Setting rates as a freelance graphic designer can be tricky. For some projects, it can be difficult to know how much time it will take.
Once, not too long after I finished my journalism degree, I was asked to design a logo. I had taken a graphic design class, and a Flash class, and I thought I could handle it. I quoted a price that I thought seemed reasonable for a logo, was accepted and got to work.
Unfortunately, I'm not exactly the most talented when it comes to design. I didn't know the software as well as I thought I did. By the time I finished the job, I felt wrung out and realized that I had been working for less than minimum wage.
I made the decision never to take on graphic design work again. But the experience taught me a little bit about setting rates as a freelance graphic designer.
Hourly vs. Per-Project
Setting freelance graphic designer rates starts with the classic freelancing dilemma: Hourly or per-project? One of the advantages of setting hourly rates is that you are paid for the work you do. With a graphic design project, it's easy for things to get out of hand, and for you to work more than you expected.
Unfortunately, some clients want you to give them an actual quote for the project, rather than an hourly rate. As you get better at estimating how much time it takes to accomplish certain tasks, you can translate your preferred hourly rate into a flat per-project quote. For instance, if your preferred rate is $75 an hour, and you are fairly confident that designing a flyer will take you an hour and a half, you can quote $112.50 (or round it up to $115 to make it look neater).
Even when you are pretty sure you know how much time something will take, you should consider building in a little breathing space. Perhaps you quote $125 on the flyer project, just to cover the possibility that it takes you a little extra time to tweak some of the design elements. You might even quote $150, in case you end up working two hours on the project.
Keep Track of Hours
When you do get a client that will allow you to work on an hourly basis, consider purchasing a timekeeping application. Some freelance graphic designers charge more than $300 an hour (although $75 to $150 an hour is much more common, and there are those, at the low end, that charge $25 to $50 an hour). If you are going to charge hourly, and get your preferred rate, you had better be working on the client's project for all of the time charged. No messing around on Facebook for 15 minutes of the hour.
Another option is to provide a graphic design menu. There are some projects, like creating logos, that might be fairly easy for you to do. (*Update* I've received a lot of flack for saying creating logos are easy. I don't mean to devalue the work, and real graphic designers insist it's hard work. Read the comments for a better idea of what it's like to work as a freelance graphic designer.)
Peter Anderson, the awesome designer that created the Planting Money Seeds logo, has made it kind of a specialty. He's a great logo guy (and he does good work on other things, too). If you have a specialty, you can consider creating a menu for your work. Allow clients to choose what they are looking for and base your fee on that.
Freelance Graphic Designer Agreements
As you work with your clients, and set rates, you want to make sure that you know exactly what the client expects — and that the client knows what he or she is paying for. When you create an agreement for work, here are some of the things to include:
- Number of revisions you will perform on the project.
- What, exactly, you will do.
- Provisions for additional charges if you go beyond the original scope of the project (usually subject to approval before you proceed).
- Some sort of pre-payment if it's a big project. If the project will be large and expensive, you can work out a payment plan, or ask the client to pay half up front and half later.
- Consider spelling out additional fees, such as a premium for rush jobs.
You don't have to have a formal contract for each job. An email explicitly stating terms, along with a reply that the client accepts, works as an agreement.
As you consider how to charge as a freelance graphic designer, make sure you think about how long a project is likely to take, as well as the degree of difficulty involved. It can be a little difficult at first to accurately gauge what you should charge, but experience should help you more accurately quote prices in the future.
Image source: Bummelum via Wikimedia Commons
85 thoughts on “Tips for Setting Rates as a Freelance Graphic Designer”
Some great tips for freelancers!
Great post Miranda, I also believe that there are lots of things you need to consider when setting rates of graphic designers and tricky just like what you have elaborated. Another way that you could consider when figuring your rate is based on your skills and experienced. The cost of the living in your country also needs to be consider just like in the Philippines and India where the rate of graphic designers are low because the cost of a living is considerably low compared to UK and US. I’ve come across to a freelancing site called Staff.com where I’ve hire an affordable graphic designer. I also know that as employer we shouldn’t bargain quality over cost. That’s why before I hire a graphic designer I test them first which allows me to see who among them has the potential to do the job.
@ Patric C.
How would you test this freelancer you have in mind? Would a portfolio and a resume or possibly references not be enough?
Jon B. in Tennessee
@jon B. I totally agree. I flat out refuse to do ‘tests’ for clients. If they cannot see from my portfolio the standard of my work, then that is their issue. Also – how long so you spend doing this ‘test’ with no guarantee that you will get the job.
Nope I say thanks but no thanks to those people
Agreed. I turn down tests, and this is also a red flag at job interviews. If they need you to make a sample, then they don’t trust the quality of your portfolio. This is also a great ploy to get several designers to mock up concepts without paying them similar to “design contests.”
I agree, Stephen. I’ve had that happen many times where I’m “tested” and then never hear from them again but see the designs being used. I’ve dealt with the legal-ese enough times to know where I stand as a designer, and I’ve gotten the money from people, but not without a battle. I refuse to do tests for this reason.
Absolutely! The quality a designer’s past work always speaks volumes for what can be expected for all future designs. It is also a given that we as designers will continually get better and better over time so most likely if they like your overall portfolio of past work they will most likely be happy with what you end up producing for them. I’ve had potential clients say things like we love your work but this other guy charges only this much for flyer designs. I respond with Ok, then just have him do it. to which they respond “but we like your designs more” I just say “OK, well that is why mine cost more.” LOL People are funny that way, they will try and get you to come down on price based off someone else’s price that doesn’t even compare in quality and service. LOL
I can understand both sides of this issue. I am a creative director at a marketing agency. I have been in the business for 30 years. I understand the instinct to balk at tests, believe me. I agree that you should never agree to do a test on project basis. If I were hiring a freelancer to do a single project, I would never require a test. However, we have always asked potential hires for a full-time designer position to do tests. The problem with just looking at a portfolio is that they can be very deceptive. For example, a designer may show you a beautiful brochure they claim to have designed, but with a little more inquiry you discover it was a collaborative effort and the designer’s portion of the work just involved page layout, while the graphics and design direction were done by others. I’ve seen some really beautiful portfolios shown by designers with very limited talent. A test reveals those kinds of issues. All that said, it is too much to ask of a freelancer to do a test just to win a single project. But I would recommend showing only work for which you can claim full ownership. If you have a design element that you are particularly proud of that is part of a collaborative effort, then just show that element and not the whole piece. Good luck getting work out there!
Nice post and thanks for sharing this. I can say that there are many things on which rates depend like type of projects, duration of project, complexity of project, other issue related to it. So these are major factor on which mainly rates depend. I am also proving freelancing services. and by site is http://www.safefreelancer.com/. Ypu can check my rates for reference.
Thank you for the article!
I do have a question, however: I’ve been researching industry standard rates for the past few days, and I’ve found the highest rates are at this website. Other sites have said 25-100/hr or somewhere in the middle. And I have a problem faced by many other designers; I haven’t yet found a comfort “level” for cost. I’ve been out of college for 2 years and working for a company for a year and a half. Although I have been freelancing for those 2 years, I haven’t felt comfortable charging more than my “corporate” rate. What experience levels would you say warrant different tiers of costs you listed above? I’d like to make sure I don’t continue to undersell myself, but I don’t want to scare away this client I’ve been working with for future projects.
As I mentioned, charging $300 is probably not realistic for most freelancers — at least not for quite some time! Many of the graphic designers I know charge between $75 and $100 per hour, and there are a couple I know that charge $50. Personally, I think $25 is a bit low, but, as I mention, there are those who will go that low (kind of like how there are freelance writers who will write 500 words for $2.50 to $5.00).
At any rate, one of the things I do is test the waters by charging a slightly higher rate to new clients. If you’ve been freelancing for two years, you should have some experience to draw on, so asking for a little more when new clients ask doesn’t hurt. Consider asking for 5% – 10% more than your corporate rate and see what a new client says.
This also isn’t a bad time to ask for a raise for your corporate rate. There is something to be said for regular work, and usually accept a lower rate when the gig is on-going. You can talk to your boss about a raise of 2% to 4%, and if you get it, that will naturally bump up your corporate rate.
I routinely give price breaks to long-time clients of mine, as a courtesy, rather than charing them my higher, “regular” rate. It’s nice, and keeps the relationship going. Hope that helped a little.
I’m in a similar boat to you, trying to decide on a good rate to charge. One thing I read that might make you feel a little better about charging higher than your corporate rate is, for corporate you are provided all the tools you need to do the work by your employer. When freelancing, you use your own tools – your laptop, your subscriptions to programs (i.e. Adobe), your in home internet. All of these things and more come out of your own pocket when freelancing, therefore you need a higher pay.
I’m researching the best freelance rates to charge for each of the skills I have that I’m interested in providing as a freelancer. Today is graphic design but the past week has been all about the many kinds of freelance writing there are & the factors that go into the rates for each.
I came across one exceptionally helpful article that explained, when it comes to a general hourly estimate for freelancing, you’ll need to charge more than your typical hourly salary as an employee. They pointed out something that hadn’t occurred to me. Most corporate jobs pay a set salary, but they also pay rent on your work space, buy your office supplies, provided a computer, printer, Internet, health insurance, 401k, retirement etc.
As a freelancer, you have to cover all of the things you need yourself & you also now need to do your own invoicing, payroll, any kind of bookkeeping at all, plus calculate & put aside any money for taxes also. It really made me reconsider the reasons a freelancer is forced to charge a higher rate as a trade off for the client’s convince, along with time & money saved by not having to do or provide all those things.
I included a link to the article. It goes over a really simple formula for calculating the estimated minimum hourly rate to use as a starting point. They have articles on a huge variety of other useful topics for freelancers & business owners in every field, so I recommend surfing the site & seeing if you gain value from other articles as well. I hope this helps!💜 Best of luck!🍀
Really great and succinct article. I’m a musician and these exact same points apply. There’s a whole technical field in music now which briefly stated involves preparing music out of the computer for live players – usually to record to accompany film or other visual media. There are many different steps and many different jobs associated with the process and the “per hour or per project” question always comes up.
I was actually led to this site because I found myself in a similar graphic design position. I was doing it as a fun thing on the side but someone really liked my work and hired me. They needed a price upfront for approval. I wasn’t sure about rates but at the end of the project, even though it turned out great and I enjoyed it, I realized I’d been working for about minimum wage.
I’m getting better now at setting rates in both fields as I’ve gained experience, but your post was most helpful!
Mae, how did you find work preparing music out of the computer for live players? Sounds awesome, and I would love to know more about that field. Thanks!
Hi there. This is a great post to help designers price their work. But as a designer for 25 years, with a BFA and professional graduate degree in communications, I am concerned by this bit of extreme misinformation: “There are some projects, like creating logos, that are fairly easy to do.”
A clever, well-designed logo is one of the most difficult things a graphic designer can create. Flyers and publications are nothing compared to developing a simple symbol to illustrate complex concepts. Most good logo designers say the process requires upwards of 12 – 20 hours explore fully, dozens if not hundreds of sketches, and extensive research on the topic(s) involved. This is why the “Logos, $99 bucks!” approach or the online designer competitions for terribly low returns are so frowned upon by the AIGA and the Graphic Artists’ Guild. They cheapen the profession terribly.
I take few logo projects because with the world assuming they’re “easy to whip up in 30 minutes” you wind up making $10/hr. Again, thanks for your post.
Thanks for your thoughts, Elspeth! That’s a great point about logo design.
Hello I new on been a freelance graphic designer, I just to work for a business and I want to work us a freelance, a client ask me to design a 6 pages menú, what should I charge?
Yeah. It’s all relative. I worked for a graphic art company and they complained that clients wanted to pay only $2000 for a logo. I replied, “Hey, give them to me, I’ll charge $2000 for a logo.” ha ha
I charge $80 an hour but hardly do any work cuz people do think you can just spit out the jobs. God bless. S
I’m with Sandy. I’ve been working for myself for over 17 years as a designer and it pains me that people still squabble about price, designing is a skill not something you can learn. They pay more for a plumber to put in a tap and don’t bicker at the price, so why do people think that $100 an hour is expensive when they get great returns and a professional look. I hate it too when they want you to say how lovely their logo or leaflet looks that their grandaughter did. Way too demeaning and very insulting when you’ve been to college for 5 years learning the skills and then in the field for 30+.
I completely agree with your assessment Elspeth. My background is virtually identical to yours, with a few more year’s experience, and I have struggled for decades to overcome client perceptions which are based on the false economy created by non-professional designers.
While I certainly don’t wish to dismiss Miranda’s efforts in this blog, perhaps, it would be best to dispense advice in a field for which you are unarguably qualified. The fact that you have a degree in journalism immediately establishes credibility in your advice and experience for that industry.
Having taken a “class” in graphic design barely qualifies you to speak on the subject. Those of us who have pursued this registered profession for as long as we have do not regard what we do as a hobby, nor do we look kindly upon those who treat it as such. I certainly hope there aren’t individuals out there who are practicing surgery because they think it is cool.
I was thinking exactly what Elspeth said. As a 15+ year designer, it takes me 10-20 hours to design a logo including the consulting, drafting, producing, etc. I can see some people looking to hire a designer coming to your site and then getting the wrong impression that logos are easier than other types of materials, when for me and presumably many others, the opposite is true.
Completely agree with this. Something that looks simple and small can 20 hours of work. Just because it looks simple doesn’t mean it was created quickly.
“There are some projects, like creating logos, that are fairly easy to do.”
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. You literally start this article out saying that you’ve over estimated your skills before, but then make a profession devaluing statement such as what I quoted. Making a logo is one of the hardest things to do right, since it is going to be used in so many different scenarios that will challenge the mark due to the size changes. You may want to amend this article, since it is one of the top results when googling what to charge for graphic designers.
You make a good point. Thanks for pointing that out. I guess it just depends. Many of the designers I talk to find logos easy to handle.
I question the quality work from the so-called designers that you talked to.
Hello, I agree strongly with some concerns here, that logo might be easy to do. In our experience at Tuumik it is very rare if logo is ready with less than 20 hours. Usually it takes more, because making logo usually means thinking through all the other materials where the company is going to use the logo. It is a system of mark+logotype+colours+type for all the materials+some examples of business cards/blank/objects+maybe even website design draft etc. It is never just the word/name and some mark that comes into your mind in first five minutes.
Thank you for discussing this topic.
Very true, and we often need to do a significant amount of research prior to beginning comps to make sure that the logo is original and effective. It’s not just spitting out a pretty picture.
“There are some projects, like creating logos, that are fairly easy to do.”
Wow! As a designer and design educator at a university, I fully agree with the other comments posted. This statement conveys a lack of knowledge, research and lends to the devaluation of design. The process of creating a logo is actually a difficult one to tackle. There are Master level programs dedicated to Branding alone! You are asked to create a unique and timeless visual that expresses the entirety of a company and takes upwards of 20 hours. This involves research, brainstorming, consulting, understanding a clients needs, understanding their audience, sketching, creating vector iterations, choosing a typeface and/or creating type from scratch, providing variations, choosing color palettes, refining, providing variations of logos for use on multiple materials and instances.
LOGO??? -From my experience is not the difficulty of graphic it self it is about the idea which will satisfy your client. You can make hundred of ideas, spend lot of time before you will find what makes them happy and than you spend half an hour on doing it. So what we should charge for doing graphic or idea? I believe that many people do not understand what it means SIMPLE. As if you have 1000x1000cm white paper and where will be the best place to put your black dot? How many combinations you will need to go through before they will say that is the perfect spot??? You place your dot there very tired and hungry and they will say that was simple to do!
Charging by the hour is something I am moving away from, because it focuses on the effort put into a project, not the results.
Value based pricing is something I doing more of, as it focuses on the overall return the work will give to the client.
Daily or weekly rates are much better for a studio, as the client no longer focuses on small units of time. Hourly is something that everyone can understand, because of the systems we’ve grown up in, but it is overall detrimental to both the work and the designers providing that work.
Interesting thoughts. Thanks.
To put rates into perspective of other jobs. I was being paid $25 per half hour for dog walking by my best clients. 15 years experience. Min. $15 per 1/2hr. although other services charge $15 per 15 min.
Graphic design and other art work is much more complex requiring skill, talent, education and business expenses.
When you use your corporate rate you may not be including other benefits that are not on your paycheck such as leave time, holiday pay, insurances or company paid taxes.
A lot of people take artists for granted and want them to work for free or cheap. Please don’t under pay yourself, they will not respect you or other artists.
I base my estimates on how many hours Ithink it will take and then give a price range. (I.e.: 10-12hours @ $40 per hour – $400- $480) I spell out that the estimate is based on a reasonable amount of revisions and extra work will incur extra charges at my hourly rate. This helps the client understand they can’t go on and on with endless changes.
Thanks for writing the article. Very interesting to see the different perspectives from people in the comments. I live in an area with a very low cost of living, the mountains of West Virginia, so my hourly rate is on the low end ($40) compared with most cities.
I still charge $45 per hour. I think that “The Surgeons” pricing is about to take a leap! Thanks so much for this valuable knowledge…
I’m a self taught graphic designer. The only work I’ve done is for my church and I’m not comfortable charging them.
I’m thinking of putting it out to other churches in the area that I’m looking for work (logos, flyers/posters, cd/DVDs covers). Do you think your prices would work or should I charge less seeing that it’s churches?
That’s up to you and what you’re comfortable with. I often charge charitable organizations less, or charge less for independent bloggers, or causes I believe in. But you have to be careful and learn when to say no, or you’ll be up to your neck in low-paying work that sucks up your time.
I think you should charge more considering the tax breaks that churches get 🙂
I’m doing some freelance work for a former co-worker. I’m still in school for graphic design, so I don’t know how much to charge for this project. She is starting her own business from the ground up and there are many projects involved. Any suggestions?
Really, you two need to agree on what makes sense for you. You might want to give her a small break because you know her aunt because you’re still in school. That means charging at the low end if she can’t afford to pay that as a business owner. It comes down to whether or not you will start to feel burned out if you are doing too much work without getting paid. You can also see if some of the work you do for her can be used in school for credit.
REally 10hours on a logo? that’s crazy! Ive been in this fiedld for 11 years and nothing has ever took that long except web design… I charge $50 a hour and on a normal project it might take 3 hours to finish.
if you think a logo is easy to do, you might be just doing very bad design.
THIS. Anyone who says “logos are easy to handle” is either doing bad design, or hasn’t serviced any reasonably-sized client. The fact that she called it “logo” and not “branding” is another red flag. When a client asks for a logo, it’s our job to educate them on the fact that they need BRANDING, and a logo is simply a byproduct of that. 20+ hours for EASY clients on branding work. I charge $1500 for branding in southern California and I’m considered affordable around here.
I’m moving to Cali Wes! lol!
We are underappreciated as creatives Wes. I’m glad you can charge $1,500 and get the work. Using the word “branding” is an excellent idea as well. Thanks for the tip!
Much continued success.
i used to charge $1500 20 years ago and the client definitely got their money’s worth. Many of those logos are still being used today, because of the thought and research and good design that went in to them. Since I spent 13 years employed also doing logos. Recently I have been doing my fine art and doing art exhibit logos pro bono.
Just got a request from a past co-worker and am trying to put together my proposal. All of this is very interesting.
I am so glad I stumbled upon this thread! I am a freelance graphic designer with 12 years experience living in South Africa and a new client from the United States just fought me over an invoice, saying to me that $25 per hour is way too high and she has never paid that much for any US or UK designer. I think she might have been trying to take advantage…
That’s ridiculous. I understand that in South Africa, the cost of living may be less than in the United States, but $25/hour is still too low. I would say, depending on your skill level probably $35-$50/hour is more like it. I would take into consideration your overhead and expenses as well. I am a freelancer and I have developed my expertise over a period of close to 30 years working for various industry print firms, some chains and some privately owned. Now I freelance, and I just finished a project for a fellow who gave me clean files, is easy to work with, and who always pays me immediately and I charged him $45/hour. I use a sliding scale for my rate, based on how difficult the work is. If I am just setting some type, data entry, and dropping in some graphics that are provided, that is easy for me, so i would charge about $45/hr. If I am creating art from scratch, or retouching art or photos, then I increase it significantly ($60-$70/hr). It would be difficult for me to justify rates much higher than that, but I wouldn’t work for much less than my lowest rate or it’s just not worth my time. Hope that helps!
300 a hour . are you sure that some freelancer take this type of rate ? if they take so are there any customers to hire them ?
100$ a design i just made a logo worked on it for about 3 hours made 2 changes 50 x 3 150$ 25 x 3 75$ 75$ x 3 225$ im going to charge 175$
Thank you! Miranda for the helpful insights on what to charge as a freelance graphic designer. At first, I didn’t know what to charge starting out. I was settling for $50 for business card design and $100 for logo design. But after realizing the time and research effort I had to input into my first project, I realized that I had settled for less than minimum wage. Thank you again… you are a Professional Blogger.
I am a current graphic design student, who will be graduating in January 2017. I have been hired by a foundation for only 13.00 an hours, but took the job because it is in graphic design, and it at least gets me started working professionally.
Because of the low rate, I have been looking for freelance work. I have been offered work by a marketing company. However, the owner made the comment that she typically pays freelancers from Mexico 5.00 an hour. I have not figured out my hourly rate yet, but it certainly won’t be 5.00 an hour. I viewed their portfolio and much of the work is not very good, in my humble opinion.
My idea is to research fees today, beginning with this very informative blog, and then create my fee. Chances are, she will think I am far too high, but I will at least have the knowledge that she was impressed with my portfolio, will absorb the experience, and – if she doesn’t accept my fee, move on to the next prospect.
Keep the $13 pr hr job Linda. get the experience and use this foundation to fill your resume and portfolio with experience. Disregard the comments by the marketing company. Let them hire their $5 pr hr designer from Mexico. Your worth more than a $5 logo job.
The most annoying thing in graphics are clients. Some clients are ready to pay a surgeon’s bill but are not ready to pay an artist. After hours of straining your eyes, burning fuel, working out your brains, what you hear them say is “you’ve done nothing, my kid can do this!”
I’ve been there, unfortunately. We are underappreciated as creatives. people don’t understand how difficult it is to be creative when you, the designer, will ultimately be judged by your work. I have learned to address these issues with possible logo customers at our initial conversation. I refuse to waste time with people who feel their kid can do my work.
The hardest part of charging a certain fee per hour or per project is how mislead the consumer is. The first thing I do before quoting a logo price is explain the importance of simplicity. Some of my previous customers had ideas for logos with 4,5 and even 6 colors. I had to explain the importance of creating a logo that is as effective in black and white as it is in color. Explaining that color can be added after the logo design is complete was the easy part. Creating logos, for me, take some time because the design will represent my work. A quote of 10-20 hours for a logo design is a safe amount of time to get it ready.
I’m sure I speak for many fellow freelancers in saying thank you for this article – it’s so important to preserve value in design work.
Great Post! I love what I do and I never really had trouble with my clients, especially when it comes to pricing. I’ve only been freelancing for 6 months and made thousands online, what I find helps is talking about the clients business. When you get to sales you’ll get a good feel how much they make and be able to price off of that. Every business owner loves talking about their business so don’t be scared to ask and take a genuine interest in their business, don’t fake it!
Interesting to read all the posts. However, designing a logo can be both easy or very time consuming and complex. Certainly it depends on the project requirements and how the logo will be used. It also depends upon your skills as a designer and the expectations (pickiness) of the client as well. In general, I would side with those who consider logo design as hard, requiring 20 hrs or more because in most cases you need to come up with the conceptual art and spend lots of time figuring or trying out ideas, all of which should be “different”, “unique”, and “creative”. Yeah, bottom line is you can say “I play tennis”. Roger Federer and Serena Williams say the same thing as you but there is a difference…
Good one! flyers designs are so important part of an advertisement. Graphic design is the perfect way for it. thank you for the post.
What kind of time keeping application do you recommend?
Once, not too long after I finished my 4 year graphic design degree, I was asked to write an article for a high profile magazine.
I had once taken a journalism class and a creative writing class after high school. I thought I could handle it. After all, how hard can it be? It’s just pressing one key after another on a keyboard isn’t it? I quoted a price that I thought seemed reasonable for a 5000 word story, it was accepted, and then I got to work.
Unfortunately, I realised I’m not exactly the most talented when it comes to journalism — and I didn’t know as much about the skill of writing as I thought I did. By the time I finished the job, I felt wrung out, and realized that I had been working for less than minimum wage.
I made the decision never to take on journalism work again. But the experience taught me a little bit about setting rates as a freelance journalist.
Nowadays I stick to what I know best and what I know I’m unarguably qualified for: the easy jobs like designing logos.
Lol but your logo is trash. Completely disregards basic fundamental design principles. 😂
Logos are not “easy.” Logos demand a skill set that matters less in other designs: the ability to instantly convey a message with a uniquely simple mark. There are many logos that are excreted by “designers” every day, who may actually be good at their primary work (be it illustration, comic art, page layout, etc.) but who think of logos as “simple” and treat them as such, resulting in generic or overly complex work the consumer space will reject. Are the Nike, McDonalds, or Belfast logos simple one color logos? Yes. Are they therefore lower in value? Certainly not. The Belfast logo is memorable and quite fairly priced, at $280,000.
Nobody should even consider getting any sort of logo from a designer willing to charge less than $1,000 for it. You want someone to spend the proper time on it, figuring out the perfect design with you. Go ahead, charge $125, and you’ll get whiny cheapskates who want more for less.
A logo that is striking and memorable to the target consumer is worth no less than $1,000 in any circumstance. I charge up to $3,000. Logos are critical bedrock to a success in the business world. Tossing a good logo onto a flyer or a banner or a car decal, that’s the simple part. That’s the cheapo, any-third-grader-could-do-it part of graphic design. The logo itself, that’s the valuable piece.
Just my opinion, of course.
Fantastic article to read. Thanks for sharing.
When it comes to pricing, it’s a good strategy to start always higher at a negotiation If it boils down to a critical negotiation. Think ahead about the numbers that they could throw at you. Don’t be strict at your set price list so that clients could turn away. Be flexible and competitive too. Always base your price on what others charge for their services. Make sure the price you set represents how great your work is. So, maintain your value perception of your work.
I think a big issue I have with this article is that pricing hourly or per project encompasses the execution only of the design and not the strategy thats actually involved before creating said product.
People aren’t just paying you to execute the design they are paying for whats in your head! The designer must take the clients ideas and come up with a feasible strategy before ever getting on the computer.
Phase 1 : discovery/strategy session (this is largely where the price tag comes in)people pay the designer to solve problems not just make things look pretty.
Phase 2: Execution of design strategy
It doesn’t matter if it’s a menu, flyer, or whatever its our job to help solve problems. We need to ask good questions and realize that we should also charge for the strategy and discovery session of any project.
There’s nothing cheap about a Logo. a strong logo design can bring a company millions. Like someone mentioned McDonald, Nike, and I’m going to say Puma. These are just three Conglomerates that have been out there for decades. A Logo is an Identity. That a company can soar off. Think about it there’s nothing cheap about an identity or its’ logo.
CHARGE BY THE HOUR!!! Then you can estimate a crazy high amount of hours to get the work done and make some money. That was sarcasm by the way.
DON’T charge by the hour. Why would you penalize yourself for being efficient if you work fast? Why would you hurt yourself if you needed to spend a lot of time on it and need to pull in a resource here or there for additional concepts or help?
Figure out the clients you want to work with. Startups? A business a few years old? A business that’s outgrown their brand? It’ll be easier to get an idea of pricing.
Value based pricing is the way to go. You need to know their goals and objectives. What forms of communication is going to be used to reach their audience or better yet, what their marketing budget is. If the logo is going to be used in print and digital and the client grows to become a million dollars in gross revenue and you charged them $100 does that devalue your work? They’re going to EXPECT cheap work from you and it will only hurt you when working on additional work with them. Or especially if they refer you to someone else. They’re going to expect you to be cheap.
However, if you were to learn their marketing budget was say 30-40k for the year. Would 8-10% of that be worth the investment when their logo will be seen by as many people, be worn on apparel by as many people. You could make the case of what the “price per impression” would be based on their lead or prospect list. That logo will be the first introduction to their company. What is that worth to the client?
MAKE SURE YOU PUT CONTEXT TO YOUR PRICE!!! If the prospect STILL has price objections, don’t take the job. Don’t be afraid to say no. NO one want’s to be told no so most times they’ll say yes becuase the value of getting the job done instead of finding someone else is worth it. Time = Money!!! If they still say no, give them the number of someone who will do it cheaper. That prospect isn’t worth your time.
If you’re hard up for work, I still wouldn’t devalue your price. I would say something along the lines of, “This is typically a $3500 job. I understand you’re in “a particular situation.” and I really believe in your product. If you can commit to another project with me now (find out what that is) I can do the logo for “name your price.” This way, you set the expectation that you’re not dirt cheap and you’re on the same side and willing to work with them.
Or ask them, what CAN you afford. If they give you a number to laugh at, pass on it. If they say they can do it for something just under your need, and it meets your needs. Go ahead and take the job. But make sure you let them know this is a special circumstance.
Why not go the extra mile and ask about their brand strategy? Sell higher value services that solve a problem. Then, bury the cost of the logo in that exploration meeting. I typically start my brand strategy meeting and logo execution at $5k. That’s start. I also use that number to gauge if they’re serious and if they have the money. I’ll typically approach an ask like this. “I’ve provided brand strategy and identity services for as much at 15k but also as low as 5k depending on the complexity of the strategy. Does that sound like ok to you?” That’s typically a good place to start. Start feeling comfortable talking about money and bring it up early. You’ll start getting of what your niche is able to afford.
Thank you for posting this information. My son is in High School and has already been doing a little work as a freelance graphic designer. He asked me How much he should be charging for his work, and that’s how I found you.
I am a graphic designer with 15 years of experience in NYC. I work full time and just picked up a freelance gig. Any advice on how to structure pay? I’m getting mixed information about charging per hour and charging per project. If charging per hour, how do you keep track to show your client how many hours you worked and how is payment received from the client? If you are charging per project, how much is it OK to charge for extras you do i.e. extra revisions, etc. Thank you!
i recently started to work as a graphic designer but all my life been in fashion field
i’m stil not sure how much should i charge per project if i have given a task to create a daily planer for 2020
If anyone has any recomendations, i would love to hear from you
Also, on a side note, make sure that you’re not using a student version of your software when doing professional freelance work and getting paid for it. That is a big no-no.
I found for me flyer designs are way easier for me than Logo Designs. I was charging the same rate for a while $150 per project then discovered that many times logo designs would start rolling on for extra time as you end up going through many variations before you get a client to commit to one or two then refine them till you have a n amazing logo. A few logo designs became a painfully long process so after those I upped the price of logo designs and basically doubled that price to $300 and still feel that is too low for a few of the designs. Logos for me usually start with anywhere between 4 and 30 versions if the juices are flowing, sometimes a client falls in love with an early preliminary and we move on quickly to the final versions other times it takes forever. I also had a bunch of clients that were pretty consistent in wanting projects done as soon as possible that is when I implemented a rush fee ioption for clients that needed things pushed ahead of other projects. Ever since I added the rush option I have done a ton more rush jobs and it helps me schedule my projects better and provides me extra income for fast projects.
So now I do flyers at $150 each at 3-5 business day turn around or $200-300 for faster same day to 2 day turnaround. I know there are flyer designers charging only $60 per flyer out there but the quality is usually way lower and they often charge for any revisions so you end up closer to my price by the time it’s done anyway LOL. I also DJ so I also have to send estimates to clients when they want me to DJ a party, birthday or wedding etc… Pricing, sending quotes and bidding out your services is a hard part of being an independent contractor or freelancer. An sometimes you never know if you didn’t land a client because you might have priced a project too high or too low sometimes too low they think less of you LOL Imagine that.
I usually don’t do the book designs, as an independent project. As I do printing too, so I usually absorbed the design cost as a full design and print project. Recently one of my clients asked me to quote for designing 60 page booklet. Most probably I will print it too, but initially I have to submit my quote for design separately.
Marinda, any tips what to quote for book/booklet designing….
Miranda, I apologies of typing wrong spellings of your name.
That was a great and comprehensive article…all the tips enumerated and explained will be helpful for those who are wise enough to tap from it. Any business nowadays without social media signals and presence may not make it to the outermost, and investment too is part of the key to success in business. Keep up the good work.
Great post-Miranda, I also believe that there are lots of factors you want to remember when setting costs of graphic designers and tricky just like what you have got elaborated. Another way that you could consider while figuring your charge is based totally on your abilities and experience. The value of the dwelling for your u. S. A . also needs to be considered much like within the Philippines and India wherein the price of image designers is low because the fee of living is drastically low in comparison to the United Kingdom and the US. I’ve encounter to a freelancing site called dinamicostudio.Com wherein I’ve hired an low cost photo dressmaker. I also recognize that as an agency we shouldn’t bargain quality over fee. That’s why earlier than I lease a photo fashion designer I test them first which allows me to peer who among them has the ability to do the job.
Very much helpful tips for setting rates as a freelance graphic designer.
In graphic designing field i am in beginner stage. For me this type of informative post is really helpful.
Thanks for sharing.
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This is good article. Thanks for the update.
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