Good, Cheap, and Fast – Choose one

Don’t expect to get a masterpiece for $5, and if you do, it probably is going to take 10 years to actually get it.

Great advice for your clients

You’re not superman

You only get to have 2 at a time. If you take a look at the Venn diagram used to illustrate the concept of good, cheap, and fast, you would discover a few interesting facts. First of all pick two. ONLY 2! You cannot expect to get good creative work that is cheap, and fast. Talent costs money. Every project has a designer who needs food. If they are a professional, they have options on what to work on. Typically they are fast but not cheap. Pick 2. Expect good and expensive, or crappy, fast and cheap. If you want fast and good, you’re going to pay. Fast and cheap will certainly get you what you pay for. Its a rule. Cheap and good, is only going to happen if your sister happens to be an up and coming prodigy designer trying to build a portfolio. Just in case you are working with a relative, check this article out about working with creatives.

Consider this variation from filmmaker Jennifer Kes Remington:

“Certainly, there is compromise to be made when conditions are set out for any list. For instance, good and fast may be necessary because of time constraints, but it will be more expensive, while getting good and cheap will take more time.”

Remember, Good and Fast costs money. Fast and Cheap equals crappy work. Cheap and Good will take years. Its a triangle. This is a good and honest depiction of the realities of creative work of any kind, whether you work as a video production house in Dallas, a cinematographer in Fort Worth, or a website design professional for a company in Texas.

However, you need to ask yourself which of the three factors you are most comfortable eliminating from the equation. You have to base your pricing and your client’s expectations around some realities. As an example, not all of your time working as a creative is going to be spent actually doing the work – there is always thinking, too.

Whether you call it development, design, creative problem solving, collaboration, or anything else, it is not time spent, its not fast and your time isn’t cheap. So go pick 2, and pick only 2. Its a triangle. Matt Thompson in creating the product that has been purchased or hired is fast, really fast, but he’s expensive. This is part of production, and even when the client has decided they want fast and cheap, there still needs to be consideration around the need for this “thinking” time. Marjorie!!!

Please choose only one

In reality any business owner that has a store, they iron out prices, it’s true, you will always need to choose what part of the equation is not a good fit to your goals. For designers, the photos or music might not be shipping, but don’t give up the expression of your life as gifts to those without talent. It’s worth something. That’s the truth. Charge what its worth. If you emphasize high quality production, eliminate cheap of the good, cheap, or fast.. The good news is that the choice is yours, and will allow you to make the most beautiful, inspiring, and the highest quality work.

Rarely the constraint of money should stop you, pick good and fast.

Why pay for creative work

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