Thursday, 10 September 2009

Woodblock Print Cost Calculator

One of the biggest questions for anyone produces artwork is 'how much do I charge?'

With animation the answer is always, 'How long is a piece of string?'

There are a myriad of things which can alter the cost of animation: complexity of design or action, illustration style and deadlines are just really the tip of the iceberg. You need as much information from the client as possible in order to calculate the cost.

With woodblock printing it's a little different. You have the materials, your time and what you consider your artistic worth.

So, how much do you charge for a print? What is the break even point where, even if you don't make a profit, you can cover the cost of materials and your time?

I wanted to work this out in a way that I can apply to all the prints I've produced to date, and the ones in the pipeline, and so I've put together an Excel spreadsheet 'Woodblock Print Calculator'.

Here's a screen grab of part of the first page.
I've tailored it to work the way I work, which I've standardised to make the packaging and shipping of prints easier. At the moment my prints either fit A4 or A5 cello bags, although the actual print size may vary.
As you can see, I can enter the title of the print, how many prints I intend to produce, how many blocks I will use, and how many colours (or impressions) there will be.
An 'A5 Twin' is my name for 2 prints cut on the same set of blocks, which cost less to produce than 2 A5 prints on separate blocks.
Based on this information and prices of blocks, paper and other materials which I've added, the spreadsheet works out the actual cost of materials to produce an edition, and a single print.
It will also work out my packaging costs, and my labour costs (based on any yearly income and hours you input) for the whole process from design to slipping the finished print into the cello bag.
It's taken a while to work out the formulas in Excel which run in the background, but I can now accurately cost every print I produce, even down to adding a % profit mark-up and including VAT.
The good thing is that I can continue to add new materials to include in the calculations and update any changes in material costs with one click, and the spreadsheet will recalculate all the totals.
I've also added a 'Reprint?' button, which, if you enter 'y' (yes) will remove any of the materials and labour costs related to design, cutting blocks, creating hanshita etc.
Sheet 2 of the calculator is a 1 page summary of all the total calculations which you can print off as a handy reference.
I'm pretty confident that I've got all my calculations right, and the Woodblock Calculator does work for me. I suppose this is Version 1.0 and in the future I'll add extra bits. I'm sure any woodblock printer with basic knowledge of Excel (or a friend of a printer!) could tailor it to suit their work practices too.
If you'd like a copy, let me know and I'll email the Excel file.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mark Mason

I would be interested in trying a copy of your print calculator.

George Jarvis
Akita Japan