If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. — African Proverb

Especially for a new client, after the initial meeting and contract are signed. Most of the design firm or individual designer will request down payment before kicking-off the project.

If you want to go far, go together. In many cases, the better half of “together” is a designer. The design is a fantastic vehicle that drives project go far. Talk about the vehicle. Let’s say if you buying a car, it’s common sense to put a deposit down before you drive away—then you’ll use the car to fast forward to your destination.

Let’s break it down to see what is this down payment paying for. So you can have a better idea of why down payment is better for both the client and the designer.

What down payment pay for—in the design project.

1. F for Funding.

Down payment pay for funding. —Client & Designer.

It’s true that money can be unlimited but the time will never be. At least I never see things that last forever, even the sun.

After the client funding some percentage of their money (unlimited resources). The designer will need to fund 100% of their assigned time (limited resources) to make the best possible outcome for the client.

down payment is like “help me to help you” relationship. Occasionally, the designer also needs to mark up some $ portion to move the project forward, i.e. hiring a talented, design resources, business expenses and so on.

2. A for Attention.

Down payment pay for attention. —Client & Designer.

What you focus you will feel. Humans often keep their promises to other people better than themselves. The down payment can help both parties avoid procrastination.

If everything important, nothing important. Down payment can help you define what to pay attention to. Imagine if you don’t like exercise but want to be in good shape. You may try to gym for a few days and falling off with your own discipline. The twist of the story plot on when you start paying attention and hiring a personal trainer. You may go to the gym and incrementally get the result—or—discover that fitness is not your things and move on, but eventually you making progress!

3. R for Respect.

Down payment pay for respect. —Client & Designer.

There is a great mystery about the rock band. During a difficult time they can be together but once they get famous, the can’t. Money is the multiply of who you are.

Respect is a new trust. Hence most designer uses this down payment to work with the right client. In the same way, the client also uses this down payment to ensure that the designer will be serious about the project. Because once the designer accepts the down payment, that income will become their debt until they deliver the promise to the client.

In short

Down payment is the Funding for Attention in Respect between Client and Designer to elevating each other minds through the project.