by Julya Buhain . August 2nd, 2014
There’s no standard rate for Graphic Design, and understandably – this makes pricing a bit of a thorny subject in the industry. With each project being unique it’s quite difficult to publish rates at all. I’ve never billed the same amount for two different projects.
Your experiences and your clients will be different from mine so, a lot of things will work differently in your situation. But when it comes to identifying how I’m going to price the project, these are generally my go-to methods. Feel free to pitch into the discussion over on Facebook or Twitter – using the comments on the post or the hashtag #YTDPriceGuide.
The first thing you need to determine before starting any project is the scope. You need to figure out how much work do you really need to do, and analyze what your client really wants and needs out of your project. In order to do this you and your client need to do quite the thorough design brief. You may need to read between the lines and try to explain things as simple as possible. Educating the client is also part of your job.
So when you’re talking to them, try to look out for:
You and your client both have to set in the contract exactly how much work you’ll be doing for them. The minute something else gets added, both you and the client need to sit down and restructure your negotiations accordingly.
Sit down with the client and make sure you get an extremely thorough creative brief. Establishing your deliverable goods is the key to a terrific client experience.
If you’re doing graphic work for a bigger company, you should price higher because usually – as a designer – you’re an extension of their Marketing Department which is something the company should have a set budget for. Or you’re being brought in by their current art director for your skills. Whatever it is, these corporations have a budget for you so don’t feel bad about billing them higher. However, a small town coffee shop is going to have different needs and a different price point and budget for their work. You yourself have to check out what are your clients limitations and whether or not you want to work around that.
Again, if the ‘small town coffee shops’ budget doesn’t meet your needs – it’s perfectly acceptable to decline a project.
Time is also a factor as well. A client who needs something THEN AND THERE can be billed at a higher rate then a client that you’ve mentally blocked out a schedule for. I tend to do this as a sort of ‘life disruption’ fee, because your client has effectively made their problem - your problem, to put it quite frankly. Usually an urgent deliverable good is a sign of a communication error down the stream and someone trying to save their own neck. This means at times, you may need to drop some of your personal time to get it done. If they don’t understand why you’re billing them extra – they don’t value your time. This is also a red flag. Take note of this.
Now, okay. At this point in the article you may be wondering where the actual figures are. Before we get to that – there are a few other things you have to kind of set up at the start of the project.
There are quite a bit of hidden considerations with both aspects and we’ll try to go through the process and give you some tips about which method to choose for which client. You, as a freelancer can use either method depending on the situation. A lot of it has to to do with asking yourself: “which would benefit me and my client the most?”
These are projects that you take at either at an hourly, daily or weekly structure. This structure may benefit you if:
Your client pays you in segments of your project or in trenches. You group things in phases such as: Research, Concept, Production, Iterations and Launch. This is also having a flat rate structure. This structure may benefit you if:
After all these considerations, here are some benchmark guides to the current going rates of creative professionals. Price according to your situation.
Julya leads the double life of being a graphic designer and a writer. Some of her favourite things in the world are nicely kerned typefaces, bubble tea and nerd humor. She holds the world record for watching the film Inception more times than necessary.