So this blog post has been on my mind for quite some time. As an artist, illustrator and all of the above, my DM's stay popping, and while I love it, an educational moment is needed. There is a certain etiquette that is expected and rightfully so. Let's keep in mind that we live in this age of texting and not too many face to face moments or even phone calls for that matter. Texts can be often misconstrued and tone is barely present, so it's important to get your point across as clearly as possible. But anyway, lets get down to business.
When contacting an artist, illustrator, small business owner etc., you want to make sure you are addressing them correctly. Here's some tips.
This seems so simple and an obvious thing right? There goes that tone again. A lot of people jump in the DM's with the infamous "How much is this?" "How you make this?" All you're missing is a nice hello. That hello goes a long way. It comes off as demanding when the question is just thrown out there so aggressively. Just say hi first, at least.
Use Your Peepers.
Most Small Business owners, artists that sell their work, even creatives that make YouTube intros (I know, random) have some type of website or portfolio, or at least they should (If you are a creative or small business owner and you don't have either, this is your sign to get a website or price list or something with your offerings and pricing). That website or portfolio link usually lives in their bio area, just like on Walmart, Target, StickerMule etc. ( the "big brands"). So before you slide in with questions like "How much is that shirt?", try checking their bio FIRST. Some questions can be answered by yourself. Now of course, this doesn't apply if said person has no links or info, go right ahead and ask your question and don't forget that greeting.
Consider their time.
Most small business owners/creatives still work 9-5's as well as managing family life while trying to make their dreams come true alongside their businesses. Some, like myself, are full time artists and small business owners. Either way, both types usually have busy schedules and cannot be accessible every second of the day. Just like any other business, there are usually business hours in place. It's important to consider these things when contacting someone and demanding an immediate response or unreasonable turnaround time. Just be considerate.
Have a budget in mind.
When you are contacting anyone, hopefully your mind isn't automatically screaming the word "free" (even though some of you do think everything should be free). With that being said, keep in mind everyone has their price. Some prices are set and some will negotiate with you but not all. This part is specifically for commission based artists and the like, have a budget in mind. This can eliminate a lot of extra conversation and run around. If you know you have a $200 budget for a logo, make sure you express that. The artist you are commissioning may not do logos in that price range or it may be the perfect budget. If that isn't in their range, they can easily point you in the direction of someone else or simply decline your project.
Bonus for Commissioning art or designs: Prepare yourself.
Do your homework. Artists are not mind readers. I know we like to pretend we are but we are not. You have to come with some type of idea or concept to work from. If you don't know what you want, chances are we don't either. Try to do a little soul searching and research before reaching out. It will save you both a lot of time.