I was lucky enough to pick up Eye Magazine #72, with an interview with the illustrious Marian Bantjes. Her work is so inspiring for me because of the complexity, amount of time spent on each piece, and obsession with the smallest details.
How do you charge clients for your work?
‘People often ask me for a quote, and I tell them: Pay me as much as you possibly can. I think that’s fair… If they want something really great from me, dig to the bottom of the money barrel, give me the number that hurts, but is still doable, be nice to me, trust me, and I’ll be nice back, and we’ll have a great relationship and do some great work.’
So you turn work down?
‘A couple of times I have had to, because the copy was so bad: a very good agency came to me with a brand I consume and like, but their copy was so corny… I sat there and looked at it, and felt dead. I knew I couldn’t work with these words, but I didn’t know what to do. Finally I wrote back and said, I’m really sorry you will probably hate me, but this is the lamest copy I’ve ever read. The only thing that would work for this is if you put this in a speech bubble coming out of the mouth of a cartoon cow. They were very good about it, and they are still speaking to me, so far.’ Eye Magazine #72
Bantjes definitely has a unique perspective on the designer/client relationship – earned with incredibly hard work. It’s amazing that she can have such a fabulous career while living in the middle of the wilderness on an island off Vancouver, while I’m stuck in the middle of the busiest metropolitan area on Earth. That is probably the biggest benefit of our internet-connection obsessed world. Just a small garden, that’s all I wish for right now…