In my decade of working in the design industry, I’ve realized people don’t really understand pricing for creative work. One person will assume it should cost nothing but exposure while another will assume it would cost 10s of thousands of dollars. Pricing for creative work isn’t just an arbitrary number designers pull from the sky, it involves all sorts of factors. So here are a couple of trade secrets to help you understand designer’s price points.
Things that influence the price:
Time & Costs. In addition to the amount of time a project will take, there are program subscription fees, office rentals, stock images, hosting, print cost, etc that need to be covered.
Value to your business: For an independent sandwich shop in a small town, the value of having a concise and professional logo isn't that important to the success of the company. For an up and coming fitness clothing company, creating the wrong logo can have a significant risk to your popularity, sales and growth.
Expertise level. This is where the price varies by a large margin. If you only have $10 for a flyer design, it’s likely you’ll be able to find someone to work for that wage but chances are, it won’t be the professional and quality product you’re expecting. This will cost you time, effort and may even prevent your company from moving forward.
Complexity of the project. Obviously, an in-depth branding process and complete website design is going to end up costing more than a postcard. Not because it takes more time, but because there’s more elements to be considered and therefore a more in depth thought process is required to produce a successful piece.
Ease of working relationship with the client. Sometimes designers come across a client type that’s going to need more attention on a project than average. When this happens, they will charge a higher rate to cover all the extra time and effort this particular client will demand. It saves you money to communicate well and have a good working relationship with your designer.
Duration of the contract. Many times a designer will charge a lower hourly fee if a longer contract of work is guaranteed in writing (such as a retainer).
THINGS THAT DO NOT INFLUENCE PRICE:
The amount of exposure the designer receives. As designers, we have all encountered the client that thinks because many eyes will be on this project, that we should be happy enough with that to work. As much as we may appreciate that our work will be seen, we can’t pay our bills with exposure.
Verbal promises of future projects. We also cannot pay our bills with promises. While we can reduce prices for a year-long retainer contract, we can’t work for free in hopes of more work down the road.
How simple or fun you believe the project to be. Many times, experienced professionals make what they do look easy. In the same way, a project may seem simple in design but in reality a lot of thought, training and expertise went into making it look that way. It’s also normal that you’re excited about your project, but to assume the designer should work for less because you believe it will be an enjoyable experience, is not something that will affect the price.
If you need to create a logo for your company, according to your budget, what kind of designer is right for you?
Low Budget: $10-$50 (stock)
Try purchasing a pre-made template from such sites as creativemarket, etsy, shutterstock or graphic river. Many times, the creator will be willing to customize the product for you for a small extra fee.
Mid Range Budget: $500-$10,000 (freelancer)
This is an example price range for what a freelance graphic designer would charge for a custom logo from a trained professional. A designer in their first or second year in the industry might charge $30/hour while a designer with 15 years experience would charge closer to $80/hour. Keep in mind a more experienced designer will take less time to complete your project.
High Corporate Budget: $15,000+ (agency)
This is an example of what price a brick and mortar agency with dedicated and experienced designers, project managers and programmers would charge a larger company to create a brand.