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  1. #1
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    To do a mockup or not

    Hi everyone

    I was wondering what your thoughts were on this. I have been asked a couple of times recently to do a mockup as part of my proposal to potential client.

    The first time I said no and didn't do one and the second time I said no, but did one any way. In both cases I didn't win the work. The first time because I misjudged the amount of time I spent discussing the technology (lesson learned: know who you are speaking to and what their objective is!) and the second time because they liked the other persons design better (though this time I think my technical solution was the stronger option). Both times I have been asked by an intermediary - not the end client.

    My issue with doing a mockup is that the design process is so iterative and design is quite a personal thing so doing it without a proper design brief is never going to produce a result that they will be really happy with. The problem is though, that I don't want to lose the business because I didn't do one (hence the reason why I ended up doing one for the second proposal). If I had realised though, that the decision was going to be purely a beauty contest rather than solution and content I probably wouldn't have done one. Any way, enough rambling, I was just wondering what other people's thoughts and experiences were on this.

    Thanks, Julie
    Last edited by juliehall; Oct 15, 2007 at 05:25. Reason: speller

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juliehall View Post
    If I had realized though, that the decision was going to be purely a beauty contest rather than solution and content I probably wouldn't have done one.
    That's what 99% of speculative work boils down to, a beauty contest. It's better to stick to your guns and let the work pass.

    There's an interesting read on it here.
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
    Singapore Web Designer

  3. #3
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    Mmm, thanks for that, it is an interesting article and just confirms what I already thought. I am interested in other peoples experiences with this as well.

    Julie

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
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    I definitely wouldn't be doing any design work for anyone unless it was already agreed that I had the job and not before discussions about the site, its content, structure, audience etc.

  5. #5
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    Do you think you can bypass the middleman and really ask for the one on top of the whole thing? It would be easier to know what they want. You could even put up an argument for your design.

    Here's a interesting article in clinching the deal or whether your time is worth the mock-up waltz. It made some sense
    http://www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/proposal.htm

  6. #6
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    You could always suggest a small deposit for a simple mockup. If they don't want to produce at least that, your chances of getting the job might not have been good anyway.

  7. #7
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    In several threads here, it seems the consensus has been to not do work on spec. Prospects should be able to discern your style from work you present in your portfolio.

    Because I mostly write for a living, I never do spec work. Once it's in the client's hands, the work is unprotected. As a designer, you can water mark your work but watermarks can easily be eliminated using any good graphics program, so as a designer your work is just as unprotected as mine.

    Moreover, as mentioned above, clients who want spec work are generally just interested in judging a "beauty contest" (nice phrase!). Let them hold contests if they want to see a bunch of work on spec.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  8. #8
    Always have a backup plan! failsafe's Avatar
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    You might be interested in this post on the Design Integrity vs. Client Will thread. Once on the post, click on the link on the upper right to read the rest of the posts.

    Cheers.
    "We're all mad here." Cheshire Cat—Alice in Wonderland, 1865
    ________________________________________________________________

    Graphic Design • Web Development • Writing and Voice Services

  9. #9
    SitePoint Evangelist dev_cw's Avatar
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    We do not provide mock-ups. We used to offer them to large clients but no longer do this. Now if you are a beginner and don't have a portfolio than it may be needed.
    "You can just hang outside in the sun all day tossing a ball around...
    Or you can sit at your computer and do something that matters."
    - Cartman

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    A simple 'no' will usually suffice - ultimately, only amateurs with no portfolio provide such things, and typically only clueless, disrespectful prospects push heavy for them. I've lost track of the number of meetings I've attended where the propsect has pulled out a design concept and said:

    'Another company did this mockup for us in their proposal - they're quote was too expensive, but we love this design. If we give you this job, could you copy this design for us?'

  11. #11
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    Mock-ups should never just be given to a client, they should be presented. If you have the ability to present your work then there is greater chance that you can explain why you have done things in certain ways - then lead into solutions and content. Where as if your client just requests visuals with out offering the chance to present, then yes its just a beauty contest because they only thing that will happen is that your design will be compared to all the others - best looking one wins.

    So if you can't preesnt, you need to ask can I win the beauty contest or do I even want to enter?

    Edit: Oh I have never just give mock-ups, I feel that it is unprofessional.

    Si

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowbox View Post
    'Another company did this mockup for us in their proposal - they're quote was too expensive, but we love this design. If we give you this job, could you copy this design for us?'
    Intellectual copyright stays with the designer/design agency unless the client pays for it, so if they take your designs and give it to someone else to copy. Then sure you must have a very strong case for plagiarism or copyright infringement???

    Si

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowbox View Post
    A simple 'no' will usually suffice - ultimately, only amateurs with no portfolio provide such things, and typically only clueless, disrespectful prospects push heavy for them.
    When I was starting out freelancing I submitted a few mock-ups, mainly because I had no portfolio. But I don't remember winning any jobs. The closest I got was 'We like your design but the other guy can do it for $(x minus a lot). If you do it for $(x minus a lesser) then we'll go with you'.
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
    Singapore Web Designer

  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by si@ld View Post
    Intellectual copyright stays with the designer/design agency unless the client pays for it, so if they take your designs and give it to someone else to copy. Then sure you must have a very strong case for plagiarism or copyright infringement???
    Strong case? Not necessarily. The is another problem with free mockups - where's the contract that helps define copyright issues? IANAL - but if you are going to do this, make sure you have the prospect agree (in writing) to not use them without suitable payment to you. It's messy and also worth noting that in reality, your average newbie web designer is hardly in a financial position to start taking people to court.

    Obviously if you are offered someone else's mockup to 'copy', you should say 'no way'

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowbox View Post
    It's messy and also worth noting that in reality, your average newbie web designer is hardly in a financial position to start taking people to court.
    More likely a mud-slinging campaign in a forum or blog.
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
    Singapore Web Designer

  16. #16
    SitePoint Guru dojo's Avatar
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    Mockups are the first step I make for their site. AFTER they paid 50% of the total price. I don't even start my PC if they don't give me money. I don't do "contests" like this. I meet with a client and present my stuff. If they accept, it's OK. If not .. next.

  17. #17
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    Contests are just another way to get a host of personalized ideas for free if their current designer is lacking in the department upstairs. I mainly work with graphics and when I was starting out did provide mock ups to start off the portfolio. I've maybe provided 10 mock ups in about 5 years for major clients. I will not do this now though as some of the guys have pointed out, they will just take your idea and find someone who will bring the cost of web design to rock bottom and just copy it.

    Always watermark your work if you have to send out samples, but your portfolio should speak for itself.


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