"Just put two hours into it"

I am a freelance graphic designer and work with a fair amount of non-profit organizations.

I received this from a large non-profit that needs a campaign logo:
“We don’t have huge budget to create this campaign; however, we were wondering if you would be able to spend 2 hours creating a logo for it? Whatever you can get done in 2 hours would be awesome and we can take it from there.”

My initial reaction is: No… a) Not a lot can be accomplished in two hours, and b) I would rather see it through and make sure it’s done well.

Am I just being snotty? What would you do/say?

First of all, I agree with you that two hours is not enough time to do this job justice. However, it is enough time to come up with some sort of a word mark that could be used as a campaign identifier.

Some questions for consideration.

Is this a potential new client or an existing client?

If it’s an existing client, what will it do to the relationship if you don’t do the work?

If it’s a potential new client, how badly do you want a foot in the door? – If it’s a potential new client, this is a red flag in my book, so proceed with caution. It can be pretty dangerous to do a deep discount on the first job because they could expect it on all jobs. Also, what does this tell you about the value a potential new client places on design?

Do they want a two hour logo or do they want a 20 hour logo and they are only willing to pay for two hours?

How long will the logo be used? / What is the value of the logo to the client? – For example, is this campaign for a food drive that will only be used for two weeks or is it for a multi-million-dollar building campaign that will last several years?

Thanks for your thoughtful response, Steve. All are great questions!

  • Existing client
  • If I don’t do this particular project, I still think there’s a good chance they would hire me in the future for others
  • I don’t really want a foot in the door – maybe one toe. My main contact just left and I don’t particularly enjoy working with the others on staff.
  • I’m guessing they want a two-hour logo and have someone who is going to finish it to the best of their (limited) ability.
  • The logo would be used for a year - to raise $2M.

I charge 8 x hourly rate for initial ideas

Typically takes 8 hours to get initial drafts together.

If it’s just a quick logo and they have a fair idea already then just say yes.

It’s for charity anyway and I’d have a charity rate so 8 x charity hour rate and I would be out of pocket anyway.

It could be simple enough. Or it could be a monstrous headache.

They’re only willing to spend pocket change on a two-hour logo that will be the face of a campaign in which they hope to raise $2 million? They sound like idiots, and I don’t like working with people like that.

On the other hand, I sometimes do favors such as these for existing, steady clients who have proven themselves as otherwise good partners. However, with new clients that show up with flashing warning signs above their heads, I typically tell them I have a minimum four-figure fee for any project and a 50% deposit.

If a client tell me to do a logo for two hours, I would say no, because it takes me only 10 hours to finish a logo for the client.

I agree with everyone here, would also then argue that it set’s a precident moving forward of their value of your time/skills.

I would almost certainly spin it back on them and state the value you would be adding to the business in building a brand that helps them reach their $2m target.

If you do say yes however, definitely worth mentioning that if they don’t like what’s been presented from the 2 hours requested, that further time spent would result in charging more. Otherwise that’s just robbery.

EDIT: I realise now this is an old post, but hopefully helpful to others in the same situation.


I’d just be honest and let them know they won’t be happy with anything you’d create within two hours. There wouldn’t be enough time for a client review before the final logo is presented.

One recommendation is to ask if they’d be comfortable with a modified logo (not an original one). Something like adding a tagline and recoloring their existing logo. This way the changes are minor and it is less of a commitment.