflects back on me, and knowing beforehand I won't be disappointed by my freelancers helps to spare me some of this potential grief. This hasn't been a problem for me for quite some time, ever since I've made service a priority when the choice of with whom I work has been on my side.

For photography, I regularly choose to hire Dan Dry (a talented Pulitzer prize winning photographer based in Chicago and Louisville) -- www.dandry.com. Not only is he competitively priced, but he is always doing whatever it takes to make it easier on me (his client) while still producing spectacular results.

For illustration, my latest "must-recommend" goes to Allan Burch (of Missouri) -- members.inter-linc.net/allanburch. If you need a portrait that is classy and contemporary, his charcoal drawings are the perfect fit -- not only for your layout but for your timeframe and budget too.

From my experience, it's the professionalism and flexibility of my freelancers that keep me coming back. If you are fortunate enough to have the option of picking with whom you work, be sure to ask for recommendations when you check their portfolios.

On Feb.24.2003 at 10:38 AM
Jeff’s comment is:

I often find myself in the role of designer and illustrator as I image many of you do. I prefer illustration and I enjoy collaborating with designers. I'm curious to know how flexible you are. How often do you adopt solutions supplied by the illustrator/photographer?

On Feb.24.2003 at 10:44 AM
KM’s comment is:

It helps that I am also the photographer on 99% of the jobs I do. But I can say that working with a photographer can be a difficult at times. The approach I have found that works best is follow the client's needs and expectations. Remember the client (or yourself the designer) is hiring the photographer based on the work they have done. Same reason the client has hired you to work on the design. Don't try to control the photographer's vision (they get into a bitchy mood - including myself) but do give them direction on what the client or yourself would like to capture in the image.

It comes down to the client's needs and the fact that it is a "work-for-hire."

On Feb.24.2003 at 01:45 PM
feluxe’s comment is:

typically, editorial clients (magazines) are far

better adept at dealing with illustrators than corporate, advertising or design shops.

i was an art director for 10 years and i now realise i tweaked illustrators far more than what was really neccessary.

if it needs a change, you should spot it in the sketch and make changes from there- not after implementation.

otherwise you may have to tell the client "the

illustrator was difficult" wen he/she kills your job. i kill about 6 percent of all the jobs that

come into the studio simply because art director likes to tweak and has time to spare

On Feb.24.2003 at 01:50 PM
joy olivia’s comment is:

I totally agree. When you provide photographers with your expectations up front and trust their professionalism/artistic vision, it's hard to be disappointed with the end product.

On Feb.24.2003 at 02:20 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

I can't imagine tweaking an illustrator's/photogrpahers work too much. You hired them because you like their work. If you are an art director tweaking too much, I'd say that's a sign of poor communication during the project brief.

On Feb.24.2003 at 02:54 PM
Sam’s comment is:

I have never hired an illustrator, but I have a question about using someone to draw a logo.

What's the best way to handle the process of developing a logo with an illustrator? Say I am working on a few typographic logos and I want to hire Joe Illo to create an illustrated logo. Do I hire him to make a sketch that I present in the first round along with my typographic versions? I am not inclined to ask him to do a sketch on spec (since I am not working on spec myself by this stage in the game), but I also don't want to pay full price for something before I can present it to the client. It's also risky to present something that looks too sketchlike (not to say sketchy), because clients are so literal and can't usually envision the transformation from the sketch to the final. Is it just a matter of X fee for a sketch with a certain degree of completion, than Y additional fee if that version gets picked?

I'm sure this happens all the time--has anyone had good experiences they can advise on? Thanks.

Also, at my former job, we hired Bill gallery who is excellent and was great to work with. His photojournalistic method is really, really good in the context of coporate materials--everything looks interesting, no one looks unattractive, it's rich but not too stylized. A++++recommendation! (That's ebay terminology)

On Feb.24.2003 at 03:48 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>It's also risky to present something that looks too sketchlike (not to say sketchy)

Could you get him to sketch something and then you trace it in illustrator or freehand so it looks like a more "finished" idea? That way Mr. Illo only spends time doing a sketch and you spend more time on the "retouching for client visualization" stage.


I once got A+A+A+A+A+. Beat that!

On Feb.24.2003 at 03:58 PM
Sam’s comment is:

>>I once got A+A+A+A+A+. Beat that!

I can't, but my mom says I'm handsome!

That's a good idea about the vectorizing. I was thinking more of case, though, like this logo for Picholine that Louise Fili did. I don't know if this was actually done by a separate illustrator, but my point is I can't paint watecolors for beans, so if I wanted something like this, I'd go to an illustrator.

Those first presentations are tricky--I am not usually trying to make anything final that early on. Might save me time in the long run if I did, but it might also cost me time if nothing works.

On Feb.24.2003 at 04:07 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>that Louise Fili did

Ask her to do it.

>I can't, but my mom says I'm handsome!

No. You are handomse++++.

On Feb.24.2003 at 04:11 PM
Sam’s comment is:

I don't know what the hell "handomse" is supposed to mean, but you keep your hand to yourself, mister! By jickity!

On Feb.24.2003 at 04:15 PM
Joe VanDerBos’s comment is:

Sam Wrote:

>>What's the best way to handle the process of developing a logo with an illustrator? Say I am working on a few typographic logos and I want to hire Joe Illo to create an illustrated logo.http://www.iconillustration.com/howto.html

The key to a successful collaboration is having clear expectations. As an illustrator, I try to draw from the customer all of the information that could be relevant to the job, and reiterate what I've heard again and again.



On Feb.24.2003 at 04:15 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>I've posted on one of my websites an outline of how someone could work with an illustrator

That's an excellent resource Joe. Thanks for the link. I think that can also help the other way 'round in how we work with clients and what is a sane process to go through. But that's another discussion.

>You hired them because you like their work.

Supposedly your client picked you because of that too, but has that ever stopped them from picking apart your work?

What I'm trying to say is... well, just that we are bound to try to get our idea or vision (whatever you want to call it) done the way we want to and, without noticing, we might end up manipulating the photographer's work. I'm not saying I do it. I'm just saying.

The ideal situation is to understand that they bring a lot of creativity and knowledge to the project and it's important to let them do their thang. Also, knowing how much it bothers us when clients change and nitpick our work, we should be able to let them do their work.

On Feb.24.2003 at 06:19 PM
Jeff’s comment is:

>What's the best way to handle the process of developing a logo with an illustrator?

I would create a sketch of your idea while simultaneously showing completed work by the proposed illustrator. Once the concept is approved by your client you are then in a position to hire the illustrator. You can breakdown a fee schedule and time line. Below is part of a contract that has come across my desk.

3. XXXX will pay the Artist the Commission Fees set out in Schedule 2 in respect of the Illustrations after delivery and acceptance of the Illustrations in accordance with the Brief. If XXXXX rejects the Illustrations, XXXXX will only pay 25% of the Commission Fees set out in Schedule 2. If XXXXX rejects the sketch concepts/work in progress, then the Artist will not be required to complete the Illustrations, and XXXXX will only pay 10% of the Commission Fees.

I hope it helps.

On Feb.25.2003 at 08:05 AM
Sam’s comment is:

Thanks, Joe and Jeff--that's definitely helpful. I figure there's got to be a reasonable way to set up a sliding scale for payment. I guess the trick is to gently get the client to see the concept from a sketch. Some can, some can't, it seems like. Thanks again.

On Feb.25.2003 at 04:58 PM