New Year, same dilemmas. Every day as agents we deal with the million dollar question – ‘How much?’ However, rarely is a million dollars the answer.
The AOI announced that they will no longer be able to offer pricing advice or their annual pricing survey after taking legal advice. As of yet, the reasons are unclear – but knowing this lot and their unflinching passion for the industry as a whole – it will be a much considered and deliberated decision.
In many industries there isn’t much dialogue about pay. I’d go so far to say it’s an intrinsically British and ‘polite’ thing that employees don’t discuss pay and much the same in any freelance profession, knowing what rates to charge can be a dark art.
And – I’ll say it – illustrators generally have a hard time. Not only is pay not talked about enough but their chosen career is creative. God knows how many times people ask for free work from creatives, something they’d never dream of asking of their plumber or if they are out shopping. ‘Please can you fit my washing machine for free?’ or ‘Please can I just have this loaf of bread?’, ‘Think of the exposure’. LOL.
It’s also a hard-born fact that when it comes to the Ad world, illustration isn’t always valued as highly in terms of hard bucks as photography and when it moves into animation, it’s the same story versus live action.
But the most mysterious element of all is the usage fee. This is the currency of an artist from day dot but often the most misunderstood or exploited part of a budget – it’s intangibility allows it to be a flexible cost, easier to negotiate, easier to strike though as line item or to be simply unaware of the need to charge it.