Commission Work for Vietnamese Pop-Up Menu

A few months ago, I received an inquiry from a Vietnamese fellow to design a menu. He wrote:

Hi Donny –

Recently I’ve been more interested in my Vietnamese roots learning more about the language, food, and culture and I came across your Vietnamese Typography book. I’m a huge fan of typography and love what you’ve done here.

I’m a chef and am planning out my first pop-up and am wondering if you would be interested in designing a simple menu and/or business card for me.

I really love some of the fonts in your type recommendations here and would like to incorporate one of the fonts.

I want something relatively simple. Can talk more about it if this is something you’re interested in doing.

Please let me know!

Best,
A

It sounded like a fun little project. I replied:

Hello A,

Thanks for reading my book and reaching out to me. Sure, I can design a menu and a business card for you. Since I have collected a handful of typefaces Vietnamese support, I might as well put them to good use.

Do you have a logo already? Once you gather all the content for the menu and/or business card, let me know.

Regards,
Donny

A responded:

Perfect.

I don’t have a logo yet so this is something I would like as well. I’m more interested in the menu for now and I can gather all the content for you in a week or so.

In regards to pricing—I want to get a good idea of what to expect. For something of around the same complexity as the menu I showed you in my prior email + creating a logo for me—what should I expect for this to cost (rough estimate is fine)?

Best,
A

I gave a few options. The prices were fair, but he said they were too expensive. I asked him for the budget:

Hi A,

How much do you want to spend? If you don’t mind letting me know, we can work within your budget. We can focus on the menu and not spend too much on the logo, but I will come up with a word mark for you to use. If you would like it you can keep it or if you would like to revisit the branding later, we can do so.

Regards,
Donny Truong

A responded:

Donny,

Because I am doing this as a first pop-up event and donating some of the profits—I am not looking to spend over $100 for menu creation. I envision this is something I would be more willing to spend in the future though.

I think your work is really great and you should be compensated for the value of your work, so I don’t want to undermine your work by offering such a low price.

But if you are still interested, that would be great for me. Otherwise, I can circle back to you in the future.

Best,
A

$100? Of course, I took the job:

Hi A,

Thanks for letting me know and the budget is understandable. Yes, do circle back when you are ready in the future.

I wish you all the best with your first pop-up event.

Regards,
Donny Truong

Just kidding! Of course, I didn’t take it.

Bonjour Vietnam