Another day another dollar, or not so much. Not for the first time I find myself preparing design ideas for a pitch we have next week, a free pitch, unpaid design time, it's an oldie but a goldie. Conceptualising ideas is my favourite part of the design process, doing some research, pulling the ideas together, sketching up roughs, creating Photoshop mock ups, showing them off and waiting to see if you've got it right or wrong.
I love it, it's so exciting, yet it's the part of the process that often goes unpaid as more and more clients expect us to pitch our ideas and not to cover any of our costs, great if you win the job, a bit of a kick in the teef if you don't. So what should we do? I guess at the moment it's a choice that we've made, if a job is worth having and we have time to do the pitch we go the extra mile and do the designs, if it's just a small job we feel our folio is strong enough to showcase what we do so a potential client can make an informed choice about us without doing the designs.
I wonder if it's the same deal down in 'Laandan' or if they manage to get more money for their pitches? Is it only the big companies that get paid for pitching or do us little guys get a share of it too? Hmm, I'm sure I'm opening can of worms here but as it's what I'm doing today thought I may aswell blog about it!
Wish me luck in the pitch! Off to do some more research, happy weekend! :-D

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Comment by Ewan McIntosh on November 2, 2008 at 13:01
Research, putting pitches together and then making the displacement to put the idea forward is all part and parcel of getting the job, which when awarded should be invoiced at a realistic rate that subsumes the failed pitches of the past into the success that comes out for 'n' duds.

Thankfully, in 4iP we've made a huge effort in preparing the ground for pitches that, in the first instance, we're asking for relatively little - just the kernel. If we really like it and want the idea developed into something more akin to a prototype we'll more often than not pay you a dev grant to it up to scratch.

But in my previous life I had to make sure that I got the formula right between spending time pitching for work, marketing 'blindly' through the blog, website and other means, including F2F networking in all sorts of places around the world, and writing up (generally unpaid) pitches for specific events or projects. On the other hand is the time that's required to actually prepare for the people paying serious money for your services. When the balance is wrong, you end up doing both badly and, quelle surprise, you end up unemployed and unemployable.

So, in short, I guess I'm saying it's a balancing act. If your ideas are crisp, crunchy and to-the-point, then you needn't spend masses of time drawing up prototypes, mocks and working models. You can literally talk and maybe even sketch. You don't even need a PowerPoint.

I've loved the following books which offer pretty good advice for those who want to pitch well without wasting time on the unnecessary:
1. Back of the Napkin
http://www.thebackofthenapkin.com/

2. Presentation Zen
http://www.presentationzen.com/

Happy reading!

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