I’m a Professional Designer, Welcome To My Cardboard Box

This writer’s on the road today, having stopped somewhere in a town called Metropolis, Illinois on the Kentucky border, which, yes, has “the world’s only 16 foot statue of Superman” downtown (and that’s about it), so we’ll keep this one short. “Designers Are Poor” is a great read in Icon magazine about a problem likely most of us face: a sufficient lack of money. It’s true, a lot of designers, largely freelance ones, lead frustrating existences dealing with difficult clients who offer up “maybe we’ll pay, maybe we won’t” contracts and then usually take their time in paying out. It’s all about furniture design, specifically, but it is a very good “we feel your pain”-in-a-general-sense essay. Here’s some:

London-based furniture designer Taylor developed his Fold lamp independently before the design was licensed by new British furniture brand Established & Sons. He is still waiting for his first royalty cheque. “This time last year I was thinking that the royalty from the lamps and from the E&Y chair would start to come through, and I could start to think about paying myself another $100-200 per month.”

Established & Sons also has “generally royalty-based” agreements, which vary according to the designer involved. Director Mark Noble says: “Often an intense and expensive period of development is required prior to that product reaching the stores, and that is our commitment to the product and the designer. We have a payment system in place which reflects this, is fair to both parties and inevitably lucrative for our designers.”