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Designing for Friends

It always gets tricky as a designer when family members or friends expect free design work from you. If a designer gave free work to every friend they had, they would never make a dime. This being said, as professionals we need to stand by our prices and be firm about the quality services we are providing. Respecting your business will make others respect it as well.

This isn’t to say that every now and again you can’t be generous, and give the gift of your design. The difference is when the free work comes from the artist’s willingness, not a friend’s feeling of entitlement.

This week, my childhood best friend got married, and in preparation I had offered to create a wedding suite design as part of my wedding gift for her. The suite included save-the-dates, invitations, thank you cards, and all the works. What made this gift so special was the investment of time I had put into the suite.

I’ve always believed work made by hand comes from the heart and shows you made an effort. In respecting a designer’s time and skill as valuable, free gifts like these are worth much more than readily available and expected freebies.

Here is invitation design from the fall wedding suite:


  1. Jie Zheng wrote:

    I can relate to this and I’m sure a lot of student designers too! There’s a point where you’re designing for experience or just working for free. But the wedding invitations turned out lovely and definitely a great personalized gift!

    Friday, October 13, 2017 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
  2. Jose Palmer wrote:

    I completely agree with this blog post. I run into the same problems of friends and or family wanting designs done for dirt cheap or even free. I have learned in my experience that being overly generous can lead to being taken advantage of, which shouldn’t happen to anybody.

    Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink
  3. Catherine Velez wrote:

    My brother (a musician) and I get the same problem of a family member trying to have us do work for them for free or low pay. Once we had a sit down conversation listing reasons why we can’t do all jobs for her for free or super cheap, she understand better. It’s a very nice gesture to give your designs as gift, but its not reasonable to do it all the time for someone just because they’re family or a friend.

    Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink