The Truth about Craigslist for Designers
Updated: Nov 20, 2019
When I began this research in February of 2015 I had no idea what I would really uncover. I thank you for reading my "Artist Rant" part 1 and please leave comments so I know that this research wasn't for not. Hope I helped shed light on an interesting topic.
What is really driving down the cost of Logo Design in the USA?
What is driving down the cost of logo design, it's not what you would think! This article will go over just one of the many sites that you can use to obtain new clientele CRAIGSLIST.ORG. To do this research based article, I put up an ad on craigslist.org to see what could be driving down the cost of logo design in the US. I posted the ad for 21 days to get 100 submissions. I asked for education background, resume, rates, and deadline from each of those hundred designers.
I naturally thought that, middle eastern countries were to blame, I had fully expected to get a large volume of inquires after 12am... But the truth was astonishing, I only received two inquires from India and they weren't the lowest priced, both offered the logo design for $50. The lowest was actually a US company based out of NY offering a logo design for only $25 with unlimited revisions. If I had to guess in order for them to make any profit, they perhaps hire middle eastern designer from a site like Freelancer.com or other (This however, is some thing that I will cover in another article.)
While gathering my information I took statistic information and calculated average rates and deadlines at the first 5 hours, 24 hours, 48 hours, and 21 days (when I finally reached 100 designers). I did follow up with the designers that did not give me the information that I needed to conduct my research. They were unaware of my research and treated me as a future client. Sorry to those that may find this discouraging or inconsiderate. I did not enjoy getting so many designers hopes up. I remember back to my excitement if I got a single reply from a perhaps future client, when rejection emails are very rare. Any response would make me feel worthy as an artist and a potential candidate.
The Craigslist ad read as below: Logo Design Needed
"I am in the need of a designer to create a new company logo for my start up! Please send portfolio, resume, rates and time that it will take you.
With getting lots of submissions with out resumes attached I have added this as a requirement of replying to my ad. If you will not be providing a resume, I would like you to at least add this to your email please- Where you or your company is located, how many years have you been doing graphic design and if you have an education in art? This may or may not affect my chances of hiring you or your company!"
For a very large percentage of responses did not provide any of the information requested.
30 out of the 100 artists did not include any of the information requested and just attached a portfolio. Most likely a copy and paste email where they did not even read my ad but only the headline. That's 30% that did not bother to even answer a single requirement of responding to my ad.
Only 19 out of the 100 artists included a resume even after requesting it again in a follow up email. That's 81% that did not follow seemingly simple instructions.
Only 5 artists out of the 100 fully answered my ad but again did not include resumes, that's only 5% that fully responded to my ad.
1 out of 100 artists fully responded to all questions and included a resume at first reply. This artist claims to have over 35+ years and I believe it! That is only a 1% of artists responses that took the time to answer my ad correctly.
Follow up email read as below: "What are your rates and time line for logo design?
As a requirement to reply to my ad I requested a resume, if you did not attach one I asked you to answer the following questions in your reply.
Do you have a College Degree and if you do, what is it in? If you are self taught then that's okay too just let me know. Where are you located, are you in the Colorado area, another state or in another country?
thank you for you reply ahead of time"
Many of the artists that I emailed would not answer the questions fully even after requesting the information again in the follow up email and some seemed to run around the questions with misleading information (Yes, I have an education in art) or requiring more information about the project its self before making any estimates in time or rate. (Which wouldn't be a bad thing, if I wasn't already getting several artists that give rates and time. This ultimately would lead to a client to go with a no hassle rate instead of having a back and forth to just get a simple estimate.) I even got 3 artists that claimed to be local but just on vacation one out of the country and the others out of state. If I am asking if you are local, don't lie to make friends!
What was even worse was the lack of portfolios which was 5 out of 100 artists didn't attach a portfolio of past work. Yes 95% gave me a portfolio, but how could these 5 artists think I would hire some one that doesn't show what they can do as an artist when competition is so high. Why would I even take the time to request a portfolio if I wasn't conducting my research. I emailed all of the artists that did not include a portfolio and 4 out of the 5 responded with a portfolio. However to my confusion I had one artist ignore my request for a portfolio and then request the second highest rate out of all 100 artists at $700 for a logo design. (He had no education and claimed to be a local artist)
You ready for the results!
Here are the results for the first 5 hours, this will give you some insight on what you clients maybe seeing right after they post their ad.
A total of 18 artists and 3 companies responded within the first 5 hours. That's 21 responses with in the first five hours. that's almost a quarter of all my responses during the whole 21 days. Keeping that in mind, clients get a large percentage of their responses within the first five hours of posting. Being within that window could be a matter of being hired for the project or not.
Education: Only one college grad (not in graphic design), 2 current students, 7 admitted to having no formal training and 8 artists refused to answer.
16 out of the 18 artists did not send a resume even at request, and none of the replies included the information requested at 100%. These fast responders also seem to be copy and paste emailers that can not seem to read the ads they are posting to.
However the average rate during the first 5 hours is also much lower, ( can any one say desperation) Average Rate for US was $100 and average for out of country was $75.
US Rates - Average $100 Over Seas Rates- Average $75 1 at $25 or below NA 1 at $50 or below 2 at $50 or below 1 at $75 or below NA 1 at $100 or below 2 at $100 or below 1 at $150 or below 2 at $150 or below 1 at $200 or below NA
6 US artist or companies gave rates 6 Overseas artist or companies gave rates 12 total responses out of the 21 that gave a flat rate - that's about half that refused to give rates with out more information. Again I say, why would a client bother to extend their selves for a estimate if they have several no hassle answers.
Time Lines for Design work: Same Day: 2 24 hours: 2 48 hours: 1 72 hours: 1 2 weeks: 1
7 gave timelines the other 14 declined giving any timeline
Strange Offers: 3 promised unlimited revisions 1 promised to price match all other competitors 3 pay after delivery 1 satisfaction guaranteed
Here are the results for the first 24 hours
A total of 31 artists and 4 companies responded within the first 24 hours. That's 35 responses with in the first 24 hours. I saw a drastic decrease in responses after those initial 5 hours, which is something that I again did not see coming.
Education: 2 with Associates only one in Graphic Design, 5 with Bachelors only one in graphic design, 10 admitted to having no formal training, 1 college drop out and 2 current students.
27 out of the 31 artists did not send a resume even at request, and 2 artists that gave the information however did not include a resume.
Average Rate for US was $137.50 and average for out of country was $100.
US Rates - Average $100 Over Seas Rates- Average $75 1 at $25 or below NA 1 at $50 or below 2 at $50 or below 3 at $75 or below NA 6 at $100 or below 3 at $100 or below 1 at $150 or below 2 at $150 or below 2 at $200 or below NA 1 at $250 NA 1 at $500 NA
16 US artist or companies gave rates 7 Overseas artist or companies gave rates 13 refused to give rates even at request
Time Lines for Design work: Same Day: 3 24 hours: 2 48 hours: 3 72 hours: 4 1 week: 2 2 weeks: 1
15 gave timelines the other 20 declined giving any timeline
Strange Offers: 6 promised unlimited revisions 1 promised to price match all other competitors 3 pay after delivery 1 satisfaction guaranteed
Here are the results for the first 48 hours
A total of 46 artists and 6 companies responded within the first 48 hours. That's 52 responses with in the first 48 hours. Responses are coming in very slowly, which honestly is giving me more time to fully review applicants.
Education: 2 with Associates only one in Graphic Design, 2 with Bachelor of Science none in Graphic Design, 6 Bachelor of Arts only one in Graphic Design, 2 with Bachelor of Fine Arts both in Graphic Design.
37 out of the 46 artists did not send a resume even at request, and 2 of those artists set the resume after request.
Average Rate for US was $204.46 and average for out of country was $111.11.
US Rates - Average $100 Over Seas Rates- Average $75 1 at $25 or below NA 3 at $50 or below 3 at $50 or below 3 at $75 or below NA 7 at $100 or below 3 at $100 or below 1 at $125 or below NA 2 at $150 or below 2 at $150 or below 2 at $200 or below NA 2 at $250 or below 1 at $250 or below 2 at $300 or below NA 4 at $500 or below NA 1 at $700 or below NA
28 US artist or companies gave rates 9 Overseas artist or companies gave rates 17 refused to give rates even at request
Time Lines for Design work: Same Day: 3 24 hours: 4 48 hours: 5 72 hours: 5 1 week: 4 2 weeks: 2
Only about half gave timelines the others refused to do so
Strange Offers: 11 promised unlimited revisions 1 promised to price match all other competitors 3 pay after delivery 3 satisfaction guaranteed
Here are the results for the whole 21 days
A total of 81 artists and 19 companies responded within the whole 21 days. That's 100 responses with in 21 days. I was surprised to find out how much time it took to hit 100 responses, I thought that I would hit 100 within the first week.
Education: 6 with Associates only 2 in Graphic Design, 7 with Bachelor of Science none in Graphic Design, 13 Bachelor of Arts only 3 in Graphic Design, 6 with Bachelor of Fine Arts only 3 in Graphic Design, 3 current students none in Graphic Design, 4 college drop outs.
That totals 29 out of the 100 applicants hold some sort of higher education (not including the college drop outs), while only 8 out of the 100 held a degree in graphic design. That 92% that did not hold a degree in graphic design that applied to design a logo! How can we value an education, if no one seems to respect the field of graphic design. Most clients care more about price then an artists background or experience.
62 out of the 81 artists did not send a resume even at request, while 5 artists did not include a portfolio
Average Rate for US was $241.34 and average for out of country was $112.50
US Rates - Average $100 Over Seas Rates- Average $75 1 at $25 or below NA 7 at $50 or below 4 at $50 or below 4 at $75 or below NA 7 at $100 or below 3 at $100 or below 1 at $125 or below NA 1 at $125 or below NA
7 at $150 or below 2 at $150 or below 4 at $200 or below NA 4 at $250 or below 1 at $250 or below 7 at $300 or below NA 2 at $350 or below NA 4 at $500 or below NA 2 at $700 or below NA 2 at $1000 or below NA
52 US artist or companies gave rates 10 Overseas artist or companies gave rates 38 refused to give rates even at request, that's 38% that would be an automatic disqualify in my book. So giving flat rates are important if you want to land that logo gig.
The ones that seemed to ask for the higher prices were the ones that really surprised me, only one held a degree in graphic design (asking $300) and the others were self taught. One of the artists, mentioned above, asking for $700 had never designed a logo before, no formal training and did not send me any kind of portfolio work that would suggest that he was even an artist. I found that the ones that held a degree in art were more likely to be on the lower average, I am sure in order to compete with the other artists out there and they desperate to use their degrees.
Time Lines for Design work: Same Day: 6 24 hours: 10 48 hours: 10 72 hours: 8 1 week: 9 2 weeks: 5
48 gave timelines, that's about half of the responses
Strange Offers: 13 promised unlimited revisions 1 promised to price match all other competitors 3 pay after delivery 5 satisfaction guaranteed
I saw less strange offers as the length of time passed. I really felt an air of desperation on the emails that promised these odd ball things.
Here are some odd things that I thought should be mentioned. I wrote these things down as I continued me research, things that I found shocking or strange while I was investigating. I want to share these with you and hopefully you too have a good laugh about them.
One artist an art student told me he would design a logo for $40 but if I wanted the working files he would have to charge more. I then followed up to ask about copy right. He assured me that I would get full copy right with the $40. I had to hold my self back, as I know I would have started a fight with this guy. If you give copy right then the working files become mine.
One artist felt the need to educate me sending me a novel about you get what you pay for. I wonder if that approach works for him.
One artist refused to send me her current resume stating that it would infringe on the confidentiality of her past clients.
One artist had a client questionnaire to aid in a fast turn around time
I had an artist from India demand payment even though I did not hire him for any thing. I believe he had intended the email for another hiring party. "What happened, PAY after satisfaction." After I attempted to clear up his confusion, I didn't even get an apology. I found that some artists had company confusion. They would ask me to hire them and send me a company site that has no indication that that artist even works there or is even affiliated with the company in an about page. In conclusion I found that respond-ers to the ad on Craigslist had a lack of details to the customer inquiry. Artist had a very slow response time or did not respond at all after I followed up with them in an email.
Craigslist has taught me how we as a culture value our artists, and I have to say the problem is how artists value them selves. What is driving down the cost of design is us artists in the US, and we have no one else to blame. It's not out sourcing or low ball clients, it's us..... We as artists are the problem, how can we expect our culture to except design as a true career if we do not respect it either. Graphic Design should be done by those who went to school for it or at least the self taught artist should teach them selves going rates for design work to ask for proper amounts.
I hear all the time from tattoo artists, animators, illustrators, and graphic designers that no one takes those jobs seriously. Well perhaps it is time the other artists start respecting other artists fields. Also pride in being self taught is okay but don't drive down the cost of design work. Research that field and ask to be paid the starting wages for that industry. If you are under cutting because you are desperate for cash and you happen to draw then compete correctly. Because that under cutting is why low ball clients exist, they just don't know better.
I have a BA in Media Arts and Animation, animation is even more misunderstood in our culture (but I will leave that for a future article). I wanted to see the true cause of constantly lowering costs of design work as well as what other artists are asking for. What I uncovered was much more deep that I had originally thought.