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How to: CSS Commissions

Fri Jan 17, 2014, 4:00 AM
Since it is possible to customize your journals and galleries a lot of commissions have been done. While it usually is a rather simple business, there are some things both sides always should keep in mind. This helps to avoid misunderstandings as well as trouble.
And usually it makes it more relaxed to pay someone else or to accept requests by others.

In the article I will refer to client and to service provider.
client = person who requests a CSS skin
service provider = person who designs/codes the CSS skin

While the article will only focus on CSS commissions most of the things mentioned here fit to other kind of commissions as well

Do you know what you want?

No matter what you are doing, it is always helpful to know what you want before you get started with anything at all. Even when people say "I really don't have an idea", they have most of the time though. It might be only very vague, but it's there. And it could drive the client as well as the service provider crazy if a result is not very pleasant.

As a client - especially when you are going to spent money - you should always be aware of what you want for your money or points. If you have enough of that and don't really care about spending it, well that's another story, but in any other case think about it.
  • Should it be only a design, do you want the code only or are you are looking for a working skin?
  • Should it be something simple or full of fancy features?
  • The colors and fonts are important as well.
  • And images. Do you have some the service provider could and should use, do they have to create them especially for this skin or should they be bought from a stock site?

But Anne, Ireally have NO idea what I want. I just know that I would like a nice skin for my journal or gallery. Well... in that case you need to find someone you think could come up with something that fits you on their own. But more about that later.

So while this just covers what you should keep in mind as a client, you should also think about what you want as a service provider.
  • Do you just design?
  • Just code?
  • Or do you offer both?
  • How about journals and galleries?
  • Again: both or just one of the two?

As a service provider you don't ask yourself what kind of result you want, but what kind of client.

Your skills already limit the clients you will reach out for automatically, but beside that you also should be clear of what else would be important. Do you want people that pay lots but demand less or are you fine with people paying less but asking for a lot?
Are you looking for mass processing to easily get more money / points or are you more focused on quality work, even if that means you will have to decline projects or only get a few requests?

No matter what side you are on, no matter what your 'goal' is, make sure you know that. Questions about money/points might sound greedy at first, but in the end it is what makes this thing work.
Money demands good work and good work demands money.

Personally I am looking for interesting projects were my prices are respected as well. That means I don't reach out for people who throw a few points at me and expect to get a journal and gallery skin with a lots of features in return.

Sounds wrong to you? Then you should really consider the time you spent for creating something. Again it's a matter of your skills and the quality you provide.

Provider ListThis list should help you to find deviants who are willing to either do requests for free or will create you a personal skin as a commission.
If you are available for commissions or request as well, send us a note or leave a comment with the details (see below) and you will be added!
- - -
Open for Commissions
Nesmaty; details:
ginkgografix, details:
GillianIvy; details: currently closed will return TBD
CypherVisor; details: note him
bradleysays; details:
xReiichiru; details:
Hairac; details:
Drake1; details:
helikelong; details:
SilverPixiGirl; details: Note her
SimplySilent; details: http://simplysilent.deviantart.

Do you know what you want to earn/spend?

Oh yes, money/points again.

As a client you either have an endless fund you can buy things from or you are limited to what you can spent. Never expect anyone who has set prices to lower them for you just because you don't have enough money or points. It's just rude. If the service providers offers this on their own, it's all fine.
And it's also ok to ask, if it would be possible to lower the costs, maybe by reducing the features the result will have, but again don't expect it to happen. If they say no, accept it.

So either wait until you have enough money or points to be able to commission the service provider you have favoured or search for another one, who might offers a similar service but for less.

On the other hand, as a service provider, you should make sure that you know what you expect to be paid for certain services. Don't be too shy to ask for a lot when you offer a lot, but make sure that you are able to really provide what you promise that way.
If you go for higher prices your result should be without flaws. In case you are still learning it is more safe to start small and admit that there might be flaws, rather than doing the opposite.

Once client and service provider have agreed on a price for a certain service it shouldn't be discussed anymore - unless the clients offers more or the service providers lowers the costs on their own.

Also when done with the project accept it as such. As a client don't ask for additional changes again and again, like when dA made an update and features don't work right anymore.
Paying once doesn't mean the service provider is bound to you for the rest of their life. It was a one time service. For anything that follows you have to find a new agreement.

On the other hand as a service provider you should fix bugs that come up right after handing out a design or coded skin. That should be an essential part of your service.

Here is an article about commission prices. Yyou need to decide on your own how much applies to you or not though.
Commission - Approach and Pricing GuideDo you do commission work? Do you have trouble to get customers in order to buy commissions from you? Or Are you in a dilemma to set your own "competitive" commission price?
If your answer is "yes" to any of the above questions then you are at the right place! Today, I'll tell you (or at least give you a better idea) how to start up with your commission work and setting up the right price.
A little introduction about myself: I am a hobby-driven artist who mainly deals with CSS coding and graphics designing (now) in deviantART. As a profession I am currently employed as an online marketing professional who looks after two leading online gaming brands. I like to help people customize their pages and support them to be a better artist in deviantART.
Having given my short introduction let us first understand that why most of us face a lot of trouble to get commission work or worst, to set up the "right" price for their service.
To my surprise, in a

You found a good service provider, are fine with their prices and what now?

First of all, get into contact with them. Even though there is a commission widget or any other place with such information it doesn't mean that it is still up to date. It could be an outdated remnant of the past the service provider just forget about.

Note them, send a mail, leave a comment - whatever works for you. Even though don't go crazy when leaving a comment regarding details and such.
Add a short brief of what you have in mind, what you like to get (referring to a price list they might have) and ask them if they are available.
Don't leave a text wall with all detailed informations right away. Just because you as a client think the service provider might be perfect, it could still be that the service provider has doubts about your project. Like when they never did something like you are asking for before.

As a service provider you should get back to such requests within a appropriate timeframe. Even if it is just to decline the request.
In case you both agree on the project there are a few things you make sure are mentioned and accepted from both sides:
  • the price - after all details are discussed mention the final price
  • amount of work - what will be delivered (a coded skin, a design, journal skin, gallery skin...)
  • timeframe - are people in a hurry or can you take your time
  • WIPs - should previews be delivered to make sure the service provider is doing everything right and the client is pleased with the direction
  • how should be payed - in advance? after all is done? in parts? paypal? points? other?

As a general guideline when working for and with others, never assume things. Always list things like the price, the amount of work and such things in conclusion. If you are unsure if the other person really understands your wishes/terms ask again. Better ask things one time too often rather than getting annoyed later.

No one wants to hear "But I thought you know that when you want this and that extra you have to pay more." or similar things just because you never mentioned concrete details.
This just leads to frustration and anger for both sides. And no one needs bad reputations just because of a stupid misunderstanding.

Are we done?

So after a few days or sometimes maybe even weeks, the commission is done and the service provider is about to hand over the final result.
Always hand over clean results. Just because you understand your messy CSS code or your PSD file with a billion of layers and folders, it doesn't mean that the client will too. Sort that mess, add comments, rename the folders or layers.

If needed add instructions. This might not be nesseccary for a design, but as soon as you coded something you should explain the tags and what features are going to be used in which way. Make sure you don't miss anything and don't get mad when the other person gets confused - there was a reason they commissioned you for that. Otherwise they could have done it on their own.
Help your client with the first steps or when errors come up you might didn't experience.

Once the design was handed over and approved or the skin is in usage it's done. According to the agreement about the payment, that should be done until now as well.
And then you are really done. See this commission as complete. For anything that comes up later again, make a new agreement.

Conclusion: Your Checklist

As a client
  • what exactly do I want? (working skin or design, gallery or journal skin)
  • how complex or simple should my commission should be? (lots of features, complex design,...)
  • am I familiar with the style and skills of a certain service provider?
  • do I have enough money / points to pay the service provider?
  • have i images I want the service provider to use?
  • are there reference deviations or links I should show?
  • is the service provider I choose 'professional' enough to deal with my ideas and wishes - even if I have no idea what I want?

As a service provider
  • can I really offer what the client asks for?
  • how quick will I be able to work on that request? (tell them if it takes longer because of illness or other responsibilities)
  • how much can I handle at once?
  • how do I want to be paid?
  • what are my terms of usage for the finished result? (just because you got paid it doesn't mean that the other person can do everything they want with the 'product')

Read more

Here are a few other articles/deviations about commissions. They are more about art in general, so not everything fits for skin requests but it can't be wrong to take a look at these as well.
Commission tutorial by shingworks Commission Guide by DarlingMionette Art Survival Guide - Beginner by DarlingMionette
DW's Guide on Art CommissionsDwwrider’s Guide on Art Commissions on deviantART (last revised September 2014)
This guide is based off of my personal experiences of commissioning artists on deviantART.  I hope future art commissioners or artists who take commissions find this information useful.  I'll try to update this guide once a year.  Please look at the title to see when this was last revised.
All the information in this guide is a recommendation and results will vary.  I wish the very best for the commissioner and the commissioned. 
Table of Contents:
Phase 1: Determine the Subject/Topic of the Commission
Phase 2: Search for an Artist on deviantART and Other Websites
Phase 3: Learn about the Artist’s Commission Availability, Rules, Rates, etc
Phase 4: Screen Your Candidates
Phase 5: Communication with the Artist
Phase 6: Developing a Commission Write Up/Description with References
Commission Do's and Don'tsOk, so, I just recently commissioned somebody...and after seeing how they did everything (not the art) I uh...I'm just gonna post a list of Do's and don'ts.
Commission Do's/Don'ts
1. Do Be Polite to your client, Don't be rude/snippy to them (even if they get on your nerves)
2. Do send them wip's, so they know how it is going. Don't do the whole thing at once, then get mad when they ask you to change something.
3. Do link the commissioner to the finished piece. Don't expect them to search through your gallery everyday for it.
4. Do make sure to ask lots of questions about what they want. Don't just go off of vague information.
5. Do re-dos for them (small, not huge ones) Don't refuse to edit the work at all (they are nice enough to commission you for art)
6. Do work on the commission whenever you can, Don't procrastinate!
7. Do request a fraction of the payment, if the commissioner doesn't like the commission at all. Don't let them walk away scott-free!
8. Do try to do the art to the be
Tutorial Tuesday: Commissioning Do and Don'tSo I'm back at it!  The incredible amount of re-blogs and likes I've received the last few weeks on my tutorials have been overwhelming so I've returned with new tutorials!
I have a list here of at least a dozen different things I want to teach all of you, (and I'm sure that list is going to grow.)  But I thought today we'll ease into it with some of the dos and don'ts when getting a private commission from your favorite artist.
Now I should start off by saying that these are based off my own experiences.  Every artist is different and they have policies, preferences, and procedures they prefer.  So be sure to ask them how they do things so that everything goes smoothly.  In my experience though, following these guidelines will significantly increase the chances that the artwork you commission will come out amazing. So here we go!
DO: Tell the artist what you want.
This is simple but the most important.
Simple Steps in Producing Points - Part 1I'm no expert in earning points on deviantART. In fact, I have only been selling art for less than 5 months. But those 5 months have taught me lessons that made me improve sales and most importantly, my art. I must emphasize that this article is not an official guide to commissions or adopts, and all tips are based solely on my experiences. Please do send me a comment if you find any content that is inappropriate in nature.
Step 1: Set Your Own Expectations
Your customers need to know what kind of art and service they can get from you. Here are some things to consider before announcing that you are open for commissions or adopts:
a. What is my medium? Traditional art, digital art, literature, etc. Stick to what you can use best and whichever you are most comfortable with.
b. How much time do I need? Consider your daily routine, upcoming events, and other time-consuming activities that you may need to prioritize before you can create art. You may also need to look out for

If there is something I have missed or if you have any questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment here. Or share your own experiences with comissions (good and bad), maybe other people can learn from it as well. But no calling-out or something like that. Even if you had troubles it should always discussed between people who were involved and not by the masses.

And always keep in mind communication and patience is the key!

:bulletwhite: More from the How to series
How to: Request CSS HelpI do get notes and comments of people asking for help quite a lot. While most people do just fine there are some people that forget that they are asking for a favour and aren’t in the position to demand anything.
Others are just so vague that you never really know what they really want you to do. And because of that I decided to write down some tips – based on my own experience – to help those who are not sure how to ask for help right. It will make things easier for both sides.
The following things are not universal, they reflect mostly my point of view and how I would like to deal with such request and the process of it. It will not apply for all CSS coders, but it should still give you an idea of what to do and what you should avoid.
Before you ask for help
Make sure that you have tried everything that is within your possibilities. The best way of learning is to spot mistakes on your own.
Sometimes it is easier to quickly ask someone el
  How to: Scroll BoxesTransferred from ~eCSSercise.
This is the first part of a tutorial series that I will be working on in the future and will be released whenever I find the time for it.
In order to know how I can make them better and to make it easier for you to understand the things I am talking about it would be appreciated if you would leave some feedback!
For this tutorial series I am explaining different elements you can create or modify with the help of CSS. The level of experience that is needed to be able to understand the tutorials can differ and will be in no order.  I will try to explain the things as simple as possible though.
The Basics
To create a scrollbox you don’t need much, just a box with a limited height or width in order to enforce the scrollbar. If you don’t limit the dimensions of the box it will adjust itself to the space given by the browser resolution and settings.
The limited dimension itself doesn’t create the scrollbar,
How to: Modifying the HeaderFor this tutorial series I am explaining different elements you can create or modify with the help of CSS. The level of experience that is needed to be able to understand the tutorials can differ and will be in no order.
Everything explained is based on the gruze-structure of journals. If you are still using the old structure or have a journal installed that used it, things won’t work the same way like explained below.
For simple skins the old structure is fine, but the more features you add, the more I would recommend using the gruze-structure. You can look up the differences here:
This time I will explain you, how to modify the header section of a journal. I will try to cover everything important, but if there are still things you want to know more about, just let me know and I will try to add it here.
Nothing what I will explain here will affect the actual content area and it will always refer to the defaul
How to: Margin + PaddingFor this tutorial series I am explaining different elements you can create or modify with the help of CSS. The level of experience that is needed to be able to understand the tutorials can differ and will be in no order.
However I will try to explain the things as simple as possible. Upcoming questions should be left in a comment directly to this blog so that people with similar problems can look them up later as well.
The tutorial series is based on the gruze-structure of journals. If you are still using the old structure or have a journal installed that used it, things won’t work the same way like explained below.
For simple skins the old structure is fine, but the more features you add, the more I would recommend using the gruze-structure. You can look up the differences here:  
It seems like a lot of people are struggling with the usage of margin and padding. In the end it doesn’t matter ho

Add a Comment:
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014
Thank you :aww:

I have added your article to this. Hope that is ok for you.
iAmAneleBiscarra Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you as well! :D
SimplySilent Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Thinking of re-opening my commission and changing my prices, so this is a nice article to look over. :aww:
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014
Good to hear :hug:
xmossgardenx Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Professional General Artist
Wonderful. This should honestly be applicable for any sort of commission work and on both ends. 
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Thank you!

Yeah, it's not such a difficult thing to have a happy client - service provider relationship if you follow common sense and some simple rules.
xmossgardenx Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Professional General Artist
Very true, I just wish more people would follow such rules when working with either or. 
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
From my own experiences i can say that the lack of communication is the worst of all things. If that fails, it just can go wrong!
CypherVisor Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Thanks for including my Pricing journal! :hug:

Nice article btw. :nod: I am sure people will benefit from it.

Oh an btw, I think there's a typo in the question, "You found a good service provider, are fine with their prizes and what now?" I think it should be 'prices'?
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
You're welcome!

Thank you!
I always mess up price and prize. Thanks for telling me. Will fix that :B
CypherVisor Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
No problemo! :hug:

I have missed the 'd' in 'and' if you have noticed in my comment! :P I miss letters or words most of the time when I type... :laughing:
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Haha, now that you mention it...

Same here, or i write a different word like i wanted to use. Totally easy to mess up with 'where' and 'were' or 'you' and 'who' - happens way too often :dummy:
CypherVisor Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Lol. :XD:

Oh yeah? I even miss some closing HTML tags in my tuts and people start getting messy results.. =P
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014
lol, that's a bit evil. But i guess it happened to all of us already.
CypherVisor Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014
Haha.. :XD: I try to rectify those asap though. :nod:

Btw, do you work somewhere? As in do you do job anywhere? (just curious to know coz I haven't known you much) :)
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014
That's good!

I am self-employed as a graphic/web designer since last July and before i have worked for a little advertising agency doing car wraps, signs, flyers and other print stuff. :aww:
(1 Reply)
SimplySilent Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
*comment stalking*

The front page for CRCommunityProjects had broken a while back, and I just a few days ago I finally went to check out what had gone wrong. The other admins weren't quite sure why the columns were out of order, so I expected there to have been some dA update that had messed up the floating. Turns out that all we needed was one / in a div. :lol:
CypherVisor Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Lol :XD:
Immerot Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Useful article. It could be added to the commissions info.
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Thank you!
What commission info do you mean?
Immerot Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Any, I guess.) This information could be usuful for potential customers and explain some things.
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Ah ok, thought you had something special in mind.
Yeah could be useful for a lot of people. Especially those that ask for too much or those that do things just for a few points.
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Seriously, being paid 50c for a fully functional skin is a worse use of your time than making something free and getting your name out there :no:
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Immerot Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
50 cents?O_o Good joke.
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Seeriously u:
vanmall Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
SpookyBjorn Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
oh wow, thanks for includng my do's and don'ts journal!! :D
ginkgografix Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
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