Read on for a longer explanation. But first a joke:
A man walks into a pub and says to the barman. “I see you have three types of beer on tap. But I’m not sure which one I want. So please give me a half pint of each and I’ll buy a pint of the one I like best.”
What do you think the barman will say?
This is bidding.
Potential clients sometimes say to us:
“We’re seeing a number of designers and to check we’re on the right page we want to see designs before we award the project.” or “We don’t want finished designs just a glimpse. Don’t spend too long on it.”
or “Our boss will only decide based on seeing the designs.”
Clients never say: “We want you to work for free.” But that is what they are asking.
Here’s a video about speculative work and
It’s The Wrong Approach
For The Client Despite claims to the contrary, usually the only deciding factor on who wins a project are the initial designs. For example, a client will get three bidding designs, stick them on the wall and the boss (who has probably never met with any of the studios) will say which one she likes the best and that studio gets the project.
Design is an iterative process of feedback/revision. Sometimes it’s a long road to the final design. The chances of getting it “right” first time are close to zero. Choosing a designer based on initial submitted designs does not take serveral important things into consideration and so will probably be the wrong decision. Things that should be taken into consideration include past track record, the people involved and ease of communication.
It’s The Wrong Approach For The Studio
We’re a busy little studio. All of our time is spent producing our best work for clients. The only work that goes out of our door is the best work we can do. If we were to produce work as part of a bid it would not be our best work due to lack of time. The designs would not be representative of what we could do given time and funding. So any decisions based on those designs would be wrong. We also find the process rather demoralising since all the time and effort that goes into bids is usually wasted. We have a very extensive portfolio of past work - that is what we wish to be judged on. We’re happy to meet potential clients, show our past work, discuss projects and what we can do to help - leading to detailed and timely quotes.