Picasso, Paula Scher, and the lifetime behind every second 24 Aug 2006
34 comments Latest by okezi gift
A story from Charging By the Project or the Hour:
Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.
“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”
So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.
“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”
“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.
“B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”
To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”
Charging hourly vs. charging per project is always an interesting dilemma for designers/programmers who do client work. If you charge hourly and you solve problems quickly, you wind up being punished for your efficiency. But if you charge per project, you often face scope issues (i.e. endless revisions or changes in direction seem to become the norm).
[Fwiw, the article linked above offers this advice: “Charging by the hour is a good option for short-term projects with specific goals…When you’re offered a long-term project with clearly defined goals, you should charge by the project.”]
The designer version of the Picasso story usually involves a designer sketching out a brilliant logo on a napkin during a lunch meeting. If you’re looking for a real-life example, that’s pretty much what happened to Paula Scher; She walked into a meeting and, a few seconds later, sketched the new logo for Citibank.
No lengthy process, just the right solution. In this Adobe video profile of Scher, she offers an explanation similar to the one in the Picasso tale:
How can it be that you talk to someone and it’s done in a second? But it is done in a second. it’s done in a second and in 34 years, and every experience and every movie and every thing of my life that’s in my head.
The video’s worth a look. She talks about other work she’s done (including her incredibly detailed and very cool map paintings) and also offers her first reaction, after years of working solely with her hands, to designing on a computer:
The computer made me feel like my hands were cut off…You don’t type a design…The idea of doing this…[She taps in the air as if typing]…That’s not the right mode and it doesn’t smell right. It doesn’t smell like an art supply store. It smells like a car.