How to manage revisions with a fixed-price logo?

Hey guys! I have a question about how to handle revisions with a fixed-price logo project.

My unique working process with clients:
I like to keep my clients involved through the whole process starting the review-feedback-revision loop with my initial sketches. This ensures they get something they like and can feel apart of its creation. We keep an open discussion where they can influence the direction based on their knowledge of their business while I advise what works best based on my design expertise.

My question to you:
I want to limit the number of revisions allowed in case I get the type of client who wants to make changes endlessly. How do you manage revisions for your fixed price design projects? Thanks for any help!

The way I see it, these are my options:

  1. Offer unlimited revisions. This keeps things simple but runs the risk of an endless project—I don’t understand how designers manage this issue when they offer this.
  2. Develop 2-3 nearly finished concepts for the client to choose from, then offer 3 revisions with a set or hourly price for any revisions beyond that. This runs a huge risk of them not liking any of the concepts despite my extensive client brief and research.
  3. Try to estimate the number of revisions needed from the initial sketch to the final logo. The problem here is that this can vary drastically depending on how quickly the client approves concepts—I could leave the client with an unfair small amount of revisions or be left with too many unnecessary revisions.
  4. Work with the client from the beginning, but start counting revisions only once I feel we have reached a final logo. This can be very awkward when telling the client we are switching to their limited revisions.
  5. Switch to hourly pay—I don’t like this because it requires a lot of trust and I can only give the client a rough estimate for how long it will take.

There’s this little device called a contract.
Agree to something up front and stick too it. Change in scope = $ adjustment.
Initial concepts/finished concept with 3 revisions/final logo package is the usual route. With a deposit before work starts and balance due on completion before file hand off. But whatever you decide on, put it in writing and have the client agree to it, in writing.

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I do what PrintDriver described. I’ll include a line that says “estimate includes up to XX hours for revisions and time spent after that will result in additional charges.” I will always inform a client before the additional charges kick in. Sometimes, knowing they’ll be paying more helps a client make up their mind.

In my contract, I used to include up to three revisions, but I stopped doing that. Here’s why.

When I included these revisions, clients seemed to always think that since they paid for three rounds of revisions, they needed to get three rounds of revisions. These needless client-inspired tweaks invariably made the logos worse. A couple of times, when clients were happy with the initial designs, they asked for their money back on the unused revisions.

In my current contract, I set a base price for two logo designs with an optional third for a small fee. In the contract, I state there are unlimited revisions, but each is charged a set fee.

This pricing structure lets the client know up front what the costs are, and it gives them an incentive to skip the revisions and save a little money.

Additional opinions and philosophizing…

I dislike working on logos and try to avoid them. Sometimes, I get stuck doing them, like today where I’ll be spending time on a product logo for a long-time local client. It’s not that I dislike designing logos — it’s the client’s counterproductive meddling in the process that drives me bonkers.

For whatever reason, clients seem to want to fiddle with logo designs in ways that rarely ever happen with other kinds of design projects.

With brochure designs, for example, clients typically have good, practical reasons for wanting this or that changed, which is totally fine. With logo designs, their ideas are never good or practical — they’re typically foolish matters of amateurish opinion regarding things that, with few exceptions, lower the quality of the end product.

An example: “I thought I liked it, but my wife, who’s an interior decorator, says it needs to pop more. Here’s an upholstery sample she likes. Could you figure out how to incorporate its texture into the logo?” Another example: “My dog Fifi always stays in the car when I’m showing homes to my real estate clients. Can you put Fifi in the logo wearing a pink bow?”

Clients want to fall in love with their logos instead of seeing them as practical business assets. Showing a client a logo design is like introducing them to a blind date. They want to immediately feel a warm, fuzzy tingle inside instead of seeing what’s in front of them from a practical business perspective.

Again, with other kinds of design work, clients typically have suggestions along the lines of, “I need a small map to my store on the back cover. It’s hard to find and my new customers seem to get lost.” Okay, that’s a solid, practical suggestion for improving functionality and making it better. A suggestion to add Fifi or a fabric sample texture into a logo design is not.

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On flat rate projects you want to give the client an option to exit early via a kill fee… either a cancellation fee (and they take ownership and rights to use all your concepts) or a rejection fee (and they have no ownership and no rights and you are free to use the concepts with other clients). The fee will vary depending on the point they are exiting. And you spell all this out in a contract.

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I have a set number of revisions that are covered with my set pricing. When we are nearing that number, I will let my client know that we will be reaching the maximum number of revisions on our next round of changes and will be switching over to an hourly rate for future changes. Most people know when they’re dragging out the process.

Do not offer unlimited revisions. That’s just mental. Unless you’re charging every client a set price for unlimited revisions.

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Yes, I don’t start working without a contract of course.

If I had a nickel for every client that didn’t read the revisions policy I’d have exactly 697 nickles.

Kinda like designers who don’t read print specs?
:rofl:

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What’s wrong with 27 spot colours?

Nothin, if you want em printed on profile digitally. LOL.
Actually don’t laugh. I’ve done some museum exhibits in my work that had that many colors in the overall theme (I think the biggest one was 29 because I remember asking for one more to make an even 30.) Not more than 6 per graphic panel though. All hand charted back then too. Now the Caldera rip does a bangup job of getting really close on enough Pantones that most designers are cool with it on the first rip proof. There are a few though…

@Just-B ! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! I was reading it to my fiance and we were laughing so much.

I enjoy logo design above all other design for the same reasons you dislike it however. It is the type of project where they care the most about design and where I can discuss and defend the design choices I’ve made. This makes me more aware about the thought I put into my designs and sharpens me as a designer.

I believe good brand design and good logo design come from strong collaboration between the business owner and the designer. Both play a role: The client knows their business and the designer knows how to give it a simple, memorable, and relevant identity. This is something I told my latest client I just started working with—so I’ll see how it goes. In the sense that they know their business best, we need to respect their opinions about more practical matters…but I agree, it can get annoying when they start making design decisions for you.

It is a very good point that clients will feel the need to use all revisions if a limited number is given—that has definitely happened to me. For now, that is a risk I just have to deal with as I’m trying my method 3 again with my current client.

I like your overall approach. I think I will switch to it once I’m brave enough to not show them anything but finalized concepts. For now, I am more comfortable letting them steer the direction of the logo in its development while I advise what is best from my knowledge of good design.

Thanks again for your post and thanks for the laughs!

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Very good point, I need to add this to my contract template.

It’s because I know clients don’t read the terms that I remind them before we go over…so they don’t get a surprise when they receive the invoice.

Of course. I even have on proofs v1-5, v2-5 etc and still have to remind them that we are approaching the last proof.

Email Subject line has Proof 4 of 5, file named v4-5. And still get the oooh we didnt know.

It was in the estimated quote I initially sent which you agreed to and its written in plain English in black and white.

It’s incredibe.

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