Working Relationships

The working relationship for both illustrator and the design company is an important one and much of the success in any collaboration relies on a level of trust between both parties. For the designer commissioning the illustrator, he or she must feel confident that the work is delivered within the deadline and is of a standard that matches previous work in the artist's portfolio. The illustrator must trust that the designer will use his work in a respectful and professional way; not running type over an image or cropping, or cutting off the sides of the artwork without prior consultation.

Working relationships can take time to build, but the key to ensuring a project runs successfully and smoothly lies in open lines of communication; regular conversations on the phone or via email to update the designer on how the illustration is taking shape can be very useful.

It is wise, when working for a new client, to build into the schedule an extra stage to show the artwork in progress. This stage sits between the viewing of the visuals and the artwork and can be used to ensure that all elements within the image are present and correct. Some illustrators produce a black-and-white line version of their intended artwork to help the designer visualise how the final illustration will look.

Contracts and Purchase Orders

To ensure that both parties fully understand the process of the commission, it can be useful for a contract or purchase order to be issued by the design company to the illustrator. Incorporated into the contract must be a description of the job itself, the fee. and specified deadline for submission of the work, as well as payment terms and conditions.

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Independent graphic design studios and companies far outnumber the specialist advertising agencies or publishing companies and are a rich source of work for the illustrator.

Unfortunately not every company adheres to the principle of the contract or purchase order and practice across the industry varies. It is rare, for example, for a magazine in the UK to issue a purchase order, but standard practice for a similar company in the US. The purchase order, or PO. exists to protect both the client and illustrator, a signed PO ensures that the artist can invoice for the fee agreed at the start of the job and that is documented on the paperwork. This method avoids the need to rely on word-of-mouth or vague recollection of the details of any discussion, and is usefut for commissions that may run into weeks or even months. Good practice means that an accounts department will not have to seek authorisation to make a payment after the invoice has arrived if a contract or PO number is quoted on the invoice. See examples of these on p.168-171, The contract and the PO are really ways of standardising written agreements, If the company does not have templates for these available, ask for the agreement in writing as a formality.

1. Promotional campaign Maddie - Nike Finish-line Nike 2005

Vault ¿9 with Cinco Design, 2005

Vault ¿9, based in New York, collaborated with Clnco Design, in Portland Oregon, home to the global headquarters of Nike, to create a promotional campaign for the sportswear manufacturers. Combining photography and drawn hand-rendered illustration, the images define an aspirational and fresh look for Maddie, a range of female attire.

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1. Character development Alpha and Bravo - Skyflyers British Airways

Tado for Fitch International, 2004

Tado working with Fitch International, re-branded the British Airways' 'Sky-Flyers' children's club. Tado. Mike Doney and Katie Tang, created the two characters Alpha and Bravo, which Fitch International then utilised extensively throughout branding, merchandise and marketing in print and on-line. Life-sized mascots of the characters were also created for promotional events,

The Collaborative Illustrator

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