I Rarely Do Design Work Anymore

If you’ve contacted me regarding design work in the past 6 months, you’ve probably gotten a reply similar to this:

I rarely do design jobs these days, unless the client has a clear understanding that it’s very difficult to do accurate estimates for design work.

The time spent and resulting cost depends on how much you like the design, how many iterations we go through and how much detail is put into each element and piece of functionality in the site, etc.

I’d be happy to work on your project, but I really can’t give you more than a rather broad estimate; and I certainly understand if you don’t want to hire me because of this.

I hope this makes sense.

When doing design work, the project goes over the original estimate fairly often (mostly due to scope creep), and often the client doesn’t notice the expanding scope on a design job the way they do on a a more functionality focused development job. The client isn’t happy paying more than they expected, and I feel guilty for not doing a better job with my estimates – regardless of the actual reason for the overage.

Instead of design work, I’ve been doing functionality development gigs (when I’ve been accepting work). These often have a design component, but they are based on creating certain functionality, which is much easier for me to create a project plan and associated estimate.

Does anyone out there still do a lot of design work? How do you handle this?