Newer designers often ask me what they should charge their clients. As much as I want to, I can't give specifics, as I try to explain with this pricing formula.

design pricing formula

Expertise: No-one knows better than you how much talent you have, how much time you’ve devoted to learning, or how much you need to earn to makes ends meet.

Specification: All design projects have their differences. Even logo projects. You should always price according to the client.

Time: Clients will expect to pay more if you’re working to a particularly tight deadline — if you’re designing for an imminent event, for example, and there’s no scope to change the date.

Demand: I don’t pitch, but some designers do. If you spend a lot of time pitching for projects you never win, your quotes will need to reflect the fact that much of your work goes unpaid.

Economy: If a client’s local currency takes a hit, and it’s a project you particularly want to work on, lowering your rate might be the answer.

Location: There was a rare instance when an overseas client was reluctant to hire me because we couldn’t meet face-to-face. Now, that doesn’t affect what I charge, but it might affect what a client is willing to pay.

I’ll leave you with some advice from Pip Jamieson via Creative Review.

“If you’re a studio and trying to work out what to charge clients for projects then a good (but very basic) rule of thumb is to allocate a third of the project cost to time spent on the project (i.e., salary allocation), a third to fixed costs (i.e., studio rent, amenities, legal, accounting, etc.) and a third to profit. For example, if the cost of your team that’s allocated to the project is £5,000 then you should charge roughly £15,000 (£5,000 to cover the cost of the team + £5,000 to cover fixed costs + £5,000 as your profit).”

And a few pricing resources: