Read my previous piece about Prices, Formats, and Markets.
This post is going to cover some of the business decisions I have made for my Design to Sell project.
Getting my poster printed
I have to check printing services regularly for my professional work, and have previously used the company Mixam for magazines, posters and flyers, because their products are a good price and quality, and they have a quick turnaround. I chose to use them again for this project.
I chose to order 100 colour A3 posters in silk with a paper thickness of 170gsm so that they were of good quality that would be hard to rip. I ordered them flat (not folded) planning to roll and wrap them myself.
Mixam has certain specifications that they want for uploaded artwork. For my upload to print at its best quality, my file needed to be in pdf format, at 300dpi, in the correct size including a 3mm bleed and a 5mm “quiet zone” all around. Below is how that setup looks in Photoshop.
I put in my order to the correct specification and followed the (simple) on-screen instructions to verify everything and then pay.
Setting a price for my posters
I went through several steps to set my price. First I worked out my costs, including my time as an illustrator and the printing and materials costs, as well as a budget for display and wrapping of my product and a 10% contingency budget, then I worked out what I needed to charge per item to break even.
I then researched to see what the price was for A3 posters. I found there were three main price brackets – some types of A3 posters (for example, recent film or game posters) were usually on sale for around £2-3; posters for vintage movies or albums were a little more expensive, at approximately £5-8; rare cult movie posters and art posters (showing work by famous artists) were around £8-12. As I do not have a market yet for my work and am not well-known, I thought my work must fit into the lower price bracket.
Lastly, after my poster had arrived I asked my friends and family how much they thought my poster should be priced at, based on the quality of the poster and my artwork. Here are my results: 50% said £3-4; 36% said £5; 14% said over £5 (up to £10). No one suggested anything outside of this range.
I set my price accordingly taking into account all of the above. I may put the price up slightly in the future but as an introductory price I set it at £3.
Setting up my display
Although I know that a lot of people put posters directly on their walls with blu tack, I wanted to show that my illustration is a good quality piece of art that looks attractive framed. So the first thing I bought was a suitable frame. Unfortunately the frame didn’t stand up well on its own so I used my tabletop easel to hold it. I think that this worked out because it emphasises that my poster is a piece of art, even though it is affordable art.
I did look at postal tubes to pack my posters in but they were quite expensive, so I chose to instead buy plastic wrap from the flower arranging section of an arts and crafts shop, and I rolled and wrapped my posters with gold tape to keep them secure and be decorative. I did think about using tissue paper instead of plastic to be more environmentally friendly but again the cost was higher, and the weather has been really rainy recently – I didn’t want anyone’s poster to get wet on the way home! I put a sticker on every roll with my contact details on so that people can add me on social media and contact me if they are interested in working with me.
I bought a vase to hold the poster rolls and chose one that was good value. I wanted my display to be interesting and also refer to my design, so I purchased some artificial narcissus flowers and made them into a bunch, I also bought a real pomegranate fruit. I couldn’t buy as many decorations as I wanted with my budget, but even though my display is simple it still has a theme and I think it does look interesting and appealing. I think that this actually worked out as too many decorations would have detracted from the poster itself.
To finish my display I wanted to tell the story of Persephone in a short and straightforward way to draw people in and give context to my illustration. I included a small image of my design just in case the lighting created glare on the glass of the frame, so that people could still see the whole image. I printed this out, and laid it on the table where people could read it. I did see several people stop to read my piece so this did work to attract attention.