The costs of getting started

One of our studio’s main goals was to be as transparent as possible and communicate our achievements and challenges in this journal. While we can’t spill every single detail (especially when it comes to certain aspects of client collaboration), this entry means to take a first step towards tackling a subject many people shy away from talking about: money.

Or, more specifically in this case, what the costs of starting a studio are. A common advice you’ll read on the internet is that going freelance doesn’t cost anything at all – you might want to have a website, but most of your work will come from clients that you’ll get to know via your network of contacts – therefore you won’t need to spend much money on promotion. And that is certainly true to a certain degree, but we wanted to approach our own branding in the same way we’d approach a branding for a client – that is spending the necessary hours on our work and finding the appropriate typefaces.

Bureau Clarté’s main typeface is the recently released Aeonik by Mark Bloom and Joe Leadbeater. Typefaces cost money – sometimes quite a bit. If you want to get the perfect typeface for a project, you’ll often want to move away from the fonts everybody has pre-installed on their computer or free alternatives such as Google’s web fonts; uniqueness being the keyword here. We bought the whole Aeonik family of 14 styles for £240 to use it in print, and paid an additional £120 to use some of its weights online, as our website uses 3 different ones.

Add to that the 30€ it takes for our domain and one year of hosting, and we’re already at an impressive 485€. We haven’t finished our branding for print yet, so the costs for that will be an article for another day.

Let’s talk about time. We’ve been working on Bureau Clarté’s identity on the side for several months before launching, which includes naming, defining our goals and strategy, shaping our branding, and developing our website. While we didn’t count the hours it took collectively, it’s certainly in the hundreds. If this had been client work, we would have been paid way past 5 figures.

As we’ve now officially formed to become a studio, we had to invest both time and money into presenting ourselves in a certain way. Continuing with the recital of popular freelance advice, the type of new client work is always based on what and how you present yourself – and we saw our own branding as a way of positioning ourselves and best represent what we want to achieve with it, as well as the direction in which we want to move in. Since our portfolio itself was limited in quantity, part of our portfolio had to become the very website that you’re currently visiting.

So that’s it for now – countless hours and 485€ for digital goods. We’ll keep you updated on our upcoming print goodies, but we’re sure that we’ll easily crack the 4 figures on everything altogether.