THE PRICE OF
(WITHOUT SELLING YOUR SOUL)
One of the most common questions I get asked as a freelance graphic designer is the age old, “How much does [insert any design project here] cost?” And the honest answer? “How long is a piece of string?” – It’s essentially the same thing.
Although designers will generally have “starting from” prices, what you’re asking for and how rates are calculated really depends on a lot of factors. Let’s delve in a little…
When working with a graphic designer, the total cost / hourly rate you are quoted will almost completely depend on the original brief you supply. This price may also vary from project to project as there will naturally be different deadline, detail and budget factors that need to be considered for each client.
For example a flat-rate, basic logo design may start from £300, but depending how urgent the deadline is, how much research / competitor analysis you’d like, how many iterations or concepts are required and whether or not you’re looking for an additional brand guidelines document will naturally affect the total cost of the project. Conversely, if you’re completely flexible on your deadlines or project turnaround times and your preferred graphic designer is fully booked for a few weeks, they also may be willing to be flexible with that particular project’s quote, to ultimately win your work and build a good working relationship with you.
A word to the wise; if your instant reaction to a quote is “How much?! Mr So-n-so’s son down the road would do this for me for £10 and the “exposure”…” – then why on earth are you approaching a professional freelance designer in the first place?
The type / scale of project
Depending on the type of project you’re working on, some designers may choose to either offer you a flat-rate, meaning one cost for the entire project with certain parameters in place to manage everyones expectations, or an hourly rate, where they will keep a detailed timesheet and bill you according to the total time spent.
While an hourly rate can be more financially appealing for a designer to quote when taking into consideration how many revisions and amendments a client may want / go through, it’s also the more daunting of the options as it requires a lot of trust from both sides. The client needs to trust that the graphic designer will keep their timesheet honestly and fairly and the designer needs to trust that the client will pay their bills, as generally with this way of working, no deposit is taken up front. *Cue a face of horror*
Flat-rate design projects on the other hand will almost always require an up-front deposit to cover the initial time spent researching and developing, with final payments being secured before items are either sent to print, sent over email, made live or otherwise.
Oh you’re a freelancer?! How cheap can you create this for me?! Professional freelance graphic design does by no means automatically equals cheap design or people willing to work for pittance to build up a portfolio. Freelancers, much like any other working professional, will spend years studying, training, adapting and honing their skills to be able to provide you with a high quality product, which if you ask me, we still often underprice.
How much a freelance designer will charge will also ultimately come down to how experienced or in demand they are, the quality of their work and their ability to deliver on time.
Think about it like this, if in full-time employment and depending on their location, a junior graphic designer could earn anywhere from £15,000 to £22,000; a mid-weight designer, between £20,000 – £35,000 and a senior designer / director position, £35,000 and beyond. It’s therefore understandable when you see junior – mid-weight freelance designers charging a daily rate of anywhere between £250 – £400, or an hourly rate of £30 – £50.
Finally, and please always remember, that it is 100% in our best interest (as a freelancer) to quote you, the client, fairly and competitively because at the end of the day, we know that there’ll always be someone out there willing to do the job cheaper.
But if ever in doubt, just remember the old saying…
You get what you pay for 😉