Graphic Design Pricing

Tools, Resources and Advice About Graphic Design Rates

Dealing with the financial side of our business can be difficult for graphic designers. There are many factors to consider and issues that may arise when determining the graphic design pricing for your projects. This list of resources, tools and articles provides help when it comes to design rates, budgets and time tracking.

A common decision to be made when starting a graphic design project is the method of design pricing you want to use. Two common choices are flat or an hourly design rate. Each method has pros and cons, as well as ways to work towards a fair deal for both you and your client. In general, charging an hourly rate is best for work that is considered “updates,” such as changes to a website after launch or revisions on an existing print design for additional uses. It is common to charge a flat rate for large design projects, and for repeating projects for which the designer can accurately estimate the hours.  More »

Charging a flat rate for graphic design projects is often a good idea, because both you and your client know the cost from the start. Unless the scope of the project changes, the client doesn’t have to worry about going over budget, and the designer is guaranteed a certain amount. This step-by-step guide will help you determine your flat rate design pricing.  More »

One of the aspects of graphic design pricing is setting an hourly rate. Your hourly rate is important because it will position you in relation to your competitors, determine what your flat rates are for projects, and of course directly affect what you earn. Fortunately, there is a method to follow to figure out at least a ballpark for your rate, which may then need to be adjusted based on the market. This step-by-step will walk you through the process. More »

A retainer is a fee paid for a pre-determined amount of time or work. Most commonly, a percentage of a retainer is paid up-front for a specified number of hours or days of work within a time period, based on your hourly design rate. More »

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Graphic Design Pricing in a Recession

Even in tough times, people are always going to need things designed. Here are some ways to save you and your clients money as you take your design business through a recession. Included is advice on discounts, reducing printing costs, fee reduction, ways to save on advertising and budgets. 

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Time Tracking in Graphic Design

There are many benefits to time tracking in your graphic design business. Keeping track of the hours you spend on projects, and specific tasks, can help you set your design pricing, improve your business, and even save time in future projects. There are also many methods of time tracking, from handwritten notes to automated software packages

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What To Do When You Want to Raise Your Hourly Design Rates

Over time, graphic designers will want to, or have to, raise their hourly rate for design work. When taking on new clients, this is easy, because the client does not necessarily know your previous rates. When raising design pricing on existing clients, this can get a little trickier. You don't want to lose a client over a $15 an hour increase, but you also often cannot continue to keep a client on at an old rate.

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Interview with Tracey Halvorsen, Principal and Creative Director at Fastspot

Tracey Halvorsen is a blogger, painter, author, speaker and Principal and Creative Director at Fastspot, a Baltimore, Maryland-based interactive agency. I had chance to interview her about the many aspects of running a design business, from social networking to determining design pricing to the importance of failure.

Read Tracy's advice on design pricing and budgets.

Finding our your client's budget can save a lot of time and aggravation. By simply asking, or researching, how much a client can spend you can often determine not only if you can take a job, but what type of service you can provide. As there are often variables that can greatly affect graphic design pricing, it will help you work with the client rather than quoting blindly and potentially losing a project. More »

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The Benefits of a Client Revealing their Budget

It is often difficult to find out your client’s budget. While some may reveal it, others will want to get the cost of your design pricing from you first. However, with some explanation regarding the benefits of a disclosed budget, some clients will talk money with you early in the process and this will often save you time and improve your relationship with the people you design for. Please note that these ideas are suggestions, and how you deal with your own clients should always depend on your existing relationship with them and personal preference

There are many options for billing clients. At the most basic level, you can choose between a flat or hourly rate. There are also combinations of the two, as well as working on retainer. It is also important to decide how often you will bill your clients, and how much of a payment to require up-front. Here are various options to consider when billing your clients and advice on determining your design pricing. More »

When creating a proposal for a new graphic design job, one of the most difficult steps is estimating the design pricing. It can be helpful to break down the necessary tasks to reach an estimate of the hours, which you can multiply by your hourly rate to provide a quote. Here is a list of tasks to remember. Keep in mind these may not apply to every project, and there may be others not mentioned here. You may not want to reveal to the client every small task, so it might be helpful to combine many of the items to provide a shorter list to your client, or to just provide a flat cost that isn't itemized. More »

When working as a graphic designer, you are bound to have clients who want projects done on a short deadline. You will probably become too familiar with “I need this now.” When this happens, you have to first decide if you have the time to complete the project on deadline, and then decide whether or not to charge a rush fee. This should be handled on a case-by-case basis, and in the end comes down to the personal preference of the designer. There are, however, several things to consider that can help you decide whether or not to charge more for work done quickly. More »

When working as a graphic designer, you will inevitably come across clients with limited budgets. In some cases, this may mean you need to decline the job. However, other projects have benefits beyond pay, and you will find yourself looking for ways to work within the client’s budget. There are several reasons you may want to do so, and several ways to make it less likely to regret your decision. More »

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Setting Up Payment Schedules for Graphic Design Projects

After working out a budget with a client, it’s important to set up a payment schedule. This helps to keep the project on target and makes both parties comfortable with the payments owed and the work being done. A payment schedule that defines your design pricing should benefit both the client and the designer.

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Ask the Client What Their Budget Is

Deciding what your design pricing should be for projects can be tricky. Factors such as the amount of time needed to complete the job, deadlines, copyright use and printing costs all come into play. Just as important as these factors is the client’s budget. Quote too high and you may lose the job… quote too low and you can miss out on a fair price or even make the client question your skills.

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Negotiation Technique

When going into a meeting with a potential graphic design client, negotiating design pricing will often be the most difficult part of the conversation. Talking about the design or technical side of a project is usually relatively easy. In a negotiation, both parties should be looking for a mutually beneficial relationship; the designer gets a price he or she sees as fair for the amount of work, and the client gets quality work within their budget.

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What To Do When a Client Will Not Pay

In a perfect world, clients would always pay on time and in full. However, over the course of a graphic design career, it is almost inevitable to come across late paying clients.

Billable is a free online invoice creator with a free invoice template. The easy to use, one page app allows you to create an invoice online and then print it or save it as a PDF. More »

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The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines

The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines is an excellent resource that covers graphic design pricing and business practices across all types of design professions, contracts, law, professional relationships and more.

Billings, by marketcircle, is time tracking and invoicing software for the Mac. Billings has a simple and clean user interface that makes time tracking easy, and it allows for complete control over design of estimates and invoices. More »

As a graphic design business grows, using time tracking software can help you keep organized, properly bill your clients, set your design rates and study your workflow. There are many stand-alone time tracking applications, as well as options that are part of larger project management packages. More »