What goes into design pricing?

Clients often come to me with the question of how much a logo or identity design costs. One thing worth stressing is that a lot of time and effort goes into crafting a successfully designed brand identity. So here’s a bit of what I take into account when pricing design work.

Priced for Value

Pricing can vary widely depending on the project scope and deliverables, but at a minimum, you have to take into account time for research, strategy, meetings, creative design, presentation, file prep and the rights and ownership to the final approved artwork.

This last aspect often goes unaccounted for by both clients and designers. Clients need to understand that in addition to contracting a designer to deliver a product; be it a brand brief document, a logo, or a business card design, they are also paying for the time it takes to research, design and create these deliverables as well as the rights to use this intellectual property.

For designers, the tendency is to undercharge clients for full ownership of artwork. Lost on many designers is the idea that work can be licensed for limited use. For example, you could create a logo for a client and charge a fee based on a limited amount of years the logo can be in use before needing to be renegotiated. This does not happen often, and is not practical for most businesses, but there are instances where it could be useful and it can be done. This also gives notion to what you are giving up when you neglect to take the sale of full exclusive rights in to account.

The Cost of Doing Business

Just like any business, design firms have overhead costs like rent, utilities, advertising, salaries, etc. There is the cost of equipment, software and professional development to stay current with trends and techniques and improve skills. And like any business, profit needs to also be included in the pricing of services. Otherwise, you are soon to be out of business.

All of these things go into design pricing. Pricing for the product delivered, pricing for the service provided, pricing for the value that your work can bring to a client’s business. Realizing that design can bring value to a business is key to understanding design pricing. A well researched and thought out brand identity should work for and “lobby” on behalf of a business. And that is a value worth charging for.

This value is one of the main differences between what a strategic designer or design firm brings to the table and what you’ll get for $100 from 99designs. Cheap design is based on volume not value. Ask yourself if that is who you want working for you.

I price my design based on the value I can create for your business. If you look at design as an investment, as opposed to just another cost, you’ll realize that the more you invest, the bigger the return can be.

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