Business Queries for Package Design Illustration



  • Hi Everyone!

    I have an Illustration project that requires me to do a single illustration for a kids electronic learning kit.
    I'd like to know how to go about the business side of illustration for package design. Is it a flat fee? Are there licenses or royalties I should be aware off? The product might end up in shopping malls..

    I have watched Lee's business videos but haven't come across anything with regards to illustration on package/ product ..please correct me if I'm wrong..have been researching a lot these past few days about illustration for package design and things are slightly unorganized in my brain :)

    I'm aware of the The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines book and I have ordered it..The issue there is I'm going to the receive in a week and I have to send in an estimate in a day or two.

    I have been around on this forum for a while and it's really great to see artists help out each other like a warm family :)

    I'd love to know what you'll suggest! Thanks :D



  • I have no experience whatsoever in this field, but I have the GAG Handbook. So I scanned the page with the fees for packaging illustration - I guess this is what you need.
    0_1491374741751_PackageIllo 1.jpg



  • Thank You So Much..

    It's just what I was looking for..thank you for taking the time out for the scan!

    Much Appreciated :)



  • On the GAG handbook in general, I have to say that the real world looks a bit different. I think a new illustrator without a reputation and experience is very unlikely to get these fees - there is just too much competition. For an established illustrator they are probably more accurate. The discussion is open whether one should insist on getting these fees from the beginning - I would say the risk of not getting any work at all is pretty high. I, for one, have lost all leads where I quoted at the GAG level (and I wanted to loose, them, so I am not complaining).
    There is a nice video by Will Terry about quotes and fees which I found overall way more helpful than the GAG handbook. The book does provide a starting point, though.

    Here is the video



  • True..It helps as a rough idea. Especially when I don't have much experience in the packaging department with regards to illustrations and design costs.

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience and insight too about the rates mentioned in the book..

    The scan helps to decide though how much lesser to charge in comparison to the rates mentioned and the work on hand..I have watched Will's video during my research..shall check it out again..



  • @sensesis I agree with @smceccarelli & @Will-Terry about the GAG Pricing Guide. Not that it has no value, but reality is different. GAG is a guide that can help give legitimacy to your pricing, but different clients have various budget tolerances, illustrators have different value placed on their talent/experience/name (e.g. a well known or in-demand illustrator can charge a lot more), and different projects have a range of variables that could change their value.

    I’d say that you’re unlikely to get royalties since the imagery you are providing is more in line with marketing rather than being the item being sold (which is the electronic device itself, not the art on the box).

    While GAG made a distinction of “re-use”, “Total Copyright Transfer”, & “Work-For-Hire”, it’s likely that the client will be looking for a buy-out from the start on this kind of project (and may not even be considering any other option), but it would be good to pursue retaining copyright ownership in the contract if possible and attempt to restrict the use of the illustration (e.g. they can’t use it on the box and then go use it on t-shirts without paying more).

    GAG’s book “Professional Issues & Legal Rights” has info on licensing & work-for-hire amidst other stuff. If you get the digital versions, you can download immediately. (It’s a number of pages, otherwise I’d just copy/paste it all) BTW, they have additional resources here: https://graphicartistsguild.org/tools_resources/browse

    With this project, you might want to particularly consider cost & contractual points associated with any character development. If any characters are requested to be developed (specific characters and not generic ones), then it is possible that they may wish to use that character as a mascot (of sorts)

    For instance, Leap Frog has a number of characters—especially their frog character(s)—that they use across multiple products.

    So, if you are being asked (or it’s implied) to create a character as part of the illustration work that will (or might) be used with multiple products (packaging/marketing, product imprint, in the software, etc.) or especially as the corporate representative character, then there should be additional cost for that. (FYI, They’ll probably want to own that character.)

    Otherwise, you’d be “giving them a character for free”. In other words, the value of the illustration (or rather the particular element of the illustration: the character) is much higher if to be used on more than just this one packaging illustration.

    If they have existing characters that you need to incorporate into the illustration, then this quickly becomes akin to a work-for-hire scenario; though, royalties aren’t out of the question entirely (obviously, you will not be able to retain any type of ownership of their character used for the illustration).

    Overall, much like what Will says in his video (which I skimmed, but heard him speak about elsewhere), pricing comes down to what you are satisfied getting for the work requested. That will be informed by your financial needs & goals, the time/effort you expect the work to take, and the value of the work to the company that you perceive it to be (from your quality, experience, name recognition, etc. as well as how it will drive sales & revenue, public awareness, market share, etc. for the client). Of course, this is all balanced against what the client perceives of these things as well, which leads to the negotiation dance.



  • A Lot of helpful and insightful info @QuietYell ! Thank you :D

    I’d say that you’re unlikely to get royalties since the imagery you are providing is more in line with marketing rather than being the item being sold (which is the electronic device itself, not the art on the box).

    While GAG made a distinction of “re-use”, “Total Copyright Transfer”, & “Work-For-Hire”, it’s likely that the client will be looking for a buy-out from the start on this kind of project (and may not even be considering any other option), but it would be good to pursue retaining copyright ownership in the contract if possible and attempt to restrict the use of the illustration (e.g. they can’t use it on the box and then go use it on t-shirts without paying more).

    Thanks for this..it's something I wanted to know more about..royalties and application of the art for other uses..
    The agency mentions that the budget is sort of tight as the client is only looking to sell this for kids for a three month period and I was specific about its usage being on the box and the instruction sheet and that additional usage would bear additional costs.

    True they would prefer a buyout but the budget isn't willing to move much at the moment..

    With this project, you might want to particularly consider cost & contractual points associated with any character development. If any characters are requested to be developed (specific characters and not generic ones), then it is possible that they may wish to use that character as a mascot (of sorts)

    Another interesting point to note! {thanks}

    But what happens when you are given the brief after the estimate is approved, the brief has no mention of any characters but just mentions the copy that would be used in the illustration.
    In this scenario, If I came up with two characters to create a story which were then used in further illustrations, would I be eligible for the costs of the character designs and bring it up, after the estimate is approved and the work has commenced?



  • @sensesis I'm glad you found it helpful!

    It always seems that "budgets are tight" doesn't it? ... sigh... :)

    I didn't realize that it was the agency commissioning you. Their contract with the client (if they have one) may provide additional parameters, but aside from that, I'm assuming that your contract is directly with the agency. Your parameters should carry through to the end client; however, the agency may not convey those terms to the end client...

    Regardless, it is good that the usage has been spoken of ("for a three month period" "on the box and the instruction sheet and that additional usage would bear additional costs"). The ideal is for this to be formally written and mutually agreed upon in a clear manner (as opposed to a verbal discussion).

    When I give estimates, I like to detail out what it covers and what it does not cover in a very clear & thorough manner.

    This was extremely necessary with web development projects, because I didn't want the client to assume that I was paying for hosting costs, or developing and/or paying for stock imagery costs, or writing the content (or paying for a writer), or paying for additional functional development, or developing more stuff just because they thought of more things they wanted to add deep into the project, etc. etc. etc.

    It's all about each party managing expectations.

    Currently, by the way you described it, you are probably somewhat covered by the literal imagery you are producing only to be used for 3 months on the box/booklet and for no other use; however, as I understand it, there is nothing stopping them from hiring some other illustrator to redraw the characters in other poses for continued use. Maybe there's a case against this, but I'm not a lawyer so I don't know. The best is to have it explicitly stated in the contract. Then you have something to go back to should there be a disagreement of work expected, usage of work/elements, etc.

    Per my view, the short answer would be: No, you probably cannot technically charge for character design in future illustrations without this having been agreed upon by both parties prior to the development of those characters. Currently, you'd be creating characters for the purpose of making the best illustration possible.

    BUT perhaps if you were the illustrator to do the next illustration work, you could then find a way to recoup these costs through some sort of line item(s) like "extended character development" or "character standards development", where you convince the agency/client that this is necessary for character continuity/consistency with ongoing projects due to their desire to keep using the specific character(s). Of course, this could get a little tricky with how you approach, convey, and negotiate this. If they don't have money now, chances are they won't have money then either.

    BTW, unless you have agreed to this, I would not hand over—in fact, I would not even show—orthos (front, side, back, angle) views of any characters nor facial expression exploration nor multiple pose exploration (other than that which is necessary to complete this particular illustration project).

    You can do those things if you want (knowing you won't be paid for them but just because you want to do them), but the moment you show them, the client will want them and then will have them for future character development, without having paid for them (it's just extra stuff for this project).

    Lastly, to be clear, these are all just my 2 cents. I'm no expert by any means and could be totally wrong. I just know how difficult it is to try and balance both "doing our creative thing" with the necessity of business engagement, and I wanted to share my current perspectives in hopes that they would help or generate a discussion here to help us all.

    ( ^ - ^ )



  • @sensesis One other thing: There is an illustrator whom we mutually follow one another on Instagram that does quite a bit of product packaging and has been doing it for a long time with major brands. We don't really know each other outside of being connected on social media; however, if he's not too busy and is willing to help, perhaps if you reached out to him he can provide some thoughts privately on billing & contracts for packaging work (his contact info is at the bottom of his site).

    kennyk.com
    Instagram.com/kennykiernanillustration/

    (If you do reach out and get a response, I'd love to hear what he has to say!)


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to SVS Forums was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.