GDE730, GDE730 - Week 2

Week 2 : Business models/Invoicing – Test&Rehearse

Personally this week has been a huge challenge – I knew, going into this module, that my lack of experience within a studio would hinder my progress. And when initially starting this brief I really panicked that my figures and costings would be a complete shot in the dark.

But I went back over what I learned last week – that this module is packed full of hugely experienced and successful designers who love to share what they have learned over the years. The Ideas Wall has again been so full of fantastic insights, links and information that I know I couldn’t have completed this week’s work without their help.

Firstly, the lectures have given us another incredible insight into the many different worlds of designers – freelance/large studios/collectives…

I found the fee structure highlighted by Moross hugely interesting – considering either Pro-rata costings where every hour or minute is broken down, or fixed rates (where the pro-rata rates are taken into consideration here as well).

Considering the week’s work, it would have been really interesting to know how Theo or Lovers costed projects – the collaborative/collective nature of Lovers could be really fascinating. Kate Morosss highlighted to me how much larger companies are able to take on smaller jobs or even not charge for some work – because of the profit made from other jobs, they are able to expand their reach across the community and help companies that need the advertising.

There were so many links posted to the ideas wall this week about fees, pricing structure etc really showed how much the prices change depending on whether you’re a freelance designer, micro studio or bigger. This left me really confused about the task but, as above, drawing on others experience and help made this week that bit easier.

In terms of my own studio, as mentioned in the previous week, my aim it to create a collaborative, experimental and supportive environment for young designers to be mentored and to give freelance artworkers space to create.

We aim to support young people and new people coming into the industry through internships and work experience”


For me, hearing the above quote really reinforced my belief in the studio I’d love to create – I’d be going beyond internships, and offering jobs to young designers to get the mentoring and early support they need. Ustwo used a Swedish concept in their Malmo office for coaching and developing their work. Lovers in so in line with my concept – they use their “creative collective power” to create incredible work by people who choose to help the projects.

The fact that each studio has their own individual way of supporting young designers shows it’s something that is needed in the industry and something I’m going to really highlight when it comes to our business plan.

It’s made me research more into what I’d want from the studio – Ideally around 5 individual small studio spaces for artworkers to hire out either monthly or weekly depending on their needs. 4 hot spaces, a small area for creatives who want an artistic, quiet environment. A man studio with open spaces for the designers. Looking around, spaces of this size are around £2500 per month to rent – not extortionate by any means. Of course there are other expenses to consider – accountants, stationary, equipment etc. But having a regular income from studio and open space rentals would always help.

Considering the above costs has given me the first step to realising what costs I need to take into account when creating my pricing structure.

Another thing I’ve had to consider this week is the broad range of business models within the design world – freelancing/studio owners etc. I felt like I had to segment the different areas to make it clearer in my mind: I’ve always seen entreprenurialism as a more business to consumer model, the idea of selling and pitching ideas to consumers. Whereas plain freelance work seems more business to business – the idea of selling services to businesses. Of course many freelancers are also entreprenuers and this needs to be considered. I think, essentially, it comes down to not necessarily putting certain people into different categories, but understanding that the sheer variety of business models and types of freelancers or studio owners is so broad. From this point of view, it’s been amazing to watch all other students take the idea for their brand and business further and see it develop. Perhaps it’s not so important to dictate a name or a “type” but accept that we can all be flexible and not be set to just one path.

Another thing I’ve never considered is how the size of the businesses you design for directly affect the time taken on a project. Ustwo highlighted how bigger brands take so much longer, there are so many more levels for smaller changes and amendments to go through. This links directly to how these companies also pick and choose who they work with – because they have the luxury of money. These larger design studios can be picky because they want to know they’re representing a brand that echoes their values or won’t be an issue in the future. Of course, smaller agencies and freelancers can’t necessarily turn down work. Neef goes on to talk about how they look at the brief given, and allocate a certain number of designers to that brief. Again, their company is so much larger than I could ever want BUT it’s super important to note that not all design briefs require everyone from the team – pick and choose who should work on it, even in a smaller team.

Overall, this week has been a huge step forward for me – I’ve taken a challenge that had me literally shaking on Saturday, and I’ve managed to break it down, piece by piece. I also realised that the support we get from others around us is something to turn to when struggling. I also have so much more belief, hope and vision for my business concept – I loved the idea before, but I think it takes passion and certainty to create a solid, well thought out business plan.

References / Research Material

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