With in the last year I’ve noticed a spike in Junkprints collaboration inquiries. In one way this is awesome, because it means that I am making stuff that others want to be apart of and have hopes of contributing. I can definitely appreciate that. Sadly, more often than not these so called collaborations are request to do some form of what I do for junkprints for another line, company or individual. In this case, the request is not actually ‘collaboration’ it’s a request for a donated commission (a.k.a. a favor).
A perfect collaboration should result in something new and valuable to all parties involved. I’ve done a few of those and they are amazing. So I decided create a list of Rules of Engagement based off what I’ve learned from those and the bad ‘collaborations’.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT:
The terms must be clear. What do you want and what do you want from me? How long do you propose this would take? what would be the final outcome, etc. If you are requesting to ‘collab’. You should have clarity for what you’re seeking. We’re all busy bees. If you are unsure what you want to it wastes my time and your time.
Two companies that offer the same thing don’t generally make good collaborators. For example: ‘Hi I’m a tee shirt designer/illustrator/graphic designer, I’d love to collaborate on some tees with Junkprints’ This translates to: ‘Hi, I want to do what you do, and would like to cross into your market, utilize your manufacturing resources and will you work on some tees for free for me so that I can brag about it (and you can brag about it too) and we can share the success.’ Well all that is fine and dandy, but unless you have a substantial larger audience than I do then what’s in it for me?
Keep it classy (that word is funny to me, but it does apply) Don’t hit up the person you would like to collaborate with in a public social network. i.e, a tweet of facebook wall. I know it seems easy and direct, but can you really convince someone of your worth as far as collaborating in less than 140 characters? You are tying your own hands. Do some research get the persons email address, figure out a good time to call them and state your proposal. If you don’t hear back from them follow up…let me tell ya barely anyone follows up, you’d be amazed at the results persistence and consistency yields.
If while you are figuring out what you want from the person/company that you want to collaborate with and you discover that you have nothing to offer towards the collaboration besides ‘talent’ then you are looking to commission work from them and you should be prepared to pay for this commission in some form or another.
Keep in mind that requesting a collaboration is a bit like courting. Be creative, clear, honest and confident about you can bring to the table. Make your services/resources of value to the person/company you wish to collaborate.
Featured picture: Robbed Tee by Junkprints available on Junkprints.com