How to price graphic design is a question I’m often asked. As such, here are a few things to consider when setting your graphic design rates.
Marly Gommans‘ staircase
You have a skill
You’re offering your clients a service. You have a talent that they don’t, and they expect to pay good money for good design. You’re not in competition with the client’s neighbour’s son who has a copy of Photoshop. Far too many designers are undervaluing the wealth of knowledge and experience they’ve amassed because they feel compelled to compete with amateurs. Don’t devalue yourself. People expect to pay well for a quality service. They know that more often than not, you get what you pay for.
It’s okay to specialise
A potential client will sometimes expect just one graphic designer to handle everything from ecommerce websites and communication strategies to book cover design, page layout, and vehicle wraps. That needs a lot of expertise, and you deserve to be well compensated for it. That doesn’t mean you need to take on jobs that don’t excite you. If you want to specialise, and if you think you can make a good living by focusing on particular areas of design, go for it. I’ve been specialising in brand identity design since 2005 and it’s that specialism that’s helped me attract the clients I’m looking for.
Share a bit of “process”
Forget those $50 logo sites. I don’t need to tell you there’s a lot of work involved in a design project that clients don’t often see, but it’s worth remembering that your job is to show people the value of what you do. If you don’t, potential clients might think you just jump in front of a computer, type their company name using a nice typeface, then add a swoosh for some “visual interest.”
Competition, differentiation, market-positioning, audience profiles… these are just a few of the topics you need to question your client about in order to produce an effective design.
Streamline your initial discussions
I’ll often receive a request for a quote that’s similar to this:
“We need a logo and website for our restaurant. Please let us know how much this costs and how long it will take to complete.”
Thing is, it’s impossible to give a quote without knowing more. By having some standardised questions prepared in advance you can speed up your client acquisition as well as weed out those people who want it all for a couple hundred quid. I’ve compiled a some advice in this followup post: Handling the client approach.
And here are a few pricing resources that you might find useful:
- How 20 designers charge their clients
- Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines
- The design pricing formula
- “Nobody bought the cheapest option.“