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Sunday, April 12, 2009


Hi Maggie,
I think it's fabulous -- the rundown especially. It is maddening, isn't it? I find it's so much easier to throw up my hands and say whatever, it's your thing -- and more often than not they'll come back to the original suggestion and chirp "well you're the expert", to which I say yes, you should have listened to me. Unfortunately it creates a certain degree of apathy because you just want it to be done.
I will say that your best bet is to charge per round of proofs. And maybe produce the digitals before delving into handset type. If clients want to see a handset proof add $100 to their bill.
Unrelated but I love that your guy is in a bluegrass band -- we've got mandolins and whatnot here but my husband is more of a guitar player. Still if you're ever in Portland, ME may I recommend you find out where the Jerks of Grass are playing.

As for the Jerks, wow I've just looked up their online presence and the recordings are terrible, flat, ho-hum. Sounds like a bunch of kids with braces in a garage. So don't take the endorsement by what you hear on the internets, they are excellent musicians live.

Ah, bluegrass is excellent. I play guitar myself, most anything but especially folk, and especially Bob Dylan. At least I call it playing. Jezebel doesn't seem to mind. Much.

I've heard wedding invitations are both the most lucrative jobs as well as the most frustrating. I think Elisabeth is absolutely right, you should get paid for every bit of work you do.

At my real job as a cabinetmaker we have clients sign a design retainer and pay a fee based on the high end of how much time is involved with designing an average job. That covers your time and expenses and also allows the client to back out before signing the main contract for the work. If they're not willing to sign and pay for a retainer they aren't very serious about spending the amount that the final job will probably cost so you're better off not doing any work for them. They need to show an equal level of initial commitment to yours. Your design and re-design, and re-re-design, proofs, etc. is your commitment and the design retainer is theirs.

From all the horror stories I've heard, and I'll include yours as well, except as a gift for a friend or relative I wouldn't do any weddings without a full payment structure. Otherwise it just doesn't seem worth the time and frustration, especially if it's not a source of primary income.

Personally, I like the one in the second photo, lower right.


Wow, thanks for the advice, both of you. I'm having such a hard time figuring out what to charge for work (this is why I only do gratis projects for friends so far), so these tips really are useful.

As more people find out I do letterpress printing, I'm having more potential (paying) jobs fall into my lap. I feel that I better either figure out a pricing structure or decide not to print for money (I won't say profit!). I'm really of two minds on it.

Yes! So many bluegrass fans! Glendon plays fiddle and John plays banjo, but the band is 11 people total, so it's quite a show. If you're ever in NYC, they're really worth checking out (www.MShanghaiStringBand.com - there I've plugged them). Now that I've given their website, I have to agree with Elisabeth and add that I'm not sure bluegrass, or any music that's really meant to be heard live, can ever sound as good recorded - energy-wise at least. I do hope that Dylan's the exception since I wasn't able to hear him in his heyday!

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