Clients need to know. Designers, too.
One client might think a designer is stalling by not sending an immediate quote, as if the designer wants to figure out how much is available. But the designer is by no means guaranteed the business, so it makes more sense to offer a quote as soon as possible.
Thing is, no project is the same and every client differs. A designer can’t give an accurate quote until a design brief is in place, and that doesn’t happen until after talking.
This design pricing formula does a little to explain the complexity of cost.
Update: March 2011
If you’re a design student or a self-employed designer, here’s a collection of resources that might help: Advice for design students.
Update: January 2013
To learn about pricing from other designers, get the free “Pricing your work” chapter from Work for Money, Design for Love by joining the mailing list on davidairey.com.