Michelle and I have spent more years collectively developing products and brands than most millennials have been on this earth. Way back when I worked at an ad agency we actually did almost everything with a pencil/pen, an exacto and spray glue. When it came to creating our logo, we had our ‘wordmark’ but we wanted a visual that was unique and had impact. Oh, it also had to be something no one else would have. We knew we were going to have to go old school on this and hire an artist who would be willing to take pen to paper to realize our vision.
Since the foundry’s name is Rare Bird, we of course wanted to find a ‘rare bird’ that could represent our brand. After many weeks of research we came across a stunningly beautiful bird, the Artic Gryfalcon, the largest of the falcon species and we knew immediately this was the one. The Gryfalcon is awesome in scale, a gorgeous snowy off white with mind numbling beautiful markings in deep black or brown. We felt the bird had an incredibly regal presence and a natural elegance, and we wanted to convey that with the artwork.
There are a lot of ways to find an artist, you can search Instagram, we did do that for one of our branding clients and were extremely happy with the results. For our project we chose a talented artist via word of mouth (don’t be afraid to ask around). The only problem was she rarely took on commissions. Once we had her in mind, no other artist would do and luckily Michelle persuaded her to work on the project and what she produced was more than we could have asked for, it was perfection.
Quick tips on how-to work with an artist to create a custom commission:
- Once you have chosen an artist, and feel their style matches your vision, reach out to see if they do custom work (if it’s not already mentioned on their site).
- If the artist does take commissions, ask for a quote for your project and timeline ie. logo
- Most custom commissions are not inexpensive, if you go this route you may want to consider if this is an investment that you think will be worth it for your company. A 2 inch logo, can be anywhere in the 2k-5k range.
- Once we got our quote we wrote out in-house what deliverables we expected and were very firm on timeline.We submitted that for our contract. You will want to be very, very clear on deliverables and timeline.
- Include a very detailed inspo board, think about everything you want in your finished piece, don’t assume the artist can read your mind. Most artists only offer 3 revisions and after that charge an additional fee. Our inspo board included images of the rare Gryfalcon, we made special note to add there could be no copying of a photograph, it had to be our own bird. We gave direction on even the stance of the bird (yes, the more specific the better). Our list was concise but clear.
- When you receive artwork back for review, remember that the revisions are not unlimited, so be very specific on what edits you need made.
- Hopefully, by your 3rd revision you should be feeling a bit over the moon and that your chosen artist is a genius.
- Our final artwork was delivered via a physical clayboard and we scanned in ourselves at a high resolution, cleaned up with our Lettering Rx Photoshop action set and because we had a high enough resolution for web and in-house print projects we did not vectorize.
And that my friends is how we work with artists to create commissioned pieces for our branding projects. If you have any questions, or want to add to the conversation, leave us a note in the comments!
Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog.