Logo pricing can be difficult for a designer to figure out, especially when first in business. But with time, and experience, it becomes obvious that designers are doing clients a disservice if a price is set before the task is fully understood.
No project is the same, and every client differs, so it makes sense that a designer can’t give an accurate quote until the project details are known, and that doesn’t happen until after a conversation.
The design pricing formula does a little to explain the complexity of cost. And here’s what a few particularly smart folk have to say about pricing.
“In the long run, to be the cheapest is a refuge for people who don’t have the flair to design something worth paying for, who don’t have the guts to point to their product or their service and say, ‘this isn’t the cheapest, but it’s worth it.’”
— Seth Godin
“Price accurately, identify scope creep, communicate points clearly, and bill for every moment worked. I don’t propose unethical behavior, but failing to bill for your time, cheats everyone.”
— Eric Karjaluoto
“I’ve given you my price and it’s the price that I need to charge to bring a deep sense of obligation to the job. Will I work for less? Probably. Can you negotiate with me? Sure. We can have that type of relationship if you really want me to be that type of designer and you want to be that type of client.”
— Blair Enns
For more on the elusive practice of setting design rates:
The dark art of pricing by Jessica Hische
Picasso and pricing your work on davidairey.com
How LO can you GO?
How to price design services
Saying “no” by Jason Santa Maria (a great 20-minute talk on valuing your time)
To learn about pricing from other designers, there’s a “Pricing your work” chapter in Work for Money, Design for Love, plenty on the topic throughout the Identity Designed book, and a “pricing” section in the design resources page on davidairey.com.
So Dave, Where do you start? I’d love to compare pricing processes across the the different firms reading this.
The problem is like most industries nobody sticks together to keep the value of the work up, somebody will always break away and offer cheap prices. It’s a shame but it’s true. (Nice blog David)
It’s tricky, Matt. That formula post does a little to show why I can’t help much when people ask what to charge. Congratulations on the office move, by the way.
Toon, you could see it as a problem, but in general the quality decreases in line with price. I don’t work with people who place little value on their identity, so it works both ways. There’ll always be those who understand the importance of good brand identity.
I have been charging from $650-$1500 for logo designs. I basically charge $50 an hour and my typical quote for logo work is 20 hours, which includes research and a couple of rounds of revisions. I have had several satisfied clients at these prices.
Great site. I always enjoy reading up on what you’ve been working on.
I do a lot of work for smaller businesses and can generate a lot of repeat business if I play my cards right. I often will package a logo project with business cards and letterhead. I generally figure about 20-30 hours of work total for each package and bill between $1000 and $1600.
I love your site! It’s been a fantastic resource.
I recently started a new design company specializing in identity and branding packages. For a logo alone, including the vector and jpg files I typically charge anywhere from $900-1500, for a small business and $3000 and up for a midsized-large businesses.
Thanks very much, Joe, Ellen.
For those who offer a $100 logo — please don’t! It undermines and devalues the entire design industry! Most people wouldn’t take you seriously and cheep isn’t somthing we should be advocating.
I’ve been in the business for nearly 20yrs and can’t believe that someone wouldn’t want to invest any more into their logo than a $100! It is an investment into their business and this type of component can’t be done cheap. It will be the cornerstone to every piece of collateral they create, and should be able to stand the test of time. Price: $750 min. – $1600 ave (small company). $2k – $5k (med/ larger), and large corporations $7k – $15k and beyond (I’m located in the Midwest).
We launched our company via a retail gift card, so we needed a strong brand identity. We are delighted with the result for Gift Days Out, and it cost us nearly £3k. If you buy cheap, you pay twice! We will stick with our logo for many moons.
So many times does a logo require more than just a few comps. It often requires research, brand positioning, and finally execution and revisions. Good logos are identities, crap logos are produced for $50 via spec work.
You get what you pay for.
Many companies that will end up being very successful do not have a huge start-up budget. A logo is very important but so is financial responsibility.
An example you will always hear…the Nike logo cost only $35.
It’s 2022, so a little late. Nike, also, got their slogan from a murderer. They are all about cheap. Says a lot about the brand… even down to the sweat shops.
Love and hate it.
A snippet I read elsewhere:
“Although (Caroline) Davidson left Nike, in September 1983, Knight invited her to a company lunch. There, he presented her with a diamond ring engraved with the swoosh, and Nike stock in an amount that remains a secret. Of the gift, Davidson says, ‘This was something rather special for Phil to do, because I originally billed him and he paid that invoice.’”
I think Knight realised what a bargain he picked up, and it’s worth mentioning that Carolyn was a student in the 70s when her Nike sketch was created. She was paid the average hourly rate for her efforts, covering about 10-15 hours or so.
If designers today believe their logo projects are worth $35, there’s a good chance they’re right.
Ok, I have a quick question for you if you would please. I have recently been hired by a fairly popular musical group to design a new logo for them. They are a national touring group and have a couple of major label CD releases. What do you suggest I charge for that sort of thing? I’m new to charging people really lol. I have done tons of logos and things for people but they were all friends and did it for free. This will obviously be on all of their promotional items and CDs and things, so I want to charge what its worth. Any help is appreciated thanks!
Skoo, what you charge depends less on your client, and more on your skill. Regardless of whether or not you pay the bills with your fee, don’t sell yourself short — you can’t negotiate upwards.
I think that good identity design for a small business is well worth $1,000 +. However, I sometimes see work from established designers who charge that (and more) that I don’t like, and work from some newer , less expensive designers that I think is beautiful. I say this only b/c I don’t believe that a higher price point always means you get a better–or even a good –product, though the chances may be higher if you’re dealing w/ someone who’s experienced. I’ve heard stories from people who’ve lost a lot of $$ b/c they’ve had to hire more than one designer to get what they want. It seems almost like the luck of the draw–you can look at a portfolio, but even if you like what someone has done before, that doesn’t mean he or she will “get” your business and ideas.You can’t knock clients for being cautious. If the logo is exactly what you wanted then you should be happy to pay good money for it. BUT, an expensive logo that misses the mark is basically worthless and depending on yr budget/finances, it could mean taking a substantial loss.
Nic, you mention the following:
“I don’t believe that a higher price point always means you get a better product.”
Completely agree. The chances are improved, but it’s not guaranteed, and the client has a responsibility to do some research before choosing a designer.
LOVE THIS THREAD!
I agree with so much of it. Especially the logo designers cgharging $50 for a brand that under-cuts and devalues what established and proven designers are producing. Much as people who get a free “Build You Own Website” CD on a magazine and then start offering websites for $99, devalues what true/trained designers working in the medium of the Internet are doing.
I also try not to work for people with a $100 budget as there is always as much work involved in a simple logo as in brochure…but people seem to accept the fact that a brochure will cost them more?
So much so, I recently did a job for ‘friends’ – always a mistake – but after 3 weeks work, 5 original ideas, fine-tuning the final logo and implementing it for print and digital media, by ‘mates rate’ bill of $300 was scoffed at!
(I feel better for that)
Wow! Do you have any idea what prices are in Romania? There are “companies” that charge 25 dollars on a logo or so. And this happens only because there will always be some hungry and cheap students that would charge the smallest price ever just to get some food on their table.
And, please don’t fool yourselves, those students work very good and they’re full of good ideas and understand the concept of marketing, advertising, pr and publicity.
i have recently entered into design… finally got my finger out and decided to get images out of head and off the paper and onto a computer… however i’m finding it hard with the pricing as i dont know anybody in this line of work… my projects are rather small and for people i know which is an added obstacle… so i cant charge huge amounts… however… i cant constantly sell myself short… is there a rough standanrd to go by or is it a case of just winging it…
“i have recently entered into design… however i’m finding it hard with the pricing as i dont know anybody in this line of work”
I’m in the same boat. Added to that I have no formal design education and a very limited portfolio, so it’s difficult to “sell” a client on a project at a reasonable rate. (that brings up another question I thought of about what you should include in your portfolio… but that’s for another time I guess)
When I first started, I found it useful to set an hourly rate — one I’d be happy working for. Then, when confronted with a new client project, I’d estimate how many hours it would take, and multiply by my set rate, giving myself a rough total cost.
With experience it becomes much easier to set flat rates (and I fully recommend doing so), but there’s no exact science given the wide range of variables.
The design pricing formula mentioned in a previous comment highlights why at one point or another we all struggle.
I have a general question, which we are on the subject of pricing. I gave a reference for someone to design a logo for a family member, and they gave 5 different options to choose from, but they were all stock graphics. The charge was $500. I wondered if this is usual business practice to use stock art graphics with some wording and charge that for a logo?
Hi Julie, no, it’s not normal business practice, and some stock art websites will label it a breach of copyright.
David I think your website is great!!!
I live in Dublin, Ireland and studying Graphic Design.
Im doing a lot of freelance work and having problems figuring out prices.
I came online to look for some advice and your website has been the best very informative, love the layout!!!
Very happy with the information I found, I will definitely be adding this to my fav list ;) Thanks
You’re very welcome, Janey. Good of you to drop by and comment, and all the best with your studies.
Hi David, i love this page, there’s a lot of information for us designers, and i have to say i visit it every day, for research, doubts, inspiration, everything really. I found very useful all the posts on logo pricing.
And continue with the discussion, most designers have lowered their prices at least one time in their designing time, but it is a real problem because clients don’t take design seriously, im from Mexico and design over here is not valued the way it should be and it makes me mad, really.
I utilize quite a lot of software in order to complete my requests depending on what the demands of the clients are and the style of their logos. I also make true 3d photorealistic logos or logos with 3d elements when needed (AFTER explaining the difference between vector and raster).
I charge a very VERY small fee (usually between $10-$65) and I never have to make a second draft after my meeting with the client. I just took a job full time as a GDesigner because I underestimated the value of my work and wasn’t able to hold myself over and go to school. I personally think that educational institutions should teach students how to value their work becuase at school the process was/is undervalued and taken for granted (I thought anyone could research and make a logo).
Most of the time I do use Illustrator, but sometimes raster (photoshop, max, maya, alias, mudbox, zbrush, corel) works just fine for logos (print work). I am not “professionally experienced”, but this is my hobby and my passion.
That cube logo at the top would take me about an hour or two raster and I wouldn’t charge over $100 at all, but that is why I am reading these posts as it is very hard to assign a numeric value to my work. I dropped a logo in an hour today my boss said was a $1,000 logo so I am extremely alarmed and depressed now (and we only got $125 for it, but there is NO way I would charge $1000/hr no matter how complex a logo – animated logo would be a lot different though)!
Locke, that’s why I advise against hourly rates. A flat fee for design projects wins every time.
In the words of Paula Scher, “It took me a few seconds to draw it, but it took me 34 years to learn how to draw it in a few seconds.”
Don’t sell yourself short.
solid gold .. extremely resourseful and informative site!
+fav & +follow
thank you for saving me hours of research hehe and at least giving me a base to start with! :)
David, what are your thoughts on designing a logo with an agreed license specifying an amount of time of use, for example: five years? If a designer still charged a reasonable rate, but was lower than full market price. I would never advocate designing any logo for less than $250 to $500, but if an upstart company wanted a low-cost logo, wouldn’t this be a option to look into?
I’ve never heard of a similar idea, Chris. I’d not recommend it. A logo should be developed for the duration of a company’s lifespan, and sold as such, too.
i’ve been designing for personal use for 5 years now and i love doing it. i was recently approached by a local car dealer to create a new logo and business card for his company. i design very creative business cards and i sell them to people very well, although i believe i undercharge. i charge 250$ per side for a very unique style business card (as opposed to 150$ per side for a plane white business card with the logo in the corner and the persons information). i feel i should be charging more for the creative cards because they’re like what no one has ever seen before. would i be overcharging?
second question, and this one is more useful to this blog. This same client wants me to create a logo for 100$, personally, for 100$ i’ll draw on a napkin and give that to him because i know how complicated and long it is to design the perfect logo for a company (and i’m not willing to do it for 100$). But i need to know, as a salesman, how to make your client understand how valuable a logo really is…i want him to know why he’s paying 750$ for a logo. can you help me find the right words to sell a logo to somebody who thinks it’s simply a 2 color design that should take no more than 2 hours to make?
thank you so much! i love this website!
I have owned an ad agency for 33 years. I am also the creative director. I have created countless logos for small, to medium sized companies. Some of those companies have grown to large corporations and I am happy to say my work has played an important part of their growth. Creating a truly successful logo requires more than an understanding of good graphic design principles. It requires a unique ability— an almost intuitive skill… to translate a marketing message into form and shape.
I never charge less than $2000, and generally charge $4000 and up. This is intense work. I usually spend at least 40 hours to develop a series of looks for a client to choose from. Once the final design is chosen, another 20 hours can go into the final work which is presented in color and black and white.
Stationary and corporate identity guidelines then follow and these are charged separately.
When I started out, all those many years ago, I charged $500. Obviously, my years and experience have put me in a higher bracket, but we all start out low and work our way up.
Hey Sam, thanks a lot for your advice, that’s really helpful! i really needed to find the right words so that these small low budget companies wouldn’t try and hustle me out of my work. i’ll be able to go tell that to my client now!
Marcello and other young designers-
It is important that you convey to your clients that their brand identity is an investment in their company. It is not a one-time project, but something that will walk the path with them for many years. The logo will appear on everything and set the standard for their company image.
As designers, and generally passionate expressive people, we all want to help others. That is an important aspect of life. That’s why there are times when we see an exceptional entrepreneur, with an amazing product, we may “give away” our work at reduced prices. That’s just who we are. But on the whole, no experienced, good designer should be doing logos for less than $750.
Well said, Sam. Great advice.
wow, I have learned so much in the past 15 minutes reading all these posts. I am just graduating design school- however I have won many logo design contests while in my studies and I am excited to have gotten that opportunity. While I did not charge since they were contests and I was just excited for them to be in my portfolio, I am now making logo’s from word of mouth and am not sure how to approach it as far as pricing is concerned. I am an extremely giving person thus I usually sell myself short. As a young designer I am afraid people will expect low prices therefore that is unfortunately what I present. I am doing a logo for someone opening up their own business and she has asked for a logo and a brochure, I was thinking maybe 350$ for the logo and 25$ an hour for the brochure. I’ve been trying to research prices for small businesses and such but I just don’t want to set a price and drive the customers away if it’s too much. How can you tell how much a client is willing to pay?
Unfortunately Danielle, there is no easy answer to this. This is always an educated guess at best and the education comes with experience. Keep in mind, as a young designer, getting work for your portfolio is extremely important. Work that was done in school only shows an artist’s promise and does not carry the same weight as work that was accomplished for a paying client. bringing in a new client, even if you work at reduced costs, will teach you important lessons. Many of these lessons you learn at the expense of the client. It isn’t all about how good you are as a designer. You need to learn how to present yourself, how to collaborate, how to dress to convey professionalism, how to prepare an invoice, how to follow up and keep that relationship alive long after the project is ended.
Don’t be afraid to take on a job, even if you don’t make as much money as you think you should at first. The experience you will gain will force to to think creatively, work with copywriters, deal with printers and the media.
Then as you feel more secure in your new business, you will, and should, start to raise your prices. The best gauge however is the success of the client. Is your work sending them to the bank?
Thanks to everyone who posted the really useful info above! I have a related question:
As a freelance designer, how do you charge your clients? Say you quoted them $50 an hour and estimate 20-30 hours. Do you ask for a deposit first, with the rest upon completion of the project? And what if you are unable to come up with something that the client likes? (Still gotta working on building up the confidence….)
Here’s a series of blog posts that might help, Chris:
How 20 designers charge their clients
I’ve been reading the questions/responses and have found them very helpful. I’m a designer that has been in the advertising business for 19 years. I’ve been given the opportunity to design logos for a couple of different startup companies and like many of us out there, I’m struggling with the pricing factor. After reading the blogs, I’m a little more up to speed on design fees now. The questions I have pertain to the pre-design research. What is involved and what exactly would I be looking for in the research? Any comments or suggestions would be helpful.
Hi Steve, I cover essential elements of research in my book Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities. In it you’ll find questions to ask your client, along with explanations why these questions are necessary, and how the answers help the process.
Glad you found the reader responses here of help.
I’m quite impressed about the charges mentioned in most of the comments, even though i’ve always thought a logo should be payed around $600.
On the web I found such crazy things(more than once) like people trying to pay $10 for a logo!!! I don’t think the majority understands what a logo is worth.
To everyone that has commented on this post, I love it. I have read every comment.
What I do recommend is the “Graphic Artists Guild Handbook.” It has helped and comes with contracts for from Logo to Motion Graphics, Patterns to 3D designs.
Like most have said, There is no set price. Being in the music industry I have learned you are not paying for the work only but the past works. Meaning if I did that Nike Swoosh today in this day and age would someone pay me $2500 for it? Good question.
So here is what I’ve learned. Its all about your portfolio and who you have become. If Donald Trump made that Nike swoosh live on TV, and someone cleared it up nicely in Illustrator, the worth is great because of Trump. If a high school graphic designer did the same thing live in front of his family it’s worth a lot but maybe only to his family. It’s not until you see a pattern or nowadays portfolio. Always get a retainer or half up-front and have a contract. When that company you designed a basic logo for goes 400 billion worldwide a contract helps you get compensated.
It is appalling to me that any company that is serious about their business would not be willing to invest in a professional logo and brand identity to represent their company. Would they hire a lawyer and expect to pay $10 per hour – or have a law student handle their lawsuit for $50.00? ridiculous. Unfortunately our industry has been undermined and devalued by our very own. Starving designers and amateurs are all toooo willing to do anything for anyone at any price! and our profession just isn’t taken seriously — most often by “smaller” or “uneducated” businesses or entrepreneurs. (THEY NEED TO BE EDUCATED!). The conversation begins with you!!! because they assume designing is just playing around on the computer? and their nephew can “draw real good”. They don’t know how to compensate true “talent” nor understand the tangible value a logo can bring to their company. A min standard should be $500.00 across the board. no matter if it is for your brother, sister or mother! If you give something away it has absolutely no value to the client, no worth or respect. If it is cheep it will always be a “cheep” logo in their mind. The more they pay the more they will respect you, your talent, and will like the logo even more!
as far as the famous NIKE logo goes, brings up a very intriguing thought about the possibility of changing the terms and compensation. How about setting up a fee structure similar to photography or music rights? The ownership of the intellectual property would always remain with the creator. the designer. Why not have a usage fee? a scale-able fee structure depending upon how much exposure, usage, size of the business etc. ? small business may pay the original development “creation fee” of $500.00, then would get $35 – $75 a month. A larger corporation could be $200 – $300 a month? A retail clothing manufacturer; could be 5¢ – 25¢ per item that the mark it is labeled on??? that NIKE designer could have made millions, instead of $75.00 (and see ya later fella). Why not be compensated accordingly to the success of the company??? That mark is the essence of the brand, and the mark that the entire planet recognizes.
Thank you all for taking the time to post your comments. I have read every single post with great interest.
Thank you David for this site and information. Very helpful! I will be looking into your book and purchasing if for sale!
I have a very high respect for designers and not only their talent but their creative mentality. I hope one day to be as experienced as Sam, David and each of you who have contributed.
Keep up the good work!
I love this site and thread. Let me tell you… I am still in school for Web and Graphic Design and have only just started offering my services professionally, and I was so confused about what to charge people for projects! This thread gives me a lot of great advice on where to start out. Thank you!!
This is a great post, the Craigslist ad, but the price range is still too low.
I did a research project to find out what local (and international) designers and firms charge for “corporate identity development” and came up with the following results, a low of $4,000 for a logo and stationery and a high (a large international firm) of $150,000-$175,000 for the same thing…..
Of course, scale is relevant here. If you’re designing a logo for a hair stylist, they won’t be able to afford $1,000, even though multiplied by 5 years of their yearly income that should be quite reasonable for them. But what if you’re designing a identity package for a hair salon in Union Square San Francisco, or New York or Chicago. Then they better pay several thousands of dollars for their branding.
The best rule of thumb I’ve read recently was on a post on LinkedIn where a designer said that at minimum, a good logo development project will take between 20 to 40 hours of work. Assuming it’s 40 hours of work, multiply that by your hourly rate, whatever that is, and that’s your fee!
Yes! 40 hours of work, if you’re a real designer coming up with an innovative way of expressing all that matters to your client and their customers, as opposed to picking and choosing a couple of fonts and some clip art and throwing a drop shadow and emboss filter on them….
So, definitely determine an hourly rate and a number of hours and go from there.
I landed on this post by Googling “designers charge package design” after racking my brain on what to charge a new client. Thanks for the great post and the great comments. I also went ahead and purchased the “Logo Design Love” ebook. I’ve been an in-house designer for a decade and take on maybe take a new project every month. I always struggle with pricing but I think I’ll struggle less armed with all this new insight. Mahalo!
Thanks very much for the purchase, Valentino. If you have time, and once you’ve read my book, I’d love to get your feedback.
I’ve been reading and enjoying everyone’s tips. I have a question for anyone willing to comment: In order to attain and keep customers, does one NEED, say, a BA in Graphic Design or certification that guarantees experience? Or, could one start a Logo design business solely based on a portfolio without proper education?
If the world waited for a BA, we would be sorely pressed for a great deal of creative brilliance and innovation. Having a formal education is important, but the plain fact is that many people just cannot afford it. Should that stop them from pursuing their passion? No. Can they learn on their own? Yes. Can they become world-class designers? Yes. Is it easier with an education? Yes. Do people take you more seriously when you have a degree? Yes.
Not one client, in more than 30 years, has ever asked me where I got my degree. They always ask to see my portfolio.
If your bliss is creating great graphics, or cooking, or composing, or breeding goldfish, whatever… then do it. The proof is in the result. A great portfolio shows more than a degree any day.
Thank you very much Sam, your words made more sense to me than all of the advice I’ve heard previously. I’m very grateful, thank you again Sam! I wish you luck for everything your future brings.
Hi Kelton, I’m glad you found Sam’s advice of use (thanks for commenting, Sam). All the best with your own design efforts.
The talk time before beginning a logo project is worth $100 alone.
A client may never ask about your degree, but you almost need an MBA to deal with the ones who want to spot you $50 for the entire job.
I use my own rate of hours to produce the work.
Set aside minimum of 4 to 8 hours billing time, any revisions under 2 hours are included. 2 hours and above are billed at revision rate.
$75 hour for revisions of 2 hours or more.
IF I DECIDE TO DO “non-profit” work I use an hourly rate of $50 an hour for everything, even revisions. Non-profits have money, and need to pay for services. Often their work requires more hours than a regular paying client commands.
There can always be add-on fees for design work requiring specific time needed for special requests — like the logo that needs to animate. This is definitely more than a $50 logo design.
Im new to Logo making all the information has been very helpful. However, I have a question.
Making a break down, for what I could understand.
of the logo the design process, One should:
Calculate hourly rate or flat rate for operations where Research, Preparations, Concept art creation & revisions are included within the calculations.
Now, after all the work is done and the art work is finished and the client has selected one of the concept arts and they are completely sure thats what they want.
How and what elements do I have to turn in for my client? What Resolution? And how should I present my work to my client? (look wise, this last question refers to my image as a designer)
Hello Jose, you should supply your client with vector artwork — i.e., that which can be scaled to any size without loss of quality. I supply it via email.
I’m not clear about your specific questions, so I hope that helps.
I am really really finding this article and comments extremely interesting. my friend pointed me here after we had a long discussion about my work. I’ve been thinking of starting a graphic design company + logo design company, but to tell the truth it’s scary to me. I haven’t done anything of the sort, and the part I’m struggling most with is not undervaluing my work. Currently I charge $100 for logos because I’ve only designed 5 of them so far, you can see them in my portfolio. Note: the marc landau logo isn’t mine, that was another designer i merely redid all the lettering/coloring/effects in photoshop. the vector was someone else though:
Likewise, some of the websites originated as templates that were heavily modified. A lot of that (80% id say) is completely original work though).
a friend of mine said its stupid I charge 1k for websites and 100 for logos, but really I get extremely nervous asking for more, because I know how naturally it flows for me so I personally would never pay more than like 100 bucks. I’m pretty not wealthy, and young (25 this july 9th :), so I guess the value of money hasnt really sunk in yet.
What do you guys in your professional opinions think of my designs? You can be brutally honest, I enjoy that kind of C&C. I feel you can’t become the person you want to be without being put out of your comfort zone constantly :)
anything that you want to add about
-what i could charge
-what is lacking/what is good about my designs
-any other input
I would so love to hear it, your guys’ opinions from a professional standpoint are worth their weight in gold to me.
Lastly, if anyone has a very good book recommendation about how to start a company or run a design company i would love to hear!
Take care, thanks for reading
David Airey, thank you for the prompt replay, What I meant on my 4th of July post was that in the formality of presenting a logo or artwork, what elements should I Include such as vector art, jpegs, pngs and their different versions ( in case they wanted an outlined art or B/W version of the art) and how should I showcase for presentation? Or how should I portrait my work esthetically (frame or version collage on a same page) My concern is how the client sees me as a professional.First impression is the most important for some people you know.
For example I read that no gradients should be used as backgrounds so I prepare my logos with a white background version and a no background version in png should I include these as well.
Travis, glad you found use in the thread. Sorry I don’t have time to offer a critique, but good luck with your own pricing conundrum.
Jose, you’re very welcome. What’s important is the vector artwork (EPS). Ask your client if they need JPEGs or PNGs, but this aspect should really be taken care of by the person responsible for the web branding (be that you or a web specialist).
Regarding presentation, showing the design in context always helps. I talk about this at more length in my book.
Awsome, thank’s for your time. I’ll look in for your book. God Bless!
Thanks David, I understand you’re a busy guy.
I totally didn’t even realize you had a book either, I will most definitely check it out – I’m not tryin to look for free handouts or anything of that sort
No probs, Travis. You can get a free chapter here.
S. Matrisciano so true! The initlal meeting alone should be worth more than $100. The cheapest job my firm has done for a client was $7000 and this was purely because we knew we could get more business out of them. On average our clients pay $15 – 20,000 for a logo and brand guidelines.
Designers are useless when it comes to money. Myself included. That’s why we have business and production managers who handle that side of the business to make sure we make money!
We need to stop undervaluing our profession. I’ve always admired how well plumbers and electricians value their skills. Why can’t designers do the same?
Maybe we should start calling ourselves design plumbers or graphic electricians, just to force our industry to be smarter about valuing the work en masse… and put these stupid online $69 logo companies out of business….
Or “visual communication attorneys!” Hhhmm…..
I am loving this community you have built with your blogs. They are so very helpful with getting things off the ground.
I am a long time graphic designer ad am finally doing free lance work for myself. this post has been so helpful with figuring out what I should charge.
Like I said I am a long time graphic designers but I am only (technically) in my 2nd year of schooling for it. I am glad to hear what other designers out there are charging because it makes me more aware that I can stand up for my prices.
Do you have any more “typical” price ranges for things like flyer design and tshirt graphic design?
I would LOVE any feedback.
I have been freelancing for only a few years. Its very difficult to know your worth when those around you don’t think it really takes much to design a logo or flyer etc. Especially when they think they could do one themselves in half the time and for free.
Your website gives me hope in believing that there is real value to being a graphic designer and producing the kind of work we do. I am a self-starter and as I havn’t gone through the whole degree process, i did feel less blessed than those who have. But design lies in my heart and is a real passion, and that’s what keep me going :)
I am an artist and my work is on the web. I am asked many times if a company can use my art for business cards and other promotional material.
I make a good return on my art in the form of royalties so, if I decide to work with a company, what should I charge for the use of an existing piece of art as a business card?
Many copy my art without permission .. I know that .. but then I get legitimate requests.
From someone who does this for a living help would be appreciated.
I found this site through google, and found a lot of great info just by reading the responses in this topic.
I have a question for whoever can answer it.
A friend asked if i could design a business card and flyer for their startup business and wants to know how much i would charge for them for this job. They already have their own logo. How much should I charge for the business card and logo?
I have a BA in graphic design and have been designing for a number of years but this is my first freelance gig.
-Any help, advise, tips is appreciated.
Ryan, when you’re designing objects in isolation, such as a t-shirt, it’s much easier to put a specific figure on it. But even then, it depends on your experience, the t-shirt usage (print-run, for instance), the project specs (custom illustration/type, etc.).
Sue, art is something I can’t price. What is it worth to you? I think only you can place a value on the art you’re to sell (unless you get the advice of an art dealer).
Sorry I can’t be of more help.
Branding is not as straightforward as people think, there is research, competitor landscaping and demographics, brand strategy, brand creation such as colour palettes/typography/photography style, iconography, co branding, sponsorship relationships, architecture, there is tone of voice documents, brand guidelines (often precise docs with up to 40 pages), identity guidelines (often as much as 300 pages), then there is implementation costs, such as design for application for stationery, signage, uniforms, advertising approaches, livery, packaging, point of sale, sonics… the list is endless, and it takes months, sometimes years to do fully and properly. Then bear in mind that freelance designers cost companies anything from £150 to £300 per day, and consultants £400 to £1000 per day, then you have to buy expensive software, hardware, flights, fonts, prints etc, you can start to see how the costs build up.
Then when you think that a brand if done well builds equity for a company and can add millions on the bottom line, it starts to make sense.
There are of course lots of people who will do a logo for £100, but then it will probably be useless and just a logo, and then you run the risk of someone taking legal action against you for trademark infringement etc. And in todays very saturated landscape of brands and logos, and the main connection with customers and the first point of call being a brand, differentiation is SO, SO important.
It makes me laugh, yesterday I had to pay someone £150 for someone to clear my drains, or £300 for someone to put a fence up which took them 4 hours, and then my company charges the same as this, we win awards, work for massive corporations and struggle to cover the basics.
So in future when you read these articles, remember, its mostly a load of nonsense and just hot air and very miss informed, its about time that people became aware of what branding is about – the benefits, the reasons to do it right, the bottom line, come on guys, think about it.
Said my bit, hope it helps, off to colour the world, where’s my paint brush.
Joe – Rareformbranding
Joe, thanks for this comment. Every client should read this.
My husband design logos by hand. A company in Virginia has commissioned him to design a small but detailed logo for their security business. I have been researching but can’t really find a decent answer to my question. What should I charge this company? Am I including time? He designed five sample pictures, should I include that in the final price? Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
This is an excellent thread!
I absolutely agree that design and development work is totally undervalued by people who don’t understand the benefit of having a strong brand.
Designers do need to be strong and stand by what they feel they’re worth, however, a lot of people on here will be young startup designers who aren’t used to pricing/quoting, or, like myself, experienced designers but starting up their own company, etc. I think in those cases, designers need to weigh up the balance between getting paid what they’re worth, and building a strong client-base.
It can be extremely difficult to attract new clients and build a client-base when you have no clients to start with! In which case, lower-cost (within reason, don’t under-sell!) work could be done and put down as invaluable experience, as well as a few notes in the pocket to pay the bills. Then when the client-base and portfolio is a lot stronger, more clients will come and be willing to pay the going rates required.
Great discussion though!
Hey there, I just came across this website and have found it very helpful, though I have a specific situation that I would be very appreciative to get advice on!
First off, I’m a design nooby. The only experience I have with logo design is through my own interest of working in Illustrator and Photoshop as a hobby. I recently made a logo for some friends working on a group project in a business class. I got inspired and probably put a good 20 hrs of work into it. Apparently, everyone in their class loved it and voted it as the best group logo in the class.
The design is built off of the generic name “aspen” which gave me the idea to find a company who had the name “aspen” in their business so that I could possibly try selling them an altered version of my original, logo. One that fits the characteristics of their business. I found a moderately large business and made several mock-ups of my logo design. This now begs the questions:
1) Can I approach this business and offer my logo design? Would this be frowned upon considering that I’m not a professional? Would I be scoffed at for my utter lack of experience?
2) If so, how should I go about this and how much should I charge?
Thanks in advance for a reply!
In response to Tim’s comment, attempting to pitch a logo you hypothetically designed for one “company” to an existing business that happens to have the same name is like trying to sell a suit you constructed on a mannequin to a real human being.
While it is possible and probably not exactly frowned upon for any considerations of professionalism, it entirely misses the point that a good logo is a precise expression of a specific business’ mission statement.
Therefore, even though you put 20 good hours of work into it, it could be argued that it still would not merit a higher fee since you didn’t really do the background homework and conceptual distillation that is required to refine a bunch of visual elements into a working corporate identity program.
My recommendation is to just add it to your portfolio as is, or, of course refine it.
In response to Melton’s thoughtful reply to my own post: considering that most businesses with the word “Aspen” in their name have a generic logo containing a single clip-art Aspen leaf, I think my logo is more unique and thoughtful than most others and also properly represents my targeted business. I’ll take my chances with my current design. Thanks.
Great thread, tons of useful info here!
I find that if you can educate the client about the logo being the tip of the iceberg, you are well on your way to recieving fair renumeration for your work. Explaining how the design sensibilities of the logo -colourways, typeface, metaphor- dovetails into all their other branding materials, stationary, signeage, website etc is the logical next step and should never be discounted. It’s also a neat way of opening the door to further ‘branding’ work that can be fulfilled at a later date. BTW, in case anyone missed it everyone should check out the ‘AIGA Client’s guide to getting the most out of the design process’ in one of David’s previous posts-‘Beyond the portfolio’. Nice.
Guys I just did a test…
I designed a logo from someone who charged $50 bucks. I went through 8 stages of revisions
He loved all 8 bnut still something “just wasn’t right”. Unbelievable
I then took the concept to a big time prospective client whom has been asking me to rebrand his logo.
Needless to say big buck$$ loved my logo and I have just invoiced him.
Cheap clients are NOT worth it. Logo design is not some product you can just shop and pickup. Stop cheapening the hours of work we put in.
David great blog.
Also the 50 dollar guy winded up using stock art lo-res with bitty pixels on the end of his font. LOL
Hey guys, I’m a little late but I also need some help. I am from a small island where in many cases graphic design services do not get the merit they deserve i.e. most people don’t expect to have to pay much. To put it into perspective, the bulk of non-self-employed GDs can make between $2000 – 3500 a month. I am a GD at a publishing co. but I also freelance. This is all without ever having official study. People just like my portfolio, though I have done a few courses, read tons of articles and blogs, self-taught with adobe videos and other tuts and done free or cheap work, which has earned me repeat clientele, not just for the cheapness, they like the stuff! Go figure. One of these clients now wants to work with me solely for her clients and she would take a finders fee or commission of sorts and I need to price my services, but I am struggling. I have twin baby boys so the work i do is a real sacrifice after working a whole day and taking care of them my freelance work begins. More importantly I really put my all into what I do. If i do a logo I provide it in vector, black and white, full colour, i ask the questions, i do the sketches, i make the revisions, i provide all the files etc etc not necessarily in that order. You know what i mean? I don’t just give them the jpeg of a clipart (i hate that crap btw). It’s hard for me to quantify cause i just get excited and do stuff. For this last client i think i charged about $200-250 our money, and that included the research, discussion, about 20 prelim designs (some with minor differences between them, others unique), the actual design cleaned up, black and white, spot colour and full colour, and the reverse of all three in vector format plus all of them in jpgs and gifs, not to mention all the rights. A photographer acquaintance thought i was crazy, but she had bargained down at the beginning (small business not too much money, not willing to pay more and i needed cash) and she came out with lots more than what she paid for in my opinion. What do you recommend for me? I bet this is a hard one. One thing I was considering was avoiding getting the shaft by charging a flat rate per particular service that includes XYZ but with the understanding to the client that additional charges apply for various things – full colour, extra revisions etc. Any thoughts on if that is a good way to go? Thanks, is your book available for the iphone? Mac lovers unite (just had to throw that in lol). Love the blog and thanks for the thread.
I’m part of a small dance school that’s great at doing what it’s supposed to — teach Latin dances, that is — but is in need of an image (including logo) update. Problem is, most Latin dance schools in my area barely cover their costs (some actually lose money hand over fist but keep going out of a desire to maintain the Latin dance community in the area), so a lot of the work in our school is done on a volunteer basis. This works well for teaching and managing the school, because we have some amazingly dedicated and talented dancers who don’t mind volunteering their time. However, they’re not strong in the design department. I’m a photographer and have some design background; I’m revamping their web site, promotional material etc, but I’m well aware that logo design is not my strong suit. So, with permission but no money from the powers that be, I set out to look for a logo designer.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been doing a bit of research into what the thought process behind a logo should be, what a designer needs to know, and how much I can expect to pay. The last point was troublesome for me, because I know I won’t get a budget for a new logo and that, if I want to pay a designer, I’ll have to do it out of my own pocket. And my pockets are not deep. I think, reasonably, I can afford to part with about $200 to $250.
What I found discouraged me, but what discouraged me most were these discussion boards which promote ever-increasing prices.
To clarify: I agree that a good design can be worth a lot in the long run. I’m fully aware that designs take time and effort and knowledge and skill. And as a photographer, I’m well acquainted and thoroughly disgusted with people acting like they’re doing me a great favour by allowing me to work for them for free or for a minimal fee, so I’m trying not to be that person.
But guess what: “educating” me about how much a good design is worth and waxing self-righteous about how charging less undercuts your skil does not add money to my bank account. What you’re saying is that start-ups, small companies etc are not worthy of your time.
Someone already brought up the fact that small start-ups can grow exponentially in a few years. Another poster also brought up the much-quoted Nike example, which David quickly refuted with the ring anecdote. But here’s the thing: the Nike logo was designed in 1971. Carolyn Davidson got that diamond ring in 1983. That’s 12 years in which Nike had grown from a mere distributor to reaching more than 50% of the market share in the US athletic shoe market. Yes, the logo may have played a role in that, but the fact is that Philip Knight gave that gift when his company could more than afford it, and when the logo’s effectiveness had been proven.
Compare that to a start-up paying thousands of dollars it cannot afford for a logo that the designer promises will be great, with little to no empirical evidence to back that up. Doesn’t seem quite as valid of a business decision to me.
My question is this: do you all truly equate “fee” with “quality of client”, or do you ever take into consideration your clients’ business situation? Reading this, it seems to me you’re willing to take a pain in the ass for a fat fee, but anyone with a small budget is implicitly a bad client?
In my experience, most small or non-profit businesses expect more bang for their extremely paltry buck and the cost to benefit ratio becomes unviable for the Designer .. imagine a “non-profit” organisation paying $250 for a logo and because they have no design brief or no idea of what they want the designer has to do many reiterations and spend many more hours on an ambiguous concept that hasnt been laid out clearly or without any process or thought to the brand identity
This problem is largely eliminated when working with well established and large-scale businesses as their Marketing Department will prepare a brief that is in their branding needs. Thus less time for the Designer to spend trying to understand what the client wants and more time refining the idea/concept.
i have recently given my time for free to a non-profit organisation in order to build them a website and design a logo. While I spent many hours on building the site, I spent very little time on the logo concept simply because it was a non-paying client
If a busines wants a well designed logo that will stand the test of time, then they are willing to invest more time and money into the project. Not everybody likes working for free and in a Creative Industry like this, Designers tend to be taken advantage of more so than companies getting ripped off by shoddy Design work
On the other hand I find that sometimes those people that want quality work done for little or no compensation are usually the most difficult to deal with
This problem is largely eliminated when working with well established and large-scale businesses as their Marketing Department will prepare a brief that is concise in their branding needs.
*wish there was an edit function* LOL
twintaoer, you can pick up the book as a PDF from publisher New Riders or through Kindle.
Anita, bear in mind that this post is almost three years old. I’ve learned a lot since when it was published. You brought up Nike. As far as I’m aware, Carolyn Davidson was a student at the time, and was paid the standard hourly rate during the 70s for a logo sketch showing a rough swoosh. If you’re expecting to receive a sketch from your designer then I’m sure you can find someone to fit your budget.
It seems you’ve been given the opinion that I’m “willing to take a pain in the ass [client] for a fat fee, but that anyone with a small budget is implicitly a bad client.” That’s definitely not what I’m trying to put across. I don’t want to work with a “bad” client regardless of the money.
These 2 links might help those who think Designers are charging too much for the work they do:
Gholem wrote: “…And, please don’t fool yourselves, those students work very good and they’re full of good ideas and understand the concept of marketing, advertising, PR and publicity…”
Sorry Gholem, this just isn’t true. Students may THINK they understand these things, but it takes a few years in a design studio or agency before they truly ‘understand’ these quite complex issues. Finishing a design degree does NOT make you an expert. Upon graduation, all students are amateurs, only after years of experience in the industry do they become professionals.
On a side note, I fail to see how anyone can make a living doing a logo for $50. Actually, I can’t see how they can eat charging $500! A decent logo needs at least a week of solid work. I charge a minimum of AUD$1,600 (about the same in USD) for branding work, and even this is too little.
Think of it this way:
If I did ONE logo per week (52 branding jobs per year is almost impossible to get), for say $1,000 each, I’d be earning the same as the Security Guard at our local nightclub, or the guy who manages our local cafe. But I’ve got a skill which took YEARS to develop, not to mention my innate talents. In a studio I’d be earning a minimum of $75 – $85k per year. As a self employed designer, I should be earning around $100k. So charge for your time, as it relates to your experience and skill.
I may be able to crank out a fantastic logo, which TRULY represents (and benefits) the client’s business in a week, but it took me 15+ years to learn how to do so.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. All too often I get clients that feel I’m trying to weasel them by not listing my prices on line but quite the contrary. I can provide more accurate pricing as well as better targeted design if I get to do initial consultation with them first.
One comment I’d like to mention to new designers, especially those doing inexpensive work to build your portfolio: be very careful. Believe me when I say that your clients will abuse the privilege as much as they can.
I’ve seen many people use the old ‘you can consider this a portfolio piece…’ then drag you through a dozen revisions and eventually fight you on the meger payment. If you don’t think your work has value neither will they. Ironically clients always respect you more if you don’t bend over for them. If you do good work they should pay for it.
I recommend creating a handful of make believe companies, or finding a few online that need help, and do the work for yourself as practice. There’s no reason why your portfolio needs to be full of paid clients because A: the people looking don’t know it was just practice and B: people will recognize value if the work is good, plus there’s less stress for lack luster pay-off.
The other scam to watch for is the old ‘there’s more work ahead if this goes well…’ F those guys. If you hear either of those two things hit the breaks and find other business.
Oh, and regarding the $50 logo crap, they’ve got disks full of vector art. Color some text and stick it next to an icon. 15 minutes and done…you get what you pay for. + I hear $50 goes a lot farther in India.
I think the problem is that clients need to be educated that they get what they pay for. I recently heard the following horror story…
A business owner posted their brief and how much they were willing to pay for a design on one of those websites where designers ‘pitch’ for the job. They had lots of submissions, narrowed their choice to one and worked with that ‘designer’ to finalize the design. Once finished the file was supplied as a low res tiny RGB file and the client transferred payment. The client then took it to a printer wanting business cards, signage etc and was told the file they had was not suitable, they tried to get in contact with the original designer but got no response. Months later they still had no stationery etc and just a useless low res logo so they eventually had to go to a designer locally and have the file recreated into a usable format thus costing more than they had initially budgeted for the job.
When you pay for a design service you’re not just paying for the finished product you are paying for the designers skill, knowledge and the assurance they will do the right thing by you.
Great discussion every one! It has really helped me to see that I am under charging. I am a student who is about to finish his degree in graphic design, so lately I have been doing freelance work on the side to try to get some extra cash and to build my portfolio. It usually takes me 8-10 hours to research, brainstorm and design a logo and a million more hours in revisions. Since most of the business I’ve been designing for have been mom and pop chains I charge cheap, but I always get the feeling from them that they think i’m overcharging when I quote them a modist price of $60.00. I really put a large effort into making sure my work is the highest quality and I bend over backwards to appease their wishes. I’m getting annoyed with clientele and as a result having a hard time staying motivated.
The question I want to know is what should a designer say to a client that thinks they are being over charged? And how much is a fair price to charge if you are just getting started freelancing?
@Mark Thanks for your words of wisdom.
My husband who has illustrated several books has been approached by a new clothing business and they want to use one of his illustrations (slightly adapted as their logo) They say they are a new business and have no real budget for paying anything. they say the company could be great and he would have free advertising of his name etc and would be paid a tiny amount for pictures on the website etc but who thinks of the names of the people who design the logos? sure it doesnt bring you any business really and in a way he is in a lose lose situation as if he says no to them using it they will just get someone to do something very similar for free and he misses out altogether. Logos seem to be a really tricky deal to negotiate.
Yes this is a very tough situation! I’ve been in several situations in the past and you are right! it never comes out well, and i’ve been promised the sun and moon and never get any business out of those “great free advertising” deals… however the last one did turned out well, and this is what i recommend. (you have to stand firm and put on your salesmanship).
Tell them “now you can understand my position — that i can’t just give away my work for nothing i do this for a living and provide for my family, and i know you can appreciate and understand my situation. Thank your offer for free advertising and would like to take you up on that to help get my name out for me as well! however, this is how we can make it work out well for the both of us: 1. you can use my art for your logo for a minimum fee of $50.00 to $100.00 ? (who doesn’t have $50 to go toward a business identity + it is a tax write off people! ?) and you can use it for the 6 months and put my name everywhere as: Special thanks to our Creative Partner (your name & web site url.com – so people can actually find you!!!). I also know things will go really well for you and is going to take off for you so, i will expect another installment every 6 months for usage fee. until you’ve satisfied the total cost of $______ .00 or $1,200.00 for my art work. and here is our usage contract for you to sign, and will need the $50.00 deposit (cash legally binds a contract) before i can get a digital file of my artwork. You need to be clearly in control of YOUR ART, and let them know that they are getting a super great deal which they are! after all, they came to you so they want your art and talent so they need to compensate you fairly !!! so a Win Win may be to give them a way to ease $ into it, and make them feel good about it. but you’ll need to hold them to the fire to promote you also!
Ok, I am also going on record on this forum, that if you are designing anyone an original logo for anything under $500.00 (which is super cheep!) you are devaluing creative talent and killing our industry !!! anyone serious about their business and the success of their company should be willing to spend at least $1,000.00 on their company logo! it’s all about creating value and educating clients about the importance of a professional brand identity! and the power it have on a customer. Hope this helps! and wish you the best!!!
Harriet & Todd
Great comments, both of you. I particularly approve of Todd’s recommendation. However, Harriet, I’d say that your husband isn’t really losing out on anything if he doesn’t play ball. Getting someone to do something similar (for free or not) only means that they’re cheap and they wouldn’t have paid your husband anything anyway.
I think Todd is right in saying that the might actually value your husband’s work product in so much as they’re asking to use it. The trick is to get them to articulate that interest further and place some value on it. It wouldn’t hurt to ask them, Why do you like it/want to use it? How do you see it adding value to your business? Etcetera. They clearly do, now it’s just about the details.
Also, I’d add a zero to the figures Todd mentioned. If a business brings in $100,000 a year (which is not a lot…) multiplied by 5 years, that business is worth $500,000 (by one method of valuation). One percent of that business is $5,000.
Food for thought (and money to bring in the bacon…).
Oh, before I forget, above here in this thread is a brilliant comment on valuing one’s work based on the hours put in. Whatever amount of time your husband put into that piece should give you a clear idea of the actual labor costs involved, if not the total value…
thanks for that comment too – so glad i found this site as was a bit of stabbing in the dark. All leads back to having belief in the value of your work for someone else. So many people seem to think that because you have a “talent” you can just churn things out in about 5 minutes and because the item is so “small” they just don’t think that it is in fact one of the most important things of their brand and can’t be done for nothing! Thanks everyone for the boost to his confidence.
Hands down, one of the most important blog posts I’ve read. I have been wanting to step my identity design up a LOT of notches. I think one of the reasons I haven’t been designing exceptional logos is because I have been undervaluing my work and ultimately spending too much time and not getting paid for it.
This has been an eye opener for me and it is time for me to better my skills on this aspect of design.
Thanks for such a great post David and everyone for their insightful comments!
I have been reading your blog for sometime now as I am often approached by people wishing to use my art for many different things. Sometimes I agree for a compensation of some sort, many times I do not feel the use is appropriate and say no. There is nothing wrong with saying NO. If you have integrity and your art is important to you then stick to your guns and don’t let the green back sway you.
Now I have another question … What would you do if you came across parts of your designs incorporated into another product? And yes the parts are quite recognizable and have only undergone a few minor changes like colour and a few fine lines.
Re the people copying your design. My husband belongs to the UK association of illustrators sure one in the US thats similar. Small annual subscription but great access to advice I would ask them for their advice and use them as backing in contacting the offending person. Not sure whether you would have any joy but you shouldn’t take it lying down
David, any chance you could delete the posts from folks who’ve been confused about the “$100 logo” post? I’m not saying they should be ‘suppressed’ ;-), but I think all this miss-communication gets in the way of a great comment thread.
matthk, good idea. I’ve updated the comment thread so there’s no misunderstanding.
There is obviously a lot of controversy around the issue of what to invoice, how much and determining the value. I personally love designing brand identities, so when I get a client that has a decent budget, I always design them a new logo or revise their current one without being asked to. It builds my portfolio and keeps me sharp on current design trends and continually pushed me to come up with different design solutions and aesthetics.
When I get hired on to develop a companies brand identity, there are some other factors I use in determining the price or value:
• Is it something I will enjoy creating?
• Is it “portfolio” quality?
• What’s the chemistry with the client?
• What are my creative limitations?
• And always ask what the timeline is, and what budget they are working with
I’m sure some people have contrasting perspectives…
I agree with J’s comments.
We increased our base rate for our logo designs from $380 to $500 and the amount of revisions has halved across the board. I feel that the price can really depend on whether the client knows what that want. Set the price bar high and encourage clients who can recognize good logo design and have thought about their business brand.
It doesn’t matter how much you enjoy doing the work… they are paying for your time and knowledge… and both are equally valuable.
I have been asked to design a logo for a large corporation. I know they’re going to ask for a price and I don’t want to charge a ridiculous amount and get rejected. But at the same time, I would hate to charge a price that is too low out of desperation. I’ve been in the position before where I charged a low price and hated myself for not charging more, after conducting research. How do I determine a prince range?
The post is somewhere up above… but calculate your hourly rate by 40 to 80 hours and see what that gets you.
In my opinion, if it really is a large corporation, your fee should start at $10,000. They make at least a couple of million a year and they’re worth that times 5 years, which makes your fee about one one-hundredth of a percent of their value.
Remember, Landor and Associates and others charge upwards of $100,000 for logos for “large corporations” such as FedEx, etc…. but it’s still guys and gals like us, sometimes individuals, who do the work….
It’s amazing how many times we’ve been told that ” We love your proposal, but your quote is beyond our budget’, when we’ve quoted competitive prices.
I’m new to this site, I’m currently offered to design a small private business logo for a woman who is new in the business industry.
It’s my first time having a real client other than my relatives/family. I’ve had 3 years of graphic design experience, but I’m not sure what price I should tell her.
She’s going to run a cleaning business company, I’ve talked to her in person, talked about what she wants and how I will do it. I have yet to ask her about the Up-Front deposit first before I do any work, but I don’t have any price, ADVICE PLEASE??
Good luck getting above $350 in south florida, we have many de-valuers. I average about $600 but would like to see a grand even from big companies but i do do about two logos a month with all the scam businesses down here!
Thank you for all the information related to design and logos.
I am currently working on a logo for a boutique, which will be turned into the store front sign which I am going to have made for them. I am wondering whether to package the logo cost into the total cost of the sign or to have a fee for the logo first and then the sign separate?
Thanks for the feedback!
I’m not sure what your relation is with the customer, but I would personally bill out the logo separately from the sign. Who knows how long it will take the sign shop to get everything up and installed. Could be a few days, could be a month or two. Make sure you get paid, especially if your covering the overhead from the sign shop too.
Assuming you have a good relationship with the client, I would ask that they pay a 75 ~ 80% retainer to cover costs. That would be the only way I would factor the two together.
@Creative, I am in Canada, and we see the same thing happening. I know of many great designers (we are employing one of them to create a complete identity/collateral for us), and these “de-valuers” make it hard on everybody.
I can’t believe that any business out there would cheapen their current/future clients’ experiences by jumping into bed with a de-valuing undercutter.
My clients deserve to know EXACTLY what they are getting when they consider me (or read my work on their competitors websites-hehe).
An investment in my identity clarifies that. After all, I’m not cheap, why should I look it?
I have to apologize, for saying this, but $1,000 is NOT a lot of money to invest in something that will shimmer in the minds of future buyers.
Good design is timeless, and that’s worth paying for!
I’ve been working with a client who is quite difficult. I have given him multiple options to choose from and we finally agreed on a design. He paid the amount, I cashed the check, and now he wants to make minor changes to the artwork. A thicker line here, larger text there, and I have no idea what to charge. Any advice?
Yes! since the design has been finished & paid for… I’d simply say — ok not a problem, but I will need to charge you for the modifications you would like me to do on it, and I will just charge you an hourly rate of $ _____.00 ( my rate would be $75.00 for this type of “illustration/graphic” work ) FYI: I often provide my clients a “small” b/w version that may be modified slightly (thicker lines, more white space etc.) to be used on very tiny applications… pens etc.
Logo design is like any other part of business, you get what you can negotiate. A nickel design will be great if the product sells. It is a crap shoot. I find that many artist want to be paid what they think they are worth and that is fine but in our society the buyer will set the market. Get what you can and quit complaining. If you want to earn more for your work find another profession. Bottom line, there are not a lot of millionaire logo designers but there are a lot logo designers and there are a lot of millionaire’s!!
hi guys, i really love the website and i honestly read all the comments from 2008 :$…
well a question: im a graphic design student still 2nd year i only have the little experience of what my prof. give me as projects… im from lebanon and actually live in Beirut, and i want to start in the graphic design market as an intern but i honestly dont think anyone would take a second year university student although i have the talent and the limited experience of 2 years in school… my question is are people willing to hire me as a freelancer and with my little experience how much should i charge and where can i post for a freelance job?
please all your replies are more than appreciated :D
A logo is worth nothing until the company adds value to it.
On the topic of how to charge for your services, charge for the “process” of creating the logo, not the logo itself. The logo is simply a result of the creative process.
You have to demonstrate to your client the value of the creative process by breaking it down into bite sized chunks which is easy for them to understand. Demystify the creative process into a science, itemise each step with an objective, a methodology and an outcome, and then put a price next to each step. If a client can “understand” where their money is going, they will be more likely to see the “value” in the process and more likely to approve the costs. It will also give them lots of confidence in your ability.
Ask for a retainer before you start. This will very quickly let you know which client is worth doing business with and which is not. Clients who have confidence in you will happily pay a retainer up front. Reject the ones who won’t, they’re not worth it.
There is no set price for the creative process. It really depends on your experience and your ability to sell in the process. It depends on the client too, their budget and timeframe. Charge what you can get away with. If it’s a big business, they’ll have more money and time than a small business.
And always try to up-sell. Offer them a “Brand Toolkit” – a full set of stationery, a website, brochure and a Powerpoint template. This places more emphasis on the visual identity as a whole and less on the actual “logo”. Gives you more work and more money too.
99% of graphic design is selling. Learn how to do it well if you want to succeed.
Dan, excellent post. I liked all you said. The same thing occurred to me about the logo not having value until the company adds something to it. It could be a fantastic logo but if the company it represents has poor customer service or a terrible product the logo will do little to help the company. It may be recognisable as a brand but who will be interested? Thanks for that. Now on to my coffee :).
David Airey, you and this site are a God-send! I’ve never been so inspired and encouraged in the space of less than 1 hour than I have been reading these posts on pricing. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!
Just happened to stumble upon this thread. Some very interesting thoughts and opinions, didn’t quite manage to make it through them all though :)
I agree that these low budget template ‘designers’ are harming the value or logo design. Everyday I see cheap overused/template designs and companies offering insane prices, but this is the world we live in, competition is very tough and while i believe those prices are stupid, on the flip side, there are instances I don’t agree with the large price tags attached to some branding projects.
I charge £40 / $60 per hour, and usually estimate 4-5 hrs per logo which I’ve found is about right and make decent money, offer the client constant communication throughout and covers a few amends along the way. People’s budgets are tighter than ever just now so value for money is a must.
I made my own logo and wouldn’t recommend paying anyone for it. I have heard nightmares about IP rights and the like. Also, just an observation here ….. anyone thinking that the natural laws of supply and demand “devalue” their trade needs to realize that they should be more worried about branding themselves than overcharging clients. Make a name for yourself. Then, and only then, have you differentiated yourself sufficiently to command a higher price. People who claim to be artists are a dime a dozen (the price the market should give them).
I love this thread!
I am in much need of some guidance. I am a fairly new designer in the professional field – only a 18 and going to be a sophomore with a GD major in undergrad. Most of the work I’ve done have been for class, friends, family, and for fun. Just recently, I’ve begun to charge for my work when a friend of my older brother’s wanted to pay me for a simple shirt design and then proceeded to give me a logo design job. It was for a small partnership company and paid only $150. Having had none logo design experience and, really, no knowledge of how to charge either, I didn’t mind. And I feel I probably gave them $150 worth of a logo.
Now, a friend of mine is starting his own business – something that I think can go big! He has asked me create a logo for him and we have already decided on a sketch to move forth on. I am having an awkward time deciding how much should I charge him – how much should I USUALLY charge clients for logos if I have little experience? Especially if the clients are friends..
I love this site and thread (in particular). It’s very important to figure this issue out, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran. The “mitigating” comments along the lines of “if you haven’t proven yourself you, shouldn’t be expecting big bucks” are valid.
But I think they ultimately still miss the point. This is a skill and like all skills it has a value. That value can increase or even decrease thanks to many factors, experience and ennui being two of them.
That being said, I think the real culprit in this entire topic — how much should it cost? — is a fundamental lack of understanding about the actual material effect that good design has over bad design.
If I have twenty minutes, I can explain, to the average Joe on the street, why the $69-logo-website product isn’t good design. But the average Joe has better stuff to do with their twenty minutes.
So, I propose that “we” put together some presentations of why good design is better and therefore why it should cost more. The answer to this, of course, should be that the business paying for that better work is going to benefit more greatly from that work. A better logo will give you better traction. If you’re off-roading, you would choose a ’69 VW bug. You’d pick something “designed” for off-road conditions, etc.
I did an informal research project a couple of years ago wherein I posed as a executive assistant with an RFP for a corporate identity package for an entertainment industry investment fund. I sent this RFP to 20 design firms, 10 of which responded. They spanned the full range from sole proprietors to international firms and the fees were similarly varied. It helped confirm for me that my prices are reasonable.
But we need a similar test or proof of how “good” design really is better and therefore deserving of respect.
hey yeah, I can get someone to clean my drains, they may have the knowledge of a dentist and use a tooth brush to do it and have to pay them a fortune, or I could get a brick layer to do my logo, pay them £100 a day and get the same result and pay a lot less.
Or I could start to understand how valuable my brand is to me, what it says to people, acknowledge that by getting it right I can save a fortune by;
1 – Increasing the value of my company by more than 200% of its resale value (Coca Cola’s brand is valued at $37billion)
2 – Attracting best of class people.
3 – Retaining staff through employing people that share the same values and effect company motivation.
4 – Build high levels of company growth through a competitive edge via differentiation, alignment to core customer base and understanding and empathy of core values.
5 – Effect my whole organisation through empathetic knowledge.
The end result being (proven);
Far higher exit strategy sales
More enjoyable places for people as everyone shares the same goals.
or… as some people on here seem to want to live by, save a relatively small amount of money, not differentiate my company from my competitors, not care about the one thing that can make my company special.
It’s not about a logo, its about branding, and the logo is a small part of what is important, so as for the cost for doing a logo, the cost for not doing a brand properly (and that includes a logo), is a price you cant afford to ignore.
But hey, if people want to knock out logos for next to nothing for people that don’t care about the success of their companies, thats great, it simply means that the work they do fairs little against the quality that really goes on out there. So if your paying £5.00 to have your teeth cleaned by a brick layer, or £200 to have your drains cleaned by a dental hygienist, it simply clarifies the benefits of quality designers.
Sure if you’re doing something for a local plumber then it’s relative, but don’t undervalue what you do, it’s vital to people, and it’s one of the most essential aspects to many SME’s and vital to all corporates.
Anything less than £500 isn’t worth more than 2 days of anyones time, no matter how much they enjoy it.
Start understanding that what we do has ‘real’ value, until you start to do that, you will all get ripped off because you don’t value what your doing, and if you don’t, no one will.
The market determines the value of a logo, not the designer.
The market is very broad ranging from small businesses to multi-national corporations.
Gina’s Unisex Hair Salon is a small business with no marketing budget or marketing experience. She’s 27 years old and has been in business for 2 years. She has an annual turnover of $85k and she’s delighted with here success. A $69 template logo is a perfect solution for her business. She can’t afford anything else. She does not want to expand or reposition. She’s a local hairdresser who needs a pretty picture for her window.
Powercon Pty Limited is a large multi-national corporation with a dedicated marketing team of 25 staff across 12 nations. Each local division is led by an experienced National Brand Manager who answers to the Worldwide Director of Marketing. The accountants have decided that Powercon is not making enough money and the marketing team have been called for an urgent meeting in Geneva to put in place a marketing strategy which meets the financial objectives of the Corporation and it’s shareholders. Over the next 6 months, the company gathers market research and puts together a highly confidential 400 page strategic document outlining the company’s strengths, weakness and areas of opportunity. In summary it tells us that even though the company is not struggling, we should look for ways to improve trade even more, by making slight, smart adjustments. Workshops are conducted at conferences around the world and all of the input is then consolidated and used to create a road map. This is then broken down into steps. Each step has a specific action and then a National Brand Manager is given the responsibility to carry out that action with dedicated support of his team. The name of the game for the next 12 months is Repositioning Through Global Unification.
A budget of $22 million is allocated and five worldwide advertising agencies are invited to pitch. The Worldwide Director of Marketing has a friend who owns a design studio in New York – he will do the visual identity.
12 months later, the new global brand identity and advertising campaign is rolled out. The accountants watch carefully. The sales figures are constantly measured. Week by week as the new brand starts to gain traction and momentum, the sales begin to increase. The share price continues to rise and within 3 months the corporation has made it’s money back.
8 months later the Corporation announces it has made $14 billion profit. The Worldwide Director of Marketing is given a $10 million bonus. As gesture of gratitude, he buys his friend the designer a brand new Maserati and a $2.5 million dollar waterfront villa.
So what’s the moral of the story? Don’t waste your time trying to sell your wares to Gina. If you rate yourself as a designer, aim high and one day it will pay off.
Designing a logo is really hard thing to do. I have made a few and only like one of them. Researching and trying to put something that looks good and stand out is not for everyone. Even though the template logo are cheap and anyone ca use them. A lot of them are better looking then a lot of logos I’ve seen in small business stores.
Its true designing logos has gotten really cheap but so have websites designs and good designers. I remember when you can design a simple 5 page website for a company for about 5k but today you can only get about 600 to 800 the most and a lot of them will use a template and only play the hosting fee for it. Things are getting cheaper. Its the way of life. Money is every and design is few and for the rich.
If you want to get upset then complaint to the art schools that will take in any average Joe and then tell them that they can be a designer if they pay 100k. That what gets me upset about. When I have to apply to a job that 1000 other people are applying to and only 10 of them can really design.
A friend of mine asked me to make some business cards for him. He’s a voice actor, and just needs something to hand out for networking purposes. He sent me this message on Facebook:
“So yeah, I wanna know if you want any money for making business cards. I don’t need a whole bunch just a bit right now.”
I’m in my senior year of high school, and I’ve taken a few classes at my school and some pre-college classes at Academy of Art University, so I’m not super experienced, but I’ve been told I have some natural talent. Around how much should I ask him for? $100+ sounds WAY extreme to me, given that I’m just doing this for a friend, but I don’t want to sell myself short.
Amby, it depends on a couple of factors…
How close a friend he is
How much money he makes from voice acting
and How much your cards will likely net him.
Also don’t underestimate how long it will take you to do this job, especially if you are new to it because there should be a learning curve involved if you want to do a good job.
One last thing, don’t let any ignorance on his part direct you to under valuing yourself and one card or one thousand cards equals the same amount of design time for you.
In Ghana, you can pick up a world class logo for $100. When I was in design school in Denver, we were warned never to charge less than $70 per hour.
Not every client in Africa understands the creative process behind a logo. Then again, that’s also true for some western clients too.
The value of a logo is a pretty subjective topic.
I do freelance logo designing and am having a hard time determining how much I should price, especially since clients keep talking about crowd sourcing and being able to get cheap logos from hundreds of bidders. A logo sometimes takes me weeks to design and I don’t want to get paid just fifty bucks for it. Is it still possible to be competitive even when charging what we feel is right?
I was looking into this site to also get an idea of what to charge I am in college for animation but have been picking up some graphic design work. I just did a job recently where I designed a logo, designed and hand painted a 3’x4′ sign, and designed and made 500 glossy business cards. Well I did all this for $500 which I know isn’t a lot but this is my first job that will get my foot in the door so I was willing to break even with this one. Even after doing all this I drove 411 miles to deliver this stuff because it was way cheaper than shipping it. I think pricing would depend on the area you live in where I live there has been no jobs for over 6 years now so people can’t afford much. So what I did was the customer told me what they had in mind of spending and I worked it out from there.
I’m sorry but I think a lot of comments here are a bit too hard on start up companies. Because I cannot afford to pay you lots of money for a logo simply because I am just establishing my business does not mean I do not appreciate the work that goes into it. I am also a designer myself so I know how much work goes into anything creative. One thing you must realize is that it is the small start up companies who appreciate the work more and do more of referrals than big companies who believe “well you got paid huge sums anyway so what’s the biggie”. The bigger companies because of their processes may not appreciate as much as start ups do.
One thing people need to realize is that there are different markets and you need to decide which market you want to play in. A facilitator once said, “find a small pond and become the big fish in it”. There are more start up companies and they are actually the ones according to statistics that move an economy forward. It’s like asking why some designers or companies target a mass market and are making a killing based on high turnover than high profit margins. The truth is, you can never establish the right price for creativity and I believe charging a standard rate of “a minimum of $500” might actually be disadvantageous to you especially if you are just starting up. Why not have different rates for different companies? You can even structure a deal with them where they market you at every opportunity they get, similar to websites that have “designed by…” I don’t think start ups care how many hours you spend on the logo as long as it projects what they want. If you charge $50per hour which I believe you may have come up with based on other considerations such as direct costs and overheads and it took you less than an hour to create the logo, then would it be fair to charge a minimum of $500 simply because you do not want to be seen as cheap? I think a lot of designers do themselves a lot of disservice and need to realize that you need to “grow into” charging high prices. If you are in the “business” of graphic design rather than “creativity”, would it not make more sense to charge $200 to each of 30 clients than $1,500 and search for months for 1 client? Needless to say, these 30 clients could easily multiply based on referrals. When you have established a base, then you can consider increasing your prices but gradually… Using the Nike story, what if she had charged $1000 which the company could not afford or felt was not top on their priority list, would she be in history books today? I think designers need to look at the bigger picture.
I know I have had bad experiences with graphic designers who have churned up crap and felt they were doing me a favour, even when I paid them just for the sake of peace. I have even offered sweat equity to some who were charging me high prices, simply because I knew what the importance of a good logo was but could not afford high prices. Most were more consumed by the cash rather than long term benefits. I’m happy now that none accepted my offer. I eventually designed my logo myself when I needed one desperately which was not too bad in my opinion but which a PR consultant friend of mine said was a bit boring. So now I am on the search again for a graphic designer because though I love what I created, I need to see it from the public’s eye and not from mine. And that is listening to advice.
NOW one thing I will never understand is why a graphic designer should charge me for tweaking a design that was less than satisfactory in the first place. I ask you for a simple logo that is unisex in nature after discussions and written documentation of what I want, you come up with some overly complicated image that’s obviously “effeminate” in nature and simply because I ask you to change it to suit the terms of my brief, you get upset and then want to charge me for your incompetence. I think that’s nonsense really. Designers (and this is also directed at me) need to realize that when you are being paid for a service, you do what the client wants. I ask you for 3 drafts so I can choose, you ask me why? And I think to myself, isn’t that normal? Don’t I have the right to ask for alternatives?
I think designers need to get over themselves really and realize that you cannot take your work too personally. Why do I have to choose or pay you for what I don’t like and what I will never use? It is business and the customer is king and your job is to satisfy the customer. I know if I create something my client is not happy with, I would not feel right getting paid for the job. But that’s not the case these days. Of course I know there are some unreasonable clients, we all come across them but really, if you sacrifice your ethics for the sake of money, you will lose out at the end of the day. Needless to say as quickly as good referrals go round, so do bad reputations. Now let’s see which one will have a longer lasting effect; the money or a damaged reputation.
Wow Temi, you just kicked a hornets nest.
It appears that you have had a bit of a rough time with a design situation, but it’s pushed me to be clear about some aspects of what you are saying
I’ve been in the design industry now for 23 years, won many awards, worked for some of the largest branding consultancies in the world, own 2 well established branding consultancies and am a shareholder of another large UK branding and design comms company. I judge on the design awards for several high profile uk and international design organisations and have been quoted by some leading uk national papers on the subject. All that said (and not just to massage my ego) I struggle to survive on a basic wage, and mostly due to small minded idiots who have no idea about what we do and cant see beyond their own ego’s, if they could they would learn to respect the opinions of established minds in this area.
But rather than go too deep into all that, let me just raise a few aspects;
1 – for some reason everyone seems to think they are designers, mostly clients (so why they pay designers to do something and then tell them what to do is beyond me), especially when the client thinks about design around .5% of the time of that of a seasoned designer.
2 – I pay a mechanic, who ‘tells me’ that he has done 15 hours work on my car, I have no way of telling if that’s the case, and what’s more I have to pay him far more than I get paid for design.
3 – For some strange reason (and yes I’m being ironic), I have to pay him not just for changing the cable that costs £15, but for the hour he spent fitting it, but I also have to pay him for the other 14 hours of time he spent trying to find out what it was. (please keep in mind that fixing this issue would help retain around £1000 on my car)
4 – For some reason people will spend 1000’s of pounds on maintenance on their vehicles, hair, cloths, etc, which brings them very little return, then start a business and decide that they want to spend less than their mechanic, despite if brand is done well can raise £1000’s to £millions, and I have hard and fast facts for this.
5 – And finally, people expect;
– to pay for the whole carpet, despite only walking on parts of it.
– to pay a mechanic for finding the fault, as well as fixing it.
– to pay a trader millions of pounds for adding billions to their investment.
– to pay teachers for educating their class, not just taking the exam
– to respect the opinions of people who are professions in their fields, they don’t tell brain surgeons what synapsis to avoid.
So why do people insist on getting designers to do work, asking their opinions and then ignoring them, telling them what ‘they want’ not what would influence and inspire their customers, then choose a route and only want to pay for that route.
What’s a matter with people!, whats makes some clients so stupid, I’m hoping it’s because of a single bad experience and that they are smart enough to know the value of doing thes things correctly, and that they can see a simple bad experience.
oh, and as for the referrals issue, I get more referrals from larger organisations than I do the smaller / free ones, and as for the small fish big pond comment, I get that completely, but the small client in the big pond wants to spend small fry on design, and they don’t have the experience or appreciation to know when to stop, and tend to make designers work just as hard as the ‘big fish’ – so why should we work harder and for less money just to turn small fry into fat cod.
The current state of the smaller side of the industry where SME’s don’t understand the value of design, is so bad that it has become the staple diet for college kids to make a little side money to pay for a few nights out while their clients get rich, hardly ripping people off, in fact its completely the other way round. And they grumble about it!
Jeeze, get real, we know SME’s don’t have lots of cash, thats why when working at that level you wont get charged ten’s or hundreds of thousands, even though even at that level, brand can add millions and even be the game changer for you.
Why can’t I see my comment or Joe’s response to it? I’d really like to address some of the points he raised in his comments.
Ahhhhh… now I see the posts… Great!
I’ve read all you’ve written but before I address what I choose to comment on, first things first. I do not “think” I am a designer. I AM a designer WITH an undergraduate degree in fashion design. And I didn’t just scale through school either. I left with extremely good grades. Nonetheless, I realized that my field was different from graphic design, which was why I obviously approached someone in that field for his expertise so I could focus on my core business.
NOW roles reversed! You come to me for a consultation, the end result obviously being to create an outfit for you. You tell me what you like and what you do not like as a customer or a client even though you want people to see you with a renewed personal image. Now because I am a designer who “thinks” I know what’s best for you and your image, I create something for you, incorporating almost all if not ALL the don’ts you told me about during the client consultations, such as “no sleeveless shirts” or “tight spandex pants” in the outfit and THEN try to convince you that it’s best for you. Now I may be right, but because it’s not you, no matter how fab people tell you you look, if you do not feel comfortable in it, you do not feel comfortable, period! And chances are you probably will not wear it again.
Like I said earlier, “creative” people / designers need to get over themselves. No matter how good you think you are or others think you are, if your client is not happy, then you haven’t really done anything. It is your job to ensure all your clients leave with a smile on their faces. I, as a client have done research, stumbled upon sites like Logo Design Love who have said:
“It’s no coincidence that the most memorable logo designs are also the most simple in appearance. You want the identities you create to be instantly recognisable, acting as a memorable identifier for the company they represent. A consumer will normally just take a fleeting glimpse at a logo, and an overly complex mark will make that opportunity redundant.”
I’m feeling happy because it confirms what I want in a logo and ties in perfectly with what my company stands for. So explain to me why after sending you a detailed brief, discussing the vision for my business, explaining why I want an abstract yet simple logo, citing the Nike example, why I don’t want obviously feminine fonts, you go ahead and do exactly what I told you NOT to do coming up with some strange image that reminds me of Medusa’s head. And you expect me to accept it simply because it jumps out at people? It jumps out all right. For all the wrong reasons and for what I stand against! Now what comes to my mind which instantly irritates me is… “did you even listen to anything I told you or did you read the brief I sent?” Then why ask for a brief or meet with me in the first place when you had no plans to listen to what I had to say. You have your own fixated ideas anyway. And no, this is not just “one bad experience”, but more than 3 times at points when I was even willing to spend a lot more. How many experiences do I need to go through before I put my foot down and set a tight budget for my deliverables and my priorities.
Designers should not feel the need to force their ideas on their clients or even convince their clients. The work should speak for itself because the client is also a potential market and it’s possible that what she sees is what others may see as well after all, we are all potential customers of other similar brands. The client should instantly be drawn to the work. I have to see your work and instantly feel, yes, he listened to me and captured the very essence of my business not try and convince me to portray what I know I am not or what I even want my business to portray. I am the person who has to project this image and I have to live with it. If I don’t like it, I don’t! So there’s no point trying to convince me to simply because you are an “expert” in your field. It’s like you giving me a haircut I can’t stand simply because you say it’s in vogue and people will look at me and think I’m trendy. At the end of the day, who has to live with the result? You or me? I can respect your opinion yes, but if it doesn’t work for me, then it doesn’t! Simple. It’s business and there are no sentiments in business! You cannot take it personal! I even think it’s worse when you come up with a logo that the person doesn’t use. It’s like writing a business plan for someone who refuses to implement it. Yes you can smile all the way to the bank but deep down, you cannot be okay except you are made of stone…which I know creative people are not because of the passion they have for their work. If I was asking your opinion, it would be to critique something I did in the past. If I ask you to do a job, you need to realize you work for me and you need to satisfy ME the client not you.
I understand your position on certain matters and you have made valid points. But what I am saying is do not castigate people for not being able to afford more. I’m sure if they could, they would. And don’t castigate those who are willing to cater to the market that cannot afford more. If you clearly know who your market is, then they cannot even be your competitors simply because chances are the top clients would wonder what the smaller players can offer for $200 and come looking for you anywayz. So leave the SMEs to others and focus on the big boys OR if you feel the “smaller” designers are a threat, “up” your game and find a way to be more competitive, perhaps by diversifying.
And why impose huge budgets on small start ups anyway? Why spend all my money on a logo when I should focus on getting a product out that can be branded? The logo will not simply make money for me if I have no product to sell. So SMEs usually prefer to invest in the product or service they plan to offer than the logo even though they know the logo is important. If when I’m turning over millions of dollars and I still seek out a school leaver to pay $200 for a logo, then yes, feel free to yell and scream. But it simply does not make business sense to spend so much money on a logo in the early days if what would REALLY sell in those vital days is the product or service offering. Yes I need a logo but I don’t want to go bankrupt getting one before I even take off. And using your analogy in a different way, why spend so much money paying for a carpet to be laid all over the room when I can simply just buy a small “centerpiece” at a fraction of the price that will still add as much value and will even be better appreciated because I spent my meagre start up funds on it. @ least we all know how we felt when we bought our first “inexpensive” cars… You probably derived more self-fulfilling satisfaction from it than the luxury cars you drive now simply because you struggled to get it. Even though it was cheap, you absolutely cherished it! And why must I pay a teacher for a whole semester of classes when I can simply employ her for a one month crash programme and still get educated for a lot less. It’s the end-result rather than the duration that matters to the client.
Re SMEs not appreciating work done for them, perhaps that’s how things work in your environment. In mine, it’s totally different. The SMEs are the foundations of other businesses because they do the most referrals. I have even seen people who have paid more than the earlier agreed fees simply because they recognized and were really appreciative of the effort that went into the work. Others even buy gifts. And I can speak for myself and people I know who have done the same. Don’t forget that circumstances can change overnight. The companies you churn today may be the big leaders in the industry tomorrow, afterall Cocacola started from somewhere. And when you are fighting for their business, they remember what you did to them in the early days. And we all know that he who laughs last, laughs best!
And on this note, I rest my case.
No need to apologise, Temi. Happy to receive all opinions here.
You mentioned the Nike design. It’s worth noting that none of the options presented by the designer captivated anyone in the committee, and it came down to which was the “least awful.” The client trusted the designer’s expertise even when unconvinced by the ideas.
A little more on that here.
Still, it would seem as if your chosen designer didn’t listen at all. Sadly, there are cowboys in every profession.
Lot of good insight and tips. Thanks for making this information available.
My experience has been going broke “doing favors” for small business and startups. Honestly, most of them have no understanding of what branding is or what it can do for their business. They’ll have no respect for you or value the work when you give it away dirt cheap! and don’t buy into their empty promises of bringing you more work or referrals your way. Sure Nike a great story, a very rare exception. I don’t care if your a 1st year design student, or experienced designer, you’ve got talent and it’s worth paying you well for it. Don’t give it away! as I posted earlier $750.00 should be a min standard for any logo design. 1st off, it is a business expense (write-off), and if they are not willing to invest at least that? then why would you put in all of the time and effort into doing the work for them? just walk away from it. I also now insist on getting 1/3rd of the approved estimate before starting any project, another 1/3rd upon approval of design, and the final 1/3rd upon completion of the project or delivery of finished art or files. On that note: NEVER give away your raw files to your clients. They’ll be able to take it to someone else down the road and cut you out of it. You need to protect yourself and your business. (sorry so jaded, I’ve allowed myself to get burnt way to many times being nice).
Funny how this dates back to Jan 2008 but remains relevant up to now. Good article, David.
I work for 1000€ a month as buyer assistant. That “undermines and devalues the entire branch industry”? No!!! I am very happy to have a job.
This is all eerily familiar although I am not a designer. Many years ago I worked in a similar field with all the same shortcomings but requiring more training and experience to simply achieve competence. Sad, really.
-A recovering architect
Just happened to stumble upon this thread. Some very interesting thoughts and opinions, didn’t quite manage to make it through them all though :)
I agree that these low budget template ‘designers’ are harming the value or logo design. Everyday I see cheap overused/template designs and companies offering insane prices, but this is the world we live in, competition is very tough and while i believe those prices are stupid, on the flip side, there are instances I don’t agree with the large price tags attached to some branding projects.
I charge £40 / $60 per hour, and usually estimate 4-5 hrs per logo which I’ve found is about right and make decent money, offer the client constant communication throughout and covers a few amends along the way. People’s budgets are tighter than ever just now so value for money is a must.
Thank you, I found this article helpful as well as the comments above. I’ve recently inquired some clients but I charge on an hourly rate differently. For instance, if they’re goal is to create an identity but also a website my rate is about $75+/hr with a deposit. I have a deposit just in case something doesn’t go through… that way at least I get paid for the amount of time spent researching and going out of my way to meetings.
Today a client called me and wanted a logo design for their stationary, and he stated their budget is no more than a couple hundred, less than a $1,000. Sometimes I charge by the hour if I know it will take me some time, or I will charge a flat rate especially if I know it’s a quick job. (if it takes me 4 hours to create a logo with a rate of $60, it makes no sense to charge $240 and walk away)
Clients are different, some are more difficult than others. I consider that in my cost. I’m flexible with smaller companies because I understand relationships are more important than money. Most of my business has come through references. I’m consider myself a junior designer, since I’m a recent graduate but all this is great practice with clients.
Question: Someone stated above to never give clients the raw files, I haven’t had any request yet, but what if they do. Do you have a set cost for it? Tell them no?
So I was wondering… I quoted a very small amount for a logo I did for a guy. Sort of like “helping the guy out”. It was a logo for his business.
Then he comes to me with a logo project for a secondary company he is working on and this is a BIG deal. So I am not sure if I should charge my regular rate. And how I would go about doing that?!
I charged him a flat rate for the first one… and I want to do the same with this job but when he hears how much the 2nd job is going to be, I feel like he is going to be really angry and not want me to d the logo at all.
Anyone have any thoughts on this matter?
Hey Michelle, it will be difficult to charge more than your previous job because your low cost may be the very reason he’s going to you.
There’s one way to find out. Ask him if he has a budget.
If he can’t tell you, then I would put a quote together which estimates your time for the design “process” as opposed to quoting for a “logo”.
Include your time for meetings, research, concept development, design exploration, variations, client changes and logo formats. Include a cost for finished art too and charge for supplying the files as vector and jpeg and black and white versions of each as well. Include two sets of changes in your estimate, additional changes incur additional cost.
Explain to him that this is a bigger project which requires more time and effort than the last one.
If you’re presenting your ideas with colour print outs, charge for them. If you get the prints from an external supplier, mark them up 100% – there’s money to made everywhere on a job like this.
Offer to “apply” the new brand identity to stationery, a website, a brochure, PowerPoint template, email signature, signage, folder – as many things as you can think of because they all need to be designed properly for the new brand identity to work effectively. Again, if you present with laser prints, charge for them. If someone builds a website, mark up the cost and pass it on. You have to charge for everything if you want to make money.
Just remember that you have already “helped him out” so don’t feel bad about charging him for your time.
Get into the habit of referring to the project as a “brand identity”. Never mention “logo”. This way, he’ll begin to understand that this project is different and he won’t be comparing it with the last job.
The question above was:
If a client asks for the raw files, what do you charge?
4 times the cost of the proof.
So if I charged $1,000 for a logo, and the client wanted the files….. it would cost $4,000.
VERY IMPORTANT: add to your contract a clause about Rights Transferred. This allows you to maintain control over this. You DO use a contract right?
Here is my contract, as a sample. I included all the source files. Check it out and USE IT!!! (This one is for web design/SEO, but you can easily modify it for graphic design.)
I disagree, Anthony. What use is a design if your client doesn’t receive the files? It’s like an ice-cream van charging £3 for a scoop then asking for more because it’s in a cone. #youngapprentice
Interesting, David. So when you design something, you give the client the files AND the source files?
I don’t know what the difference is.
Unless your clients are paying you to manage their branding, what reason is there to withhold the artwork they’ve paid for?
The questions isn’t about the artwork. Of course you would supply the client with proofs of the design: PDF, EPS, JPG, GIF, whatever……
If the client wanted the actual source files (PSD, AI, INDD, Quark, etc.) used to create the work, I would have to agree to charge more for that.
Think about hiring a photographer….. they supply you with a photoalbum of proofs, but if you want the negatives, you still have to pay extra. Even after the photographer supplies the negatives (source files), the artist still maintains “portfolio rights” …. that is, the right to display the work in any tangible medium.
Back in 2008, I was working freelance for a major media company in the US, creating Flash ads/banner/logos/print ads….. I worked under my contract, and only supplied proof files (swf, jpg, eps, gif, pdf, etc)….
When our contract ended. they tried to withhold my last check until I supplied all the source files…. for all 800+ ads I had done for them. I would have given them the files anyway, but because they tried to strong arm me, I decided to charge for the original work (as was my right). They tried to fight me, but the judge declared as the artist, I maintained control over the original source files until such time that I transferred rights (I still maintained portfolio rights, either way), and if they wanted the work, they would have to purchase it. Easiest money I ever made (all I had to do was zip the files up, drop them into an FTP window, and check my bank account).
A photographer can charge extra for the negatives.
A fine artist can paint a picture, make a bunch of prints, charge X for the prints, then charge XXXX for the original work.
A digital designer has the same rights. (At least here in the US!)
It’s clear you’ve more experience with the courts than I do, Anthony. Perhaps you can help clear-up my confusion. You said if you charge a client $1,000 for a logo, you’ll supply him/her with an EPS file (amongst others). Why would you then charge $3,000 more for an AI file?
It all boils down to your rights as an artist. I learned it from working at advertising agencies. Prior to my ad agency experience, and the court battle with the media company in 2008, I was getting hired for design work, then I would produce the design work, then my design work would be used on anything under the sun with no additional payments to me, I never asked for any rights, I just packaged up the source files, and the proof files, and sent them all on their merry way to the client.
The trouble was: since the client had my source files, they could take my work to anybody else and have them tweak it. This could be another designer, an ad agency, a print shop, or somebody’s brother with a copy of Photoshop.
This hurt my business in a number of ways.
One, it empowered the client to end their relationship with me very easily. Ideally, if you do great work for someone they will never leave. Not so, in the real world. Often clients are looking to save money, and if that means they don’t have to call you for design adjustments, they won’t. They will take your source files, change anything they want, and your involvement with them is finished. It isn’t about your work….. they are looking to save money.
Two, it allowed the client to muck up my reputation. Let’s say the client took my design to someone else to tweak. That person may not be as qualified, may not understand the reasons for certain design elements, or may not even know what they are doing. Now, when I add the logo or design to my portfolio, tell others I did the logo for company X, or the client tells everyone that I did the work, my name is attached to that work. I would prefer to keep control over something like that. If someone is going to mess up the work I have created, it will be me, unless I have transferred the files and have moved on from the project.
Three, it goes against the business protocol established by the major ad agencies, going back to pre-1960. Most ad agencies create work and then sell usage rights, similar to the way photographers and artists do business. The client buys a design, and a price is decided based on the intended usage. Is the logo only going to be on the stationery, website, and shirts? Great, the price is X. If you want to put the logo on the trucks, hats, cups, and pens, there needs to be additional usage rights purchased. If the client wants to purchase full rights, there is a price for that (usually 4x the cost of the work). If the client wants to have the original source files, there is a price for that. That said, many of today’s designers don’t deal with usage rights…. they simply create a work for any purpose, charge the client a total, and move on. That is fine, but it cuts out a huge piece of your business. The courts understand usage rights as protected under the Copyright Law, and will protect them. In fact, unless specifically transferred in writing, the artist maintains all copyrights on all works, the minute it is created, UNLESS the work is performed under a ‘work for hire’ agreement (Wikipedia). That means, even if you have been just giving the clients full usage rights on a de facto basis, you STILL can charge for usage at any time, until the time you transfer the rights to the client.
The goal is not to ‘lock the clients’ into doing business with you. The goal is to produce killer design work that solves clients’ branding needs, but we as artists also need to protect ourselves with the laws that were created for us. It is difficult for a small time freelance artist dealing with small business owners to work on a contract like this, but when dealing with any major company it is imperative. Any court (in the US at least) will uphold your usage rights, unless the work was created as a ‘work for hire’.
After my experiences, I no longer work without a contract, and I NEVER give the client the raw source files without an agreement or payment in place. Have I had to turn down some work over the years to keep to my guns? Yes. But I haven’t been ripped off either.
All of my business is word of mouth, and the real clients have no problem with the business model. Others won’t get it. I wouldn’t do work with those people, anyway. It just isn’t worth the trouble. I probably sound like a ‘design control freak’ but I didn’t write the law! ;)
Breaking down a project fee into line items is mostly a personal choice. I don’t like the notion of retaining source files. If I believe a client is going to runaway with them and use them, good riddance. That’s why I charge for the whole thing. Instead of breaking it down to $1K for the logo and an additional $3K or so for the source files, I would just charge $4K for “developing the logo.” Otherwise, it seems to value the source files more than the work involved, and $4K for a logo is huge bargain (depending on the size of the company, their product and target audience, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera).
More to the point, my contract states that none of my work product becomes their property until full payment has been made. An important distinction is whether or not they want me to “work for hire.” In the US, work for hire agreements mean that they, even though you’re not an employee, the client owns everything you develop, as if you were an employee, regardless of what they pay you in the end. I’ll do ‘work for hire” but only if I know it up front, and of course, for an appropriate fee.
All said, the more important issue, I believe, is how do we learn to articulate why logos should be considered valuable?
A couple of years ago, I did a research project for myself. I invented an RFP and sent the “request for proposal” to 20 design firms, ranging from sole proprietors, medium-sized companies and international firms. Ten responded with fees ranging from $4000 for the logo and change for stationery to $165,000 -$175,000 for a package consisting of the logo, all stationery and web elements, and a design guide or “bible.”
My notion of charging approximately 1-2% of a company’s value is perfectly appropriate, I believe, and respects my work, the value of the company and the challenge of coming up with something that will work for that company for at least 10 years if not much longer. If a company is making $100K a year, they should be able to afford a $10,000 logo development project.
Obviously, the single hair dresser down the block is not in this category, but a hair salon in the middle of Union Square… or a successful realtor, or a tech startup, etc….
But again, what makes a good logo, one that commands and deserves professional fees? How do we teach our clients to know the difference between our work and the $69 online logo shacks?
Excellent comment, Melton.
David, thank you for such a valuable site. Your site has been around since before I got started, and I have referred to it during the course of my career. Thank you for your contributions to the field. I know you have a couple of books, but maybe one day you could produce a “Best Of DavidAirey.com” or something like that….. I think it would be a great resource.
Whole fully agree – DO NOT give up your source files designers!!! It has become a wild west out there and unfortunately loyalty and ethics mean nothing to businesses these days! I have I’ve given over to many “source” files through the years — whether they have been for a brochure, logo, business card, ads, etc.. and will never do it again! unless i get paid very, very well for them!!! I’ve had clients runaway with projects never to return (even though i may have given them a very great affordable deal at the time) thinking they’d be back to follow thru etc., and then find out they had someone else making changes etc. for much cheaper and have destroyed the look I had painstakingly established! Printers have also take my files i have provided then work directly with my clients making changes etc. and cutting me out all together!!!
I think it we need to change how we do business to protect ourselves? and possibly establishing a “per usage” type of fee structure? similar to photographers or songs even? we should ban together and figure out a standard usage structure somehow?
Supplying your client with “source” files for a print ad is different to supplying your client with a logo in Illustrator or vector format.
Obviously the client needs a vector logo to use in all of their future marketing material forever and a day, where as a print ad is usually supplied as a pdf to the specifications set by the publication at a particular time.
Yes, you would charge your client extra for the Indesign files of a print ad. No you wouldn’t charge your client extra for an Illustrator version of their logo.
How can they know when and where they’ll be using their logo in the future? How do you police it? And why would you even want to?
I’ve never heard of anyone charging “usage rights” for a logo. I guess this is because most companies need to buy it outright anyway.
Just charge an appropriate cost for your time to design a logo for use in all future marketing material… easy.
Glad the site’s been of use, Anthony. Coincidentally, I’ve been thinking of pulling the best content into an ebook.
My thoughts on the files are similar to Dan’s — I won’t charge a client extra for logo source files. “Just charge an appropriate cost for your time.”
OMG THANK YOU ALL of you for this thread…
This is what I been going on about for some time now.
I have couple of questions if anyone would give me some advice…
I am self thought *designer/ inventor* I don’t have university background but I have art skills I wasn’t using well most of my life due to hard life situation that pushed me into construction (cheaper study) and I kept working in this industry for several years now. I always wanted to do something I could use my skills and creativity, every time I watch someone starting the business I feel like – oh man u could do this and that and you got no idea how would that help you…
Saying that I never opened business my self only helped few people and family to run their own and I would probably have a lot of stress and ending up *helping* others not running business.
Man… I remember fixing laptops software for most of my work mates (80% of my current company ppl) – for nothing! just thanks and sometimes not even a pint of beer.
Here is where my wife comes and teach me how to charge for everything and anything and showed me how to say NO!
I would like to start designing logos but I need to start from the beginning….
How and where from to get clients?
How to set up good profolio?
Shall I start own webpage?
Shall I register with online companies that sell logos and upload my work there?
How many variations of logo shall I provide and any other questions i am probably not aware of ?
What are the steps?
You know …basic starter is what I need :S…
If anyone know or have (paid or unpaid) sort of starter/ eBook or willing to help direct me please.
@Sam – You ROCK your comments opened my eye wide lol ;)
@Rest – Great thread and well done all of you wow!
Thanks again :)
What you describe is common and very commendable. You should profit from your natural talents, and improving them is one of the most fulfilling experiences and processes you can go through.
Being a self-taught graphic designer (not a “graphic artist,” there’s a difference) is relatively easy. First off, give yourself assignments. Find samples of design work that you think is awesome and find samples that you think you could improve on, and then do so. Those become your first portfolio pieces (as long as you point out that they are “spec” or speculative pieces, not actual paid work — if it’s an AOL ad or email layout or whatever, don’t claim that you actually worked for AOL, until you do.).
Also, learn who the best designers are and were. Wikipedia, I’m sure is a great start as is this site. Find and develop design heroes of your own and articulate for yourself why they’re good and why they’re your heroes. For instance, mine is Saul Bass, fundamentally because he worked across the board, not only on logos but on virtually everything… (I have more reasons why he’s my hero, but that’s a start).
In other words, start formulating your own code for what makes you a great designer (What is a “designer?”).
Q. I would like to start designing logos but I need to start from the beginning….
A. Either create your own company names and design logos for them, or do new logos for large, known companies, sort of as I described above.
Start with pen and paper and work only in black and white, no color, not until the logo design is finalized. Then figure out color.
Q. How and where from to get clients?
A. Craigslist and word of mouth. Personal references will be your best connections. But to start, you need to start telling people that you’re a designer!
Q. How to set up a good portfolio?
A. That’s a never-ending process. Do the above steps and pick your best pieces to show off. Don’t show mediocre work, unless you want to do more mediocre work.
Q. Shall I start own webpage?
A. Yes, WordPress.com or WordPress.org. You can set up a free site in 15 minutes… You can read about them at my site or theirs: http://www.anadguy.com/blog/2009/01/01/wordpress-what-is-it-how-do-you-use-it-why/
Q. Shall I register with online companies that sell logos and upload my work there?
A. NO, NO, NO, NO!!!! They sell logos for peanuts and you want to be a professional designer! NO! They have almost single-handedly ruined design for everyone (along with the PC and the death of type houses).
You can sign up with placement agencies for temp or permanent employment.
Q. How many variations of logo shall I provide and any other questions i am probably not aware of ?
A. A typical logo development (or any design development) project shoots for presenting 3 options: small, medium and large, low price, medium, expensive, quite, moderate, loud, depending on what goal or challenge you’re trying to reach or solve. To produce 3 candidates that you would show your client, you have to come up with at least ten times as many options that you never share with them. The reason you don’t share that with them is because they’ll instantly think it’s a “Chinese Menu” and pick and choose bits from this one and pieces from that one and ruin everything. The resulting logo will look like a mutant platypus baby.
Q. What are the steps?
A. Whether you go to design school (or community college) or teach yourself, you’ll only get out of the effort what you put into it. I too am self-taught and I started (unconsciously) in junior high all the way up to my first job at an ad agency. The first step is to just get started and start thinking of yourself as a graphic designer. Any areas where you fall short as a graphic designer will stand out and those will be the areas you should work on. Easy!
Q. If anyone know or have (paid or unpaid) sort of starter/ eBook or willing to help direct me please.
A. David’s site here is an awesome resource if only for one major thing, a correct understanding of what good design is. There’s a common request you’ll hear from clients that they believe means “cheaper” and “easier.” They’ll say that the logo design or whatever design they want only needs to be simple, “just something simple.” They don’t realize that simple is one of the most difficult things to achieve, particularly when there are so many factors involved in what any given logo is needing to achieve. Logos are like trying to hit a large target with several bullseyes with one arrow.
Lastly, charge at least $500 for your logos, starting out. At 80 hours of work to come with those 3 good candidates, that’s at least $6.25 an hour!!! Well below minimum wage. So, charge accordingly, for your time.
Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!!!!
You dont know how much it means to me I been stuck in construction for several years not knowing where to start and really want to finally move on and do what i want to do…
Like many others, I stumbled across this thread through Google and I must say that the attitudes displayed by some of the self-proclaimed “artists” on here is appalling to say the least, not to mention a bad example for your young colleagues just getting their feet wet in the industry.
I’m a film director that has done some work in the advertising industry so I can sympathise with those who feel that their work is undervalued by clients who do not understand the creative process and time spent on conceptual work and post production. However, what you must realise is; there are kids out there who have potentially been using the same software you use on a day-to-day basis for nearly as long as you have. Do they have the experience of corporate offices, marketing, brand building? No, of course not. But can they turn around a project in half the time for 1/10th the cost? I’m willing to bet they can.
If you feel at all bad, then spare a thought for the music video industry. I’m sure you’d all agree that debut videos by artists such as Britney Spears have contributed to their success in much the same way as many big company’s logos have contributed to theirs. Many of the big record labels are now only willing to spend as little as $10,000 for a debut video. That is a total budget to cover everything from the food for the crew, to the hair and makeup, to the cost of driving around a van full of equipment. How is this accomplished? By people who are able to undertake roles that were previously accomplished by many before the days when you could learn the all the tricks of the trade before you’d even left high school (as well as unpaid interns, of course….).
In my opinion, this situation is somewhat worse since music videos starting being sold on iTunes. The work some people have been paid next to nothing for can now be sold directly to the consumer for $2 a pop…
Do we complain too? Sure we do. But nothing like the rants I’ve seen on this thread.
If you truly are an artist and are getting paid to do what you enjoy, then you have nothing to complain about. I’ve met directors, composers, designers, photographers who would bend over backwards for the money you’re talking about here.
But if you got into the creative industries to make a lot of money and are annoyed that you aren’t, then take a run up and kick yourself in the ass because it’s you that’s to blame, not the client who doesn’t want to spend 10% of their budget on a logo or the kid who loves designing so much he’d do it for a nominal fee.
Is that you, Herman Cain, blaming the “poor for being poor?” But seriously, your thoughtfully written call for appreciation is valid, but off the mark.
While some may be ranting or even whining (not like I’ve never heard film crews whine before), the point you’re missing is that (if the budget allows) you should be paid for what your talent is worth.
That seems to raise the question, What is your talent worth? Sadly, only “you” can answer it as you navigate the waters of “various clients with their various tastes and various levels of knowledge and various budgetary concerns.”
As for diminishing wages, that is why the unions have fought so hard in the film industry to monitor union and non-union film gigs. Start-up music videos most likely tend to be non-union and therefore very vulnerable to price gouging.
The music industry is a bad example to raise particularly because it’s rife with stories of labels and producers ripping off well-meaning, gratefully eager and incredibly talented artists whose music really has enriched the world, simply because they could (…or maybe it’s a great example…).
So, 10% of someone’s budget? Ridiculous. But 1.5% of their company’s value? That’s totally appropriate, particularly if they want to “play with the big boys,” or look like it.
As for the kids who have spent the time on the apps to be able to do the job in a tenth of the time, that raises an interesting phenomenon I like to call “There’s knowing how to do something and then there’s knowing how to do something.”
“Anyone” can know how to make a logo in Adobe Illustrator. But, that doesn’t mean that they know what defines a good logo, by that I mean a logo that thoroughly serves the client in every way they need, now and more importantly, as their business grows.
In a word, what makes a logo bad is that it turns out “grey.” It blends into the fray because it’s doing the same thing all the other logos are doing and therefore is not a distinct brand.
While I’m an expert at Adobe Illustrator, I can develop a logo on a napkin, one that achieves the positive goals I mentioned. After that, it’s production…
I know how to do it, and I know how to do it.
So, turning around a project in half the time for 1/10th the cost only produces work that has no clarity, uniqueness, persuasiveness or longevity, which instead is only worth some percentage of 0. To me that sounds like a bad investment or the classic “penny wise, pound foolish.”
The same applies to knowing how to direct a film. Anyone can direct a film, but directing a good, let alone great, film is another story. Should the “kid” who “knows how” be allowed to step into your role without hearing any complaints?
There was another commenter here who took issue with the whining and made the comment that she had a job that she was grateful for and that those here should stop complaining about not making millions of $s or £s. But she forgot that her salaried job gives her benefits and health insurance, whereas most contractors here don’t have that. Which means that safeguarding one’s income is a little bit more critical when you’re not on a salary. So, it’s a bit more complicated.
To shift gears, perhaps the worst word to include in this discussion is “creative,” as in “creativity, creative process, creative artists,” etc. because it so easily makes it sound like what we’re talking about is playtime instead of work. And it raises the idea of “the kid who loves designing so much he’d do it for a nominal fee” or worse. What that then does is leave you with “a kid” doing your most important work (in this sentence, I think of “a kid” as someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing as opposed to a young person).
No, the point of all of this work or process is to make something that makes a difference in the real world, in business, with masses of people, not thousands, but millions (hopefully). Whether clients understand or appreciate the creative process is ultimately irrelevant. What they need to understand is the value of the end-result, a piece of work that (to paraphrase Rosser Reaves) makes the damn sales curve rise. If the corporation makes millions off of that work, it’s only fair that they pay for it.
That work is not worth a nominal fee or a ridiculous chunk of someone’s marketing budget. It’s worth real money.
The lessons to be taught to young colleagues is respect. Respect your client, their needs, everyone’s time, effort, additional stakes, your work and yourself.
Mutual respect allows for great things to happen, whether that’s a film or a logo.
I don’t think this debate will ever end. And that’s because the question is open to interpretation, the question is too generic, too broad.
It’s like saying how much does a meal cost? It really depends on whether you go to McDonalds or a three-star Michelin restaurant.
Different customers have different requirements, different budgets, different values, different reasons for wanting a logo and different views on its role.
There is no answer to this question. And that’s why this thread just keeps on going.
Very well put!
(caution: this video contains explicit language – but drives the point home of how creatives get taken advantage, and how we are allowing our profession to be devalued). from a writers perspective…
Great discussion on the compensation and creative integrity in a profession that has seen erosion due people thinking now that they can put their phone reception in front of a computer to do some desktop publishing and call it “creative design.”
Cheers for the discussion and sharing.
What is you’re advice for beginning Graphic Designers who want to get out there designing for companies or even freelancing while they finish their degree? What would you recommend as a starting charge fee and how do they know what places are not worth their time or talent?
My names andrew and I’m finishing high school and I’m really internsted in
logo design, And i wanted to know what is like being a logo designer?
do you have to go to school? do you start your own bussiness?
were do you start?
Thank you very much
Hi Amanda, I’ve compiled advice for design students on davidairey.com. I hope that’s of some help. As for what to charge. Once you earn a design degree you might start at £20 per hour. It’s always better to charge by the project, but if you have an hourly rate in mind, it’s easier to arrive at a total project cost.
Andrew, that resource should answer one or two of your questions from my viewpoint. Good luck.
I am a partner in small business start-up [e-commerce]. We are looking for a graphic designer and wanted a reasonable price due to our limited funds. If a company cannot afford let’s say a $1000.00 budget for logos onto of rights what do you suggest as the alternative?
If a business cannot afford $1,000 (or more) for their corporate identity, but they intend to be operating at competitive or higher level, I would recommend paying a higher (much higher) fee but on installments that would not break the bank. That way, the designer is paid for their expertise and the business can afford their logo.
Thank you very much for your response!! I didn’t even think about that as an option. Good idea!
Thank you very much for answering my questions. You and a couple other people I enjoy following and listening too.
I am writing less on this subject and more on a help subject. I am from New Orleans, LA and I did a logo project for a friend. I am a student and so is he, so I only charged $75. Long story short, I gave it to him before he finished paying in full. He refuses to pay me unless i hand over all the rights to everything i’ve done and he has even threatened to sue me. He refuses to communicate with me or follow my very polite requests to take down my property. Of course I cannot afford legal aid, and I was wondering if ANYBODY KNOW A PRO BONO LAWYER??? Please anything will help.
Hi Breanna, just let it go – it’s not worth the hassle. I know these things can make you very angry but just take it as experience and next time ask for half the money up front and half on completion.
I don’t know what this guy does for money but if he has any clients perhaps you could find their email addresses and copy them in on your correspondence with him. This will soon get him communicating with you. And don’t worry about his threats to sue you, it won’t happen if you don’t have any money.
Yes, require a down payment of 1/2 & C.O.D. upon delivery of final logo. and my rec. for freebee’s, or cheap clients — don’t give over your original vector art files or layered PSD files, only give them a hi-res jpg. Your client needs to come back to you to properly size and prep the file for the vendor for what ever they’re wanting to use it on (for a charge of course). …also, we are in a day & age where we need to disclose what we are willing to turn over to a client, and at what $. (contractually). It doesn’t matter if is your aunt Bee, Uncle Tom or your friend! there are way to many assumptions by clients, and designers getting taken advantage of at every turn. and on that note: Never Ever give a client your original / source InDesign files!!! convert your fonts to outlines, save as a new doc., and only give them a hi-res print-ready PDF file. Otherwise they’ll just take the files and run off to someone else to use down the road. Sadly there is no loyalty in this industry any longer i’ve been burnt way to many times… I’ve even had printers that i recommended, re-using my files for years making changes and edits for my clients and have cut me out of the mix. Nice. huh ? Now if a client wants you to design a “template” for them to use and keep reusing — then that’s an entire different ball game and priced accordingly — at a premium. IMO.
Hi. I’m not a designer, but I’ve been a client who purchased logo work for a small non-profit, a large non-profit, a small-ish company, and soon for a ‘no-profit’ project. I’ve worked with firms, with freelancers, with in-house designers, and with students. I’d like to contribute a few thoughts to the group for your consideration.
1. I didn’t know what I didn’t know when I started. The first time I needed a logo I had no idea how long it would take my designer to create a logo, nor did I know what research would be required, or what I needed to supply. I didn’t know where I planned to use the logo, or for how long, or who owned the rights to what. Of course, I didn’t know the value of a logo or what I should expect to pay. I was lucky that along the way I had the good fortune to work with an in-house designer and got to peek behind the curtain to see how much work went into doing a logo design. But I wish that the first designer I worked with would have explained more to me going into that first project. I wasn’t a ‘bad’ client, but I could have been better.
2. It is always good to get it in writing. I had to ask questions about almost every paragraph for one of the contracts I signed. Yes, I negotiated a couple of clauses. I’ve had to check back to see how many revisions I was entitled to more than once, and I’ve been able to hold meddling committees at bay by referring to what was in a contract.
3. Don’t ask me what my budget is. It makes me think you have a sliding scale for your work. ( I see from these comments that some of you do charge according to the size of the company. Hmm, does that mean you do better work for the guys who pay more?) What was more helpful for me was a choice of packages that includes “x” number of treatments and “x” number of revisions for “x” cost, and “y” treatments plus “y” revisions for “y” cost. Tell me what I get in terms of finished art, and tell me what you charge if I want the original artwork too. Tell me an hourly rate in case I’ve forgotten something, or can’t get something through a committee and need yet another change. Your pricing lets me know if you are a designer within my financial range. If you want my business enough that you are willing to negotiate you can always say so.
4. Tell me what you need from me – but be patient. Yes, logos are tied to branding, but sometimes a new company doesn’t know what their brand is going to stand for because we haven’t even thought about it. A PR firm I once worked with forced me into developing an elevator pitch that described our company in one line. We delivered one, but it took us a year of changing it to get it right. Many small company owners are really great at their products and services. Marketing and branding? Not so much. Be patient with us.
5. Your logo goes on my company not yours. OK, so you’re not so wild about the version that ultimately got picked. But this logo represents me and my company, and I’m the one that has to live with it every day on my website, and letterhead, and t-shirts, and ads, and maybe even company trucks. You can tell all your friends what bad taste I have, but as long as you get paid I’m entitled to live with something that I like.
OK – that’s my two cents from the client’s point of view.
So you have no money, no brief, no experience and no taste. And you want to give designers some advice?
Thanks, but no thanks.
So here is my question… What would you suggest for me, an photographer/artist who is getting requests from friends to do logo design, charge those friends and family members for such work? Advice?
Alex. I think if you take a little bit of effort and read some of the posts you will find the answer to your question. This is in fact what the whole thread is about, and it has been asked many times before. There is no easy answer- hence the reason for it’s longevity. ie 4+ years ;-)
Was googling this when this discussion came up so…
I have started a small buisiness doing logo designs, just for fun and a bit of money. I am still in school but plan to make this my career later on. My question however is how much SHOULD I be charging now?
Here’s a link to my facebook page so you can see what I do:
While some of your points are valid points 3 and 5 are what makes working with some clients infuriating.
You get what you pay for. If you have more budget you get a better outcome. The problem with a lot of clients is that they expect “The Ferrari” when they can only afford the “The Honda”. By knowing your Budget a designer can quickly work out whether your wasting your time and theirs.
If you aren’t willing to take the advice of the designer as to which logo is best and just want to choose what YOU think is best then save yourself the money and design the logo yourself. Designers with years of experience know what they need to produce and can explain the reasons why they have produced it. Nothing irritates designers more when clients think they know better then they do.
I have a few pricing questions, like Amy, I have also started a graphic design business over Facebook. I am also still in school, and may or may not make this my career in the future. I am doing this page in order to see how I like it, but what should I be charging for designs?
I design anything, for anyone, not just businesses (tattoos, band merch/posters, logos, etc). At this point in time, I am not really in it for the money, I would be extremely happy with $100 for one of my designs (as long as it wasn’t a big company I was designing for, then I would want a lot more). But if I sell off designs so cheap, like Todd said, “It undermines and devalues the entire design industry!”
There is software out there now, that can be used to create a lot of logos. How has that affecting your competition and pricing? As well as the process of handing of the finished product to clients.
This thread has been very helpful. My line of work is typically in architectural design and visualization but I’ve recently been branching into product branding and design. Two potential clients have asked me to present a rate for the design of their logo, actual product, and all associated marketing material that they are planning to pitch to investors this coming fall.
For my freelance architectural work I would typically charge $40/hr for straight-up modeling and rendering, and $80/hr for architectural design input. Architectural designs, however, are highly custom and are not repeatedly sold for continual future revenue like this would be. Any suggestions for fixed rate vs. hourly, and whether I need to create a formal agreement between us regarding equity and design rights if the product is successfully launched into the US market?
My friend’s father is starting his own electrician company.
My friend knows that I like to do graphic designing and he’s seen some of my work & thinks I’m a great designer.
So he told his father, and then his father asked me if I’d be able to do the job.
I of course said yes & asked some questions.
Now, after working for about 20-30 hours, I’ve got a logo ready for him.
He thinks it is ”perfect” and ”beautiful”.
The thing is, I have NO IDEA what I should charge him.
I’m 17, I’ll be 18 in December.
I haven’t gotten any education on graphic designing so far (I will go to college next year & study it there).
Does anyone know what I should ask?
Or could someone inform me from what range to what range I should pick my price?
Please take in mind, that he thinks it is ”perfect” and ”beautiful”.
I’d love any kind of answer/feedback.
Well, I’m pretty intrigued by the stuff I’ve been reading. I’m from Zimbabwe and mostly do freelance work for a number of small companies. How do you get people to take you seriously when you charge them the rate you think you deserve and it seems to be a bit steep for them?
Has anyone ever heard the quote “Asking a designer how much for a logo is like asking a realtor how much for a house”? The cost of a logo project has to reflect their wants and needs. Every company is different and the price of the logo should reflect that.
I know it’s a vague answer but one really needs to assess the client and range of the project. And it’s worth asking– a quote from my mom (a formerly successful designer): “How much is your time worth?”
While I understand that designers should be paid for their creative talents, I find myself being on the other side of the fence here. My partner’s and I are starting up a business with a very limited amount of capitol. Paying upwards to 3K for a company insignia is just really not an option since most of our start-up capitol is going into equipment costs. Would it be an insult to make an offer of $500 for an initial design? Keep in mind that this is the kind of business that, as it grows, will have many more design needs in the future so we are looking for someone we can also rely on.
This is the most crucial scenario for professional graphic designers and business owners.
I believe the most honorable solution would be installments.
If you’re starting a business and your business has a brain tumor, you wouldn’t ask your surgeon to accept a fraction of their fee simply because of bad timing. Instead, you’d pay their fee over time.
I think this is the only logical and honorable solution that respects the work the (good) designer is doing and allows your business to thrive.
I qualify designer with the word good because this assumes that a business first and foremost understands the true value of their potential new logo. If done correctly, that logo not only represents all of the core values and value propositions of your new business, it communicates those instantly to the reader/viewer/consumer/audience and could do so for the next several decades.
That’s worth way, way more than a one-time payment of $500. It’s worth more than $3,000, but…
But some business owners don’t care… or don’t need… a great logo, so any squiggle that you can get online for $40 might work….
Remember, “simple” is not easy and crafting the right sort of china to show off your metaphorical gourmet cooking takes talent and a whole lot of work.
Oh, and those additional future design needs will be other projects, not a continuation of the original logo project and not continued remuneration for that logo.
You would not want to be paid in “more work.” That just further discounts the original, discounted work.
That’s almost like saying, “You should be happy you’re getting any more work.” A good designer is basically introducing your business to the world and making it clear what that business is and does.
Jenny, you get what you pay for.
$500 is a reasonable amount to pay for a logo done by an inexperienced design student or a so called “designer” from India. The question is, what do you get for your $500?
Well, let’s say for arguments sake the final logo actually meets all of the criteria set out in your brief. There’s still no guarantee that the logo is an original design which leaves you in a very vulnerable position and open to litigation for breach of copyright if the logo has been copied. All that start-up capitol and new equipment will have to be sold off to pay the lawyers.
Secondly, how do you know your brief was right in the first place? Unless you’re qualified or have plenty of hands-on experience in marketing communications, it’s unlikely you will know what to ask for. A good designer will listen to your reading of the situation, discuss all of your objectives and then suggest a whole range of things you never knew existed or could ever possibly imagine. You won’t get that for $500.
Then comes the design itself. Is it practical and adaptable? Will it fit on the side of a pen? Is it economical to reproduce? Does it work in one colour? Can you emboss it, foil it, die-cut it? Does it differentiate you from competitors? Is it elegant and beautiful? If you answer no to any of these questions, then you could be in for a nasty surprise down the track. A logo lasts a long time and needs to be adaptable enough to work in any circumstance without loss of integrity. A logo viewed in the middle of a white screen sent to you by pdf is different to a logo which lives and breathes in the real world surrounded by it’s environment. You need to see your logo in context – applied across different executions – to understand how it really works. You won’t get that for $500.
But how would you know any of this unless an experienced designer explains it all to you? Sure, you can take what I’ve written here and try to do it all by yourself but I’ve seen it all before and it never works. You’ll just end up as another B-Grade brand who winds up after a year and wonders where it all went wrong.
Seriously though, what are you doing trying to set up a business with a $500 budget for a brand identity?
$500? really! I’m in high school at the moment and have started up a small business designing logos for mostly equestrian related services. I design for my customer according to their requirements and specific desires. Now, I am only charging $120 as I haven’t gone to college or formally “studied” in this area. Is this ok? Should I be charging more or less? I always have happy customers (: they seem to like my work.
thanks for you help!
Hi! I’ve been in the industry for 4 years, still a fresh one! One subject that hasn’t been touched here is tax and accounting portion. Students and entry level design often haven’t established themselves as a business. Therefore having lower rates on contract work is understandable. The money goes in your pocket, without losing 50% to taxes or insurances.
Although the prices may under cut those who have paid to do business as a legitimate taxable business. I understand that that lowered price can mar the industry, but with all the struggling young adults trying to pay students loans, I do understand. I also think some of these prices are ridiculous, even with a taxable income. I think just as easy as it is to charge too little, companies swindle small businesses into paying way too much!
As the times and ease of web design for laymen change, so must the designers! Don’t be so unreasonable that people are forced to use sites like Wix and build their own, or go to uneducated people for a discount logo. Depending on the designers level of experience personally… I would take the $500. I feel like if the client wants to spend $500, then you work within their budget or risk losing them to a student or web building site. If your company doesn’t have a lot to spend, than I suggest we focus on the more important things, hopefully with the great marketing I do, that company excels and comes to me in the future for more. Its a money game like any industry – best of luck!
Remember to ask for a deposit on your time! When I started out I charged $25 per hr under the table. This way if the client provided a lot of the files they were charged less than those who didn’t.
“It is important that you convey to your clients that their brand identity is an investment in their company. It is not a one-time project, but something that will walk the path with them for many years. The logo will appear on everything and set the standard for their company image.” –Sam
Very good advice above – Our services/skills should be valued as much as any other trade. And there are certainly good reasons to value it.
I landed on this post by Googling “how much should I charge for a logo” after racking my brain on what to charge a new client. Thanks for the great post and the great comments. I always struggle with pricing but I think I’ll struggle less with this new insight.
I have a question in regards to pricing for logos. I just recently graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Multi-Media, and did an on-campus internship this past year. I just did a piece for a band and am wondering how much to charge. It’s a relatively simple design and didn’t take long so I was only going to charge $115 considering my limited experience. After reading some of these comments however, I am reconsidering. Can someone please assist me? I would really appreciate it. I can even show you the design to help you better think of a price.
Hi Briana, sometimes you can work out a fair price by checking out your competition.
If it’s a website for a band who are not making much money, it’s fair to say they only want a cheap website.
So type “cheap website” into Google and look at the prices. If the average is about $300, I would charge that.
The real value for you comes with having a portfolio piece you can show to other prospective clients.
It’s hard to find clients. There are so many variables at play (especially when you’re selling online). It’s almost never the price, or even your portfolio. It comes down to good quality traffic. If you’re good at networking and pulling people in, then there’s no limit to what you can charge.
I wish I wasn’t so shy. :(
Not a designer, but I do like to read and look at various design work from design oriented sites. Thought I’d offer a different perspective as a client.
For a prior venture, I went with an inexperienced designer for logo work, who did it for $300. Didn’t like the result too much, but it was good enough.
For a new company I’m starting, I decided to spend more money on logo and design work. I worked with a designer with over a decade of experience, who had some good looking work, and was working for a design firm. I spent a sizeable (for me) amount of money (under $2,000) and time with this designer. In the end, I didn’t like the result too much either. It’s good enough, but for me, I didn’t get more value out of this compared to the $300 logo.
I’m actually considering scrapping it all and starting over. I kind of wish I had only spent $300 this time, so I wouldn’t feel so bad about scrapping it all.
Frankly, I’ve seen this pattern in other fields as well. The old-timers take longer and charge more, but don’t necessarily do better work. But they always complain about the young guns that do it faster and cheaper.
As I’ve learned many times in life, the statement “you get what you paid for” is often not true.
Hhhmm…. As an older designer who is faster and therefore cheaper than the young ones (in the long run) my first question is Why didn’t you have these two designers redo their work until you were satisfied?
Barring too many capricious revisions, every designer’s job is to achieve the goal of developing a winning design. Not all clients know what that is, but getting a client’s approval and meeting with their satisfaction does tend to be a component of the process.
Did you approve the final designs delivered to you? Why?
I didn’t mean to say experience doesn’t matter. It does, most of the time. And I’m often impressed with the designs I see around the web from experienced designers. Unfortunately, that was not the case for me.
With both designers, they showed me a few possible designs with 2 revisions. I used up the revisions with both designers. With the cheaper designer, his lack of experience showed through in the difference designs he presented. Luckily, one of them was good enough. After 2 revisions, the problem was the combination of colors he chose to stay with. Since I know my way around illustrator, this was good enough and I could adjust on my own.
The more expensive design was with a friend (usually a bad idea already). Even after sitting down with me to discuss my business and the image I wanted to project, and even after 2 revisions, he never really captured the direction I wanted to go in. Seemed like he had an already formed idea of the style he wanted, and that’s what he did. The work in and of itself was not bad, but not what I wanted. Since more changes was going to cost more, and to spare the friendship, I just let it go.
I have an artist friend and asked him to design a logo for my new clothing business. I told him I would pay him, he did the work which I love and asked me what was in my budget for it. HELP! I asked him how many hours, he said he would never bill hourly. I just got started and don’t really have a budget yet. I was thinking $250 but I have no idea. Please give me some tips.
3 things to keep in mind:
1- The logo quality- If you are really satisfied with it, make sure you reward your designer.
2- The market- Take a look around and see how much other designers on your area charge.
3- He’s your fiend- my friends usually pay me a little bit more when I do designs for them.
Hope I was useful. :)
Great thread! So I’ve been designing for about 5 years now, mostly for myself, “friends” and aquantinces that own franchises/small business’ and I’ve recently taken the leap to run my own printing shop/ design company. This being my first “big” job, I have done about 18-20 hours of design work including logo, front and back tshirt design, and poster designs. Client is a “friend” of sorts, I would like to set a reasonable price without hurting me, or the client as well. I will also be taking care of all printing aspects of the order, but I have prices set for printing costs. If anyone has any advice for me it would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
Hi, I just graduated and got my first (paid) job request to do a logo. It is for a friend, we don’t see each other that often and are not as close as I am with others in the group. Since she works in pr she is keeping in touch with me for some more possible work for her clients… I am having real trouble setting a price. As I just graduated and do not have that much experience at all … Can anyone help please…?
@Izz: $15 – $20 an hour, 40 hours of work.
This may have already been covered, and I apologize if it has, but with respect to customers that “don’t have the budget” or “don’t want to pay” – What do you suppose the reaction would be, if you walked into a Nissan dealership and told the owner of the dealership “Hey, I love The 370z, but I only have a budget of about $2k. Can you sell me one of your new 370z’s for around $2k?” or if you walked into Applebees and told the manager you could only afford $3 for a meal? They would tell you to go away.
Why then, either early on when you know work comes less frequently, or later on when you know you have worked to build a good reputation and customer base, would you ever undersell yourself? When a potential “Customer” comes to you, and bickers (all customers will try to negotiate a better cost, this is understandable, but bickering is not negotiation) with you about cost, it’s a good sign that your potential customer is going to nit-pick you throughout the entire process looking for ways to “cut costs” and “maximize their investment” increasing your work load and making the project a loss. Far too often, I’ve seen good designers get throttled by cheap-skates that will blast the designer with a ton of “faults” to get out of paying the bill, which then gives the designer a bad reputation.
I’m not trying to bad-mouth customers. For every bad one, there’s a great one, but know and understand that catering to those who are looking for the lowest possible price is dealing with your typical Wal-Mart customer. Harsh words, but realistic.
Always ask your customer if (s)he is willing to sell you his or her product at 70 to 90 percent off… If they are, well, maybe you can strike a deal. If not.. then you know what you are getting into.
It goes a bit back and forth in the reasoning here all the time. Isn’t about time that designers, working to lift other’s brands, become a bit steady themselves …? Any Logo Designer needs to analyze and promote their own brand and take a stand. Whether you want to make logo for a “too low price” or a “too high price”, make a decision and focus on what you decided. Look for knowledge from those who charge a low price if you choose that and from those who charge a higher price if you choose that. Work on your own positioning and argue where you are. There will always be price differences. Don’t turn it into an identity crisis because that instability is not a good foundation to give others strong and lasting marketing concepts. Stand firmly where you have chosen to be and you will attract those who want to pay your price. You can’t change the industry. Coach yourself and your own brand first. Then you will be reliable for the customers you want.
Hello everyone, I would like to start working as a freelancer. I just don’t know how do get customers. I am working on my website now but how do I promote it and let companies know about me?
Evelyn, just start telling people, tell everybody you know. Get yourself a neat little business card with your web address on it so people can see examples of your work. Eventually, you will get a small job (probably from a friend of a friend) and that will lead to bigger jobs. You won’t get highly paid work until you have the experience, which takes time. Give it a year or two and never ever give up. Perseverance will beat talent any day of the week.
WOW. thank you so much for this article and for the long run of comments that are so awesome to read through. I am freelancing for the second time and this time around I want to step up what I charge. It’s so unnerving. I am working on a quote for a non profit and I was so struggling this morning but now I feel confident in a what I feel is healthy price for me and for them as a non profit that I am happy to support. THANKS! David, I’ve always appreciated your stuff as well and have been following your writing for a while.
You’re more than welcome, Lindsey.
It’s difficult to price when you don’t have any guidance. I’ve recently found out I have been selling myself short and that’s without counting the many times I’ve been taken advantage of.
I was doing a banner design for a client. He is a nice guy, retired, and is starting a ministry. He wanted to reproduce a design from the past but had no record of the design. Basically he described it and I began the project, pretty accurate on the first layout, then it was just details, or so I thought.
He said the old designer pretty much charged “nothing” for the design and had the banner printed very cheap. To help out I charged $100 for the design (thought it would be simple) and told him he would have to find someone to print it for him. I just found out he will be paying $600 to have the banner printed… and I charged $100??
We went through about 5 rounds of revisions and meetings every week after work (I have a full time job). Each meeting was about 1hr. Total project time was around 12hrs (cost would have been around $600 just in designing). To top it off, the client threw in a logo and business card design in the middle of the project without asking about price or anything – my mistake, I know. I decided I would design the logo and cards to put in my portfolio since I don’t have much.
Cost of logo and business card design $400. Now he wants a brochure and I am obviously going to charge for it, but I don’t know how much to charge and how to approach the fee since I’ve been basically working for him for free. Total free work $900. I’m tired of working so hard and be taken advantage of, any suggestions?
Hi Rossa, the first thing I do with any new client is find out whether they have any money. If they don’t have money, I don’t bother.
The way to find out if they have money is to ask if they have a budget for the job. If they can’t tell you a budget then submit a written cost estimate based the hours you expect the job to take. For example:
Concept development 2hrs $200
Design 3hrs $300
Finshed Art 2 hrs $200
Image Library Search 2hrs $200
Stock image usage 4 images $200
Image retouching 2hrs $200
Project management 6hrs $600
Laser prints x 10 $30
Low res pdf x 10 $50
Digital file transfer $50
Include in your cost estimate, how many rounds of revisions it includes eg. This cost estimate allows for 3 rounds of minor revisions.
Then get the client to agree to it and have them sign it before you start any work. You might want to ask for 50% up front if it’s a new client to find out whether or not they’re honest.
If they agree to your cost and then you find out during the job they’re asking for more than you estimated, simply revise the estimate and get them to sign it again before you continue working. What usually happens is they start to realise things cost money so they start making smarter decisions. This streamlines the process for both you and them and actually makes everyone a lot happier. They’ll walk away satisfied and so will you.
Hope that helps.
Thank you Dan, I will keep this in mind from now on. I’m actually going print it out and keep it as a guide when I do this. Recently another client wanted me to create a logo and stationery for his new company. I was more formal and sent him a design brief; it seem it was too much work for him to complete it. After a couple of days I emailed him and said he hadn’t had time to complete it; that’s why I usually don’t do formal design briefs, some people are too busy or too lazy. While waiting for the information on his company I came up with an estimate and sent it to the client. He had a fit, to say the least. He said he JUST wanted a logo and was not planning on spending that much money since he’s just starting his business ($450). Of course, I never heard back from him. As far as other designers being upset at us “little designers trying to make a $1 out of 15 cents” we charge what we can to make some money. Some of us don’t have the contacts or network to be able to charge the proper fees and choose our clients. Some of us are chosen by the clients and not the other way around. Some of us rather make 1/2 the fee for a design than nothing at all. It’s just difficult to see a client walk away because they don’t want to pay and you doubt yourself as a designer and think maybe your fees are too high (which I know they are not).
Hi, I’m just starting a new graphic, web and multimedia design business, and I need advice on how to price.
A client saw my one of my works (a slide animation for corporate presentations) and asked if could do same for him and I said yes. When asked how much, I told him £150 (which is about $120) and he immediately jumped at the offer. Now on seeing the demands and how he wants it, I am thinking I must’ve undercharged. How do I get him to pay more, since I’ve not started the project?
Emmanuel, you can increase your overall cost by submitting a written cost estimate which itemises all of the different cost centres associated with the project. You could charge for the following:
Photography & associated costs
Stock Image search
Stock Image Usage Rights
PDF – Low resolution
Request for files
Burn to DVD
Digital despatch (FTP etc)
This is just an example. Depending on how you produce the slide animation, you could potentially charge for a whole lot more.
I’m assuming that when you told him $120, it was verbal. If you submit your cost estimate in writing, that will overwrite what you said verbally. A pdf via email is fine for this. Then follow up with a phone call.
Just make sure that one of your cost centres has the figure of $120 so when he questions you on the price, you can say “I thought you meant just the animation, not the total cost of the project”.
If your client can see where his money is going, he shouldn’t have a problem with the cost. Ask him to approve the written cost estimate by signing it before you start work. This is very, very, very important.
How much extra you charge is up to you but just remember if he wants another one in the future he will expect it at the same price. It’s often better to go in high and negotiate from there.
Thanks for your immediate reply.
I told him that as a reply to his e-mail. Is it still possible I could overwrite it by following the format you’ve shown above, submitting a total cost estimate?
Probably not, I wouldn’t. Just save it for the next job.
So you mean I should stick to the $120, not to scare him away? or something could still be done, maybe?
If you have already quoted a cost of $120 in writing, I would stick to it.
Thank you very much Dan…
God bless you.
Hi, I’m a designer/art director who’s been working actively for over 10 years freelance and in house at different agencies in Los Angeles. I have a new freelance client, who is a rather big name – a celebrity musician going on tour this fall and I’ve been tasked with creating all visual aspects of this tour. I’ll be creating everything pertaining to the tour including the artist’s logo, promo graphics, a plethora of merch items to be sold at shows and online, as well as redesigning the artist’s many social network sites and personal website. I’ll be handing over all files and copyrights for the promo art to the artist, however I will be doing all of production work involved in to the future. The artist is signed to a major record label and working with A-level publicists and PR companies and will be showcasing the artwork I create on TV, in print and all over the web – the exposure is not even mesasurable.
I’m thinking I’d like to charge for the concept of the promo art (a designed image of the artist with a logo + tour name lock up) as one piece as the client is essentially buying this brand that I’ve created, and then charge hourly for the production of all of the ensuing projects. My question is how much should this promo art piece cost?
This will essentially be a branding project on a global scale, and I’m looking for advice on an approximate price range of what to charge them. Any and all advice would be appreciated, thanks.
I was searching on the price I could charge my customer and found myself at this interesting page. I learned a lot.
But I’m in Namibia and I do not know how much do I have really have to charge for logo design.
Hi, I was reading through your post cause well, I’m in the same boat as everyone else reading and I like what I’m reading, but I’m still unsure about prices. Even with the DP formula I keep feeling like I don’t want to charge too much or too little.
Example: I’m designing a logo for a friend’s auto shop and it only took 2 hours, but I don’t know how much to charge him, especially when he gave little to no info on the task. This is my first client and I never completed my Graphic Design course although I grasp digital art comfortably…
Any advice? (I’m on the fence between $50.00 to $120.00)
I was wondering if anybody has any ideas for me. I am a multimedia artist. When I say that I mean I work in wood, ceramic and watercolor.
Recently I had an inquiry for a label logo. My paintings are kind of vintage looking whimsical woodland. She would like a custom logo in my style. I have done some custom paintings in the past but its been awhile so Im not up on the current prices.
I have never had anyone ask me for a logo. I’m honestly not sure how to price something like that. If anyone has any thoughts I would sure appreciate it.
I am new to the graphic design game, but have always had a love for art since I was a child.
I was wondering how do I go about charging a co-worker for a logo that I drew for them? We never talked about price, but it was always said that they were going to pay me for my work. So I’m done with the logo but don’t know how to go about the payment process.
What do I do?
I love this site! It’s helped me to value my work now as an artist and designer. I usually lowered my rates thinking that I might lose the clients. Thank you, and more power!
this is great information. i agree that art is priceless especially in terms of an organizations corporate identity. i will now increase my cost because of what I have read today. thank you so much for this insightful information. i have only been charging a little under $100 because of the clients complaints on how much they are paying for just a logo..and there in lies the culprit… its not just a logo… its an image that will identify their company for years to come and the it is worthy of the designers compensation at a decent appropriate rate.
What a great place I stumbled upon, this is.
I have a more unconventional question of my own.
I just got into a deal with an independent film producer to create marketing material for him, for new films, including pitch presentations, logos, poster, etc… Right now, I’m fumbling with a bit of a dilemma. He himself already has a logo for his production company (not a great one, but he’s got one and hasn’t asked for a new one…).
Anyway, with each film pitch presentation, it seems I’m creating a logo for each individual film, however it is very mushed up in there because of the fact that it is indeed a “pitch” and not set it stone yet. I’m not sure how to handle this. I’m charging him a separate flat rate to create these presentations, but it also occurred to me that I’m essentially creating a logo as well. My question is – should I be charging him what I would normally charge for a “company logo” or should it be reduced because it’s just for a film?
I think the company logo and the film “logo” are different things. Potentially the film could take off and the identity used for a variety of applications including mass merchandise but that’s unlikely.
If you’re designing for a pitch, I would state up front that the design can ONLY be used for the pitch and if the film is sold, then an additional fee would apply for usage. By usage I mean the media where the design will appear such as press, outdoor, online and the duration of the marketing activity. More marketing, more money. Plus any merchandise associated with the film, quantities produced etc will incur additional fees. More merchandise, more money.
It all has to be put into perspective. If your film guy sells a film and receives a marketing budget of 4 million dollars, then you’re entitled to some of that if he wants to use your design. If he doesn’t sell any films and doesn’t get any marketing budget then you can’t ask for more than he’s willing to pay for the pitch work.
Just make it clear to him what your terms and conditions are up front and then put them in writing. Have him agree to it and ask him to sign it. No signature, no design.
Thanks so much for that tip! Helps a lot! He also mentioned to me that he preferred flat rates. Would I just bill him a single flat rate to make the design, but then also include that I receive royalties as well if the design work goes to market?
I’m going to draft up an agreement for him to sign and would love to get it precise down to the bone.
I see you all have a range of rates for logos but does that includes the rights of ownership or not?
Or as I can see you all speaking in $ you must be from US that you don’t charge any rights of ownership?
I need pricing help!
I am just getting back into the graphic design working world after a break of being a stay-at-home mom to my 2 kids. Now that the youngest just started kindergarten I will have time to work again. I have a 4 year graphic design degree from a prestigious program. In the past I have worked at advertising agencies and as an in-house graphic designer. All yearly salary jobs. I have done little odds and ends in graphic design, birthday party invites, etc., over the course of the 8-10 years, but nothing major and have not had a paid graphic design job in a while.
I would love to start feelancing but I have no idea how to price since I am just stating out again. I am probably rusty and it will take me more time than normal to design something. I have never spent just a couple hours on a logo design. For me that takes at least a couple of days because I like to explore many possibilites and really think about it. So for a logo it may be best for me to have a set price instead of charging by the hour? I know some designers who charge by the hour for their projects and others have a set price. Just not sure which way to go. And I don’t want to charge too much since I am just starting up.
If a client wants an estimate on how much their project would cost whether it’s a logo, ad, brochure, I have no idea what to tell them. Not sure how long it will take me. Plus, who knows how many times they will come back with changes. Since I am just starting again may be better to have set prices? I will be happy to get anything at first! Better then making nothing.
Any advice is much appreciated! Thanks!
Hi Corinne, when a client pays me, he or she receives full rights to do what they want with the work.
Stacey, here’s a short story that explains why I charge by the project (and not by the hour): Picasso and pricing your work. Good luck getting back into things.
I’ve just been approached by a graphic designer about using one of my wildlife portrait drawings in one of his own logo design projects or a bar/restaurant to be used on stationery, website and signage etc. The comments here are a great help in getting an idea how to price and value your work, but it is still tempting as a novice in the commercial field not to price too high thinking you might not get the commission, especially when the graphic designer must be having to put in a competitive price too for his work. Its easy to value my portraits and drawings, as I work roughly by the hour on how long each takes to draw.
I have a potential client that needs a logo, business card, letterhead, and will use the logo for the sign of the business (it’s a new restaurant). They provided two vector files (a tree and a moon) that will be part of the whole logo. So I was thinking that I will customise the files (colour, positions, etc.) and then research colours for the font and different fonts that will represent the brand for the business. I have been trying to come up with an amount.
In my head I have come up with a package of $1,000. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
What happens when after 7 comps the client still isn’t happy with the ideas. She is veeery picky. How do I handle it?
I don’t have illustration skills and I cannot purchase stock illustration because it is prohibited to use it in a logo design. On the other hand, illustrators freelancers fees are sometimes high. Do I include the illustrator fees in my fees? I know it is a silly question.
I graduated 8 years ago and I haven’t worked in the industry directly yet. I have worked as an image assistant, quality assurance expert, and as a customer service rep, but not as a designer. I want to be able to enter as an entry level graphic designer, but I am afraid of my lack of illustration skills.
Any feedback you can share with me, I will be grateful! ;)
Thanks in advance,
I am a fine artist and I have been approached about using one of my drawings as the customers logo. Since I don’t have to do any design work and I would simply be selling a limited use license to a customer should this mean the price would be lower? Is the $500+ price tag for a logo because of the hours of design behind it or is it the quality and what it will bring for future business?
Thanks so much for sharing David. These are great resources for every self-employed graphic designer.
To be fair, $35 dollars on the Nike logo was a great chunk of money back when. You would have to inflate the price to get an actual quote to debate.
Now I know a lot of designers just hate the idea of undervaluing the market. But you also have to understand that this is a hungry market and no matter how you view it, most businesses will try to get the most of what they can get to make a profit.
You also have to consider with that in mind that there are a lot of people that need to climb the food chain and are not in the same position you are nor do they hold pride to set a price.
Some graphic designers will hold that price for integrity, and others because it’s the standard, and others because they’re in a nice place.
You have to keep in mind that there are those that need the money because it means the next bill or even food. They’re not wealthy and just need to get a client base with successful design samples.
So in all, I think designers don’t need to get all passionate on pushing a set budget on others so the work is not undermined and devalues the entire design industry.
But rather see it from a business point of view, and express that to the community, if that’s what they’re going to do. Establish a sort of work by internship ranking. After all no one wants to be called an amateur even if they are. Not good for business… but we do know how internships work.
But that status hasn’t been created yet… some one needs to set the trend.
I graduated 1 year ago and feel the same. I do design logos for people within my network and I notice easily what’s “in fashion” in marketing and advertising.
I would suggest a short online course which I am doing as well. And update the portfolio :)
How did you go with the un decisive client?
As every logo design project is different, and the amount of research and brainstorming is different from project to project, pricing is different for every project. I charge a minimum of $500 for a logo. I give the final quotation to my client only when I receive a complete design brief. After receiving a brief I have a better understanding of how much work I have to do.
First of all – great thread! Thank you!
I recently designed an album cover for a band – which they loved. They are a relatively new band, but are getting lots of local and international attention everyday. They’ve paid me in full for the album cover. Later on, they asked me to make a web banner and I told them that it won’t be a problem, but it’ll be an additional cost (which I’ll charge by the hour).
They didn’t have enough to pay me for this extra requirement, so they’ve taken a section of my album art and thrown it together with some of my preliminary sketches into a web banner and promotional flyer – squashing the designs and combining it with a font of their choice. They haven’t asked me about this – I found out when I hopped on Facebook and saw.
I am okay that they’ve solved the web banner issue, but I’m afraid the way they’ve hacked up my work in advertisement will damage the reputation and standards of my work. But if they own the images now – are they free to do this?
I appreciate all thoughts and comments in regards to this.
Hi all, interesting post here. There’s a lot of good advice, and I already learned my lesson so I charge 50% up front with a signed proposal. That way I’ll be sure that the client knows what they get and when. I charge 120$ for a concept this mean if they want only one concept they get just one. If they need 3-4 or 5 concepts (ideas) well they get them for the price of 500+ $ so this way someone can get one concept with a lower price and still have a unique logo design.
Till now I have made many logo designs but the clients still say that my price is expensive. Maybe if I said them 1000+ and develop unlimited concepts is a better way, but for now I only have small biz clients and they cannot pay such a price at start.
For those who want to go to Romania, I say bravo and let them go to Romania or India to find an artist for $25, but there is no guarantee that the same artist is not selling the same work to another person for the same price. How do you know they are not using copyrighted work or if your design will be unique to you?
Remember electricity, gasoline and computers are all about the same price all over the world. You can go to the poorest countries and you will find an artist that respects their work enough to charge the same rate as in the U.S. especially in digital media.
I used to get upset at those freelance websites for people from all over the world, and wonder how a first world person can compete with a third world artist, but soon realised that in even the poorest countries the top artists have competitive rates. There are some Indian companies that do logos for cheap, but they look cheap and they all look the same (and look very stolen to me).
You truly get what you pay for. Know your worth.
I would like to point out to artists, that you do not have a package with any company, any vacations, 401k plans, retirement benefits, unemployment benefits, sick leave, maternity care and so on. So for those of you who think spending all night doing a logo or graphic for 100 bucks, please think again. One day you may want to make a living from your skill and talent.
Hello everyone, I’m new here. To tell you the truth I have not much experience nor a lot of knowledge so I need your help. I create some drawings for the company I work for but I have no idea how much I should charge them. Can anyone please tell me how much something like this would sell for?
I am now a full time employee in a big firm and do mainly graphic design. The days of doing a logo for $100.00 are over for me, I think I did it mainly because I wanted to have real business portfolio pieces and considered them to be favors. I can tell you that what you charge for a logo is not the actual work it took you to assemble it, but the concept and how well it defines what your customers identity is, and that is priceless. It is your idea, your thought. I realized that once I did in 1 hour a huge campaign logo that was assigned to an outside agency and they had been working on it for weeks for my art director without any success. When he saw my idea, it was it, after thousands of wasted money, I did it under payroll, no glory but I know now how much my thoughts are worth.
To your question I charge between 600.00 to 1000.00 for a small firm logo. Lately I refuse to do side jobs as it only hurts my taxes. But I must humbly say I would not have the overall design experience I do today, if I hadn’t work with the small and mid size business customers.
Outsourcing to 3rd world countries for a bargain price is risky, bless those who dare, I think is a waste of time and money, at the end you always get what you pay for.
In reply to Iraisia, very true on everything you said except the part about outsourcing to 3rd world countries. I totally disagree with that, there are good designers over there, some might be way better than we are but just because they live over there doesn’t mean they got crap designs. Because you might live in a 1st or 2nd world don’t make your design any more special than those in the 3rd world. Of course you might be talking from experince but just because of one person don’t mean you should jump into conclusions. Talk only about what you charge, don’t badmouth other people. You sounded a little racist.
Hi, I have been doing graphic design for five years now, four of those years were spent working for an organization as their graphic designer, but then the past year I’ve been developing myself as a freelance graphic designer. I am just now starting to pick up some businesses/repeat accounts. So for example, right now, a local businessman just purchased a new office building that he will be making into multiple office suites for leasing. I designed their logo, as well as sign design/mockups for the exterior signs, and will be doing a set of interior sign designs/mockups, and they are also wanting a marketing booklet that will include floor plans and information to share with prospective tenants. What would you charge for these types of projects? Previously, I’ve been a fan of flat rates. Not sure if I should stick with flat rate, or switch to hourly as well?
Hello everyone. I need your help I did a logo for a friend, I am not graphic designer as you can see by the logo that I made.
I was wondering how much I should charge, I never done this before.
So I would like to know how much should I charge. Thanks in advace.
Here is the link where I uploaded the image.
Alyssa, you’re right to stick with the flat rate.
Miguel, if it was my friend I’d let him keep his money to pay the legal bill. ;)
Hello Many, this is in reply to your harsh comment. First let me apologize if I offended 3rd world country designers, it was not my intention. By my name you can tell that I am also a 3rd world country designer. Not only I am but I also had to travel to countries like Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Peru just to list some to hire talent for outsourcing for a talent agency in New York, but I also had the honor to work with many of them in many award winning projects. In my previous post I was not talking about foreign designers but the act of outsourcing for logo design by firms that I have seen promoting that as a quick and affordable service. I am sure you have seen that as soon as you do an online search for logo design. I had my experience with them via Elance and Guru and it was as I described, a gamble and you get what you pay for. I think that perhaps I am not very good at exposing what is in my mind, a designer for me as I see myself is an graphic artist, is a person who finds the meaning and fun in visual graphic communication and has talent, not a quick service generic icon logo producer based on a foreign country. To me those logos compare to a logo made by a true graphic designer at heart like a t-shirt compares to a custom made tailored shirt.
Miguel, I love the concept in your logo and I know your question is regarding price but I wanted to caution you because you are using copy righted material to do this logo, the road runner character is licensed to Warner Brother’s and using it without consent can get your friend in trouble. If he uses this locally he may be fine, but be careful if he uses it online like websites and ads or a visible sign for his location.
Also if you put the bird next tot he tire the loco can be more easily used on any layout.
For something like this I would charge $100.0
Hope it helps and you don’t mind my criticism, but the way I grew in design was by taking a lot of constructive critiques, humbly we are not designing for ourselves but for an audience and what they think matters.
$5.00 is the going rate now… and international design has no regulations or enforcement on copyright law, so feel free to steal, kill and destroy our industry!
Hey guys thanks a lot for the reply I really appreciate it.
To Iraisa, I like your review, And I know about the road runner character I know that is copyrighted, but is what my friend want.
To David Airey, Yes I might give it to him for free. But I really appreciate that you take your time to answer my question.
You guys are Awesome! =)
I often come across people who have their own logo design drawn up and want them re-created into vectors to bring them to life. Is this something that you would have a lower creation cost because they’ve developed an idea? It could be anything from a napkin drawing to a well thought out sketch that I’ve come across.
I love this website and the tips, they are really helpful but I live in Bulgaria and things are different here. Almost nobody cares about the brand and the logo usually cost 50-100BGN ($25-50) and is really difficult to explain to the customers that the logo is important. I personally don’t know what to do anymore except to start working in another country. :(
Irina, perhaps you can find work registering in Elance or Guru.com, I have used them for content writers and found some good ones. The site is plagued with low balling but a decent person who is serious about hiring never goes for the lowest bid. The job I have as many others I have had was thanks to my website. If you want to find work the best way to promote yourself is to show
your work, your portfolio is what sells you as an artist. Also there are agents and firms that can showcase your work and represent you, they find clients but do charge you a percentage from your profits. I don’t know if you want to do that, but is something I had to do to find work when I started.
Thank you for your comment! I’ll check the website you recomment and maybe also freelancer.com
I agree about the portfolio but as I read in a previous comments – there is a difference between portfolio with projects from university and portfolio with project for actual clients, so it bothers me because I just finished school and I don’t have many real clients yet. I’m sure that is something you all have experienced over the years.
There is one more thing I want to ask all of you (I know it’s a little bit off topic but..) Here in Bulgaria when you apply for a job as a designer, it is a common practice for almost every design agency to send you a task, so they can see if you’re suitable for the job.. but actually they send different task to everyone and finally they steal your ideas and sell them to their clients. This is wrong, wrong, wrong.. I found out accidentally about that when I saw my project for a casino on a billboard, and then again, and again… so I decided to start working as a freelancer. And I’m asking you – What to do in that kind of situation? How to protect my work?
Thank you so much!
Hello Irina, you don’t need to move country to work with clients abroad. Most of my clients are overseas. Keep working on your website and blog in order to improve your search rankings. If you stick at it, people from all over the world will find you.
Have you tried pro bono work to improve your portfolio?
As for the “tasks” those companies are asking designers to complete, just say no and move on. If we stop giving our work away for free, it’ll become less common for people to ask.
Thank you so much for the time and effort to make this site so helpful and informative! I’m looking for your books.. i really want to buy them if you can send me a link?
I do pro bono work.. i work in a big telecommunication company now and me and my colleagues have the opportunity to participate in a number of charity campaigns and to donate our free time on the “Volunteering Days”. So everyone do what they can best and I’m usually in charge of logos, brochures.. that is really helpful for my portfolio I guess.
Greetings from Bulgaria :)
You’re very welcome! Thanks for visiting.
Logo Design Love
Work for Money, Design for Love
I’m about to finish the second edition of Logo Design Love which should hopefully be on sale next month. I’ll post an update soon.
Hello. I am currently working as a Welding Inspector. I learned Photoshop for my personal use only. I am not a professional graphic designer. People have seen my work, some of it banners and streamers.
Recently I was asked to edit a company logo and they were satisfied. They now ask me to make a design for a carry bag with logo, calling card, flyer, catalogue, and poster.
Design is not my profession so I don’t know how much to charge.
Can you please give me advice?
Hey guys, I really need help. I’m having a hard time for how much I should charge for logo design, I still can’t find the right pricing for my work. How much do you think I should charge?
Some of my work…
Glad I found this discussion! I have a story and a question. First, the story —
I want to encourage all designers, but especially new ones, to always take time for research before quoting a job. As a design student in the late 80s, I was hired by a local t-shirt printer to do the camera-ready art for a shirt to be sold at a campus-wide event. The printer was a friend of mine, and I was paid the standard fee of $35 plus an event ticket. The following week, I learned that the students who did the silkscreen printing had each negotiated a per-shirt fee of 50 cents — more than 5,000 shirts were sold.
Now, the question — how does everyone feel about bartering? For example, if the business owner is just starting out and is a friend, I’d have no problem trading a few hours of my design time for a comparable amount of my friend’s retail product. Large design jobs, however, would require a professional contract. I would consider allowing a payment plan — I remember how hard it was to start a business with limited capital.
When creating logos and id systems I have started including a clause in the contract that stipulates if the company grows significantly (“growth” is determined by criteria specific for each client) I get paid more if they want to use the work. For instance, a client owns a shop for which I design an id system. If they open a second location, I get a set amount for the use of the work in representing that new location. Seems fair to me and clients don’t mind.
This is a great topic. I’ve used design proposals often with clients for this very same reason. I usually take about 3-5 days to get them back to people, because providing a quote off the cuff can be a huge mistake. In the past, I often found myself quoting too low and working 10 times too hard for very little pay.
One of the reasons it’s so important to quote accurately, is that clients often end up asking for much more than originally intended and if your quote is too low, it may not cover those asks. Going back the second time and telling clients that their revisions will cost more is the worst conversation, which honestly, a lot of people are not ready to hear.
I would much rather charge a rate that covers some extras and then let the client know that those extras are available to them if they choose.
This is one of the things I struggle with most as a designer. Because there is no exact answer, there are too many variables. I often undercharge out of fear the client will not hire me, only to regret it later. Another thing is putting my foot in my mouth when first meeting them and they ask for a “ballpark” and giving them way too low of a number. Agggh!
God bless you, David. I’m a digital artist/designer from Nigeria, and I’m always confused with pricing. Sometimes I charge someone $40 for a logo, but I just realized that’s very cheap. This post really helped me a lot, and I may be commenting late, but it’s not too late.
Hi, this is great. I have been a graphic designer all my life. I am now thrown into the world of logo design. I have two clients, one a small business owner of a gym. I was thinking $750 for her – thinking 15 hrs at $50 an hour. I’m sure I’ll go over that! But one is my wife’s cousin who wants his homemade muffins branded. Maybe “just” a sticker on his bag but with a logotype and a look. In his mind it may be just a sticker with a name but there may be photography, art with his different organic muffins. I know he may be looking at half that. Any advice?
This is something I still struggle with today – trying to figure out quotes as a freelancer. I wish there was an easy answer, but as all of these comments show, there isn’t!
It’s true, as some others have said, that sadly the cost of good design as decreased as a lot of people are willing to settle for less, with a lower price tag.
The value placed on a logo is sad in a lot of cases, wanting gold for peanuts is often the phrase that comes to mind.
“I don’t work with people who place little value on their identity, so it works both ways. There’ll always be those who understand the importance of good brand identity.” A very important statement David.
That’s probably the best approach I use, my reputation is important and I can’t confidently do work that I am not proud to show in my portfolio.
I can only say that the prices vary for things like logo design, because we are not selling commodities, rather offering a service. People are basing their request on commodities, and with places like freelancer.com and others, it can be problematic.
My advice, is to define your processes in a way that you can market it easily, become your client…workout base fee you wont go below, for example your hourly charge can be your flat rate base fee, pick your clients so you also have an understanding of your market. I’m mostly above the line, but I have also worked on start-ups I see potential in, sometimes the value is not immediate, but later.
So understand your value and your market, a logo can quoted for $600 but end up costing $1200, drafts and other changes, deadline being pushed back because the client can’t make a choice. There are details in between the quote and the actual design process that needs to be factored in, however I worked at an ad agency and various companies over the years before I went solo, so my experience is based on that.
I hope this isn’t very confusing, off topic, or too long and dreary. It’s my first time posting here, but I always read your content David and I find the feedback from everyone great.
PS: Ironically I’m about to speak to a client who requested 5 drafts for a logo project.
Thanks David for this wonderful site. It’s very informative. I purchased and read your “Logo Design Love” and “Work for money design for love” books and read both books twice. They have been a huge help with my design business. I still struggle to price logo projects. I have tried flat rate and hourly, but found the best approach is if you base a flat rate from your hourly fee and target a certain type of client, but in this game you cant please everyone, you will always get the clients that try to lowball you.
And it’s a sickening feeling when these clients try it on but we need to focus on the ones who value themselves as a business and their business image.
Not dreary at all, Phillip. I hope things go well with your client.
Andrew, thanks so much for reading my books. It’s always a pleasure hearing from someone who’s found use in the comment threads or in what I’ve written.
Hi, David. You have been my main source of inspiration from the day I opened my eyes to the world of design, you were my virtual tutor all the way and as I didn’t have the opportunity of a real teacher. I’ve known about the design industry in high school as I was an applied art student, but this meant nothing because there were no competent people with a strong educational background to teach and it was all very basic. This meant you have to take the lead and educate yourself mostly through the internet. I’ve managed to learn everything related to graphic design, especially logo design, from here and there and I think inspiration played the most in developing my vision, so we could say I’m self taught, after you get the high school degree there’s no place to go and my situation didn’t help to continue my studies abroad, however I’ve found fulfillment in the internet of wonders, and I guess I’m the only one from the other students who survived and took the right road, as far as I have seen I’m one of the few Moroccans having at least a presence in sites like behance, dribbble and logopond.
In my country graphic design is still far away from becoming a strong asset, and most national brands lean to the outside to get their visual brand designed. I took my first steps in logo design through contests (wilogo which is closed now, and 99designs) as they were the only available place to start based on a brief… and a real virtual experience where you practice by doing and I’ve seen satisfying results all the way along and still to the day, the only difference is I’ve got more work opportunities outside even if they’re few thanks to my portfolio which I’ve built from that.
I have some questions to ask you if allowed especially in terms of pricing. Currently I charge $400 for logo and $1200 for a brand package including business cards, envelope and letterhead. I’m 20 years old and I have two years of freelance experience and no educational background. I’ve worked officially for 15 clients so far, and I’m a platinum in 99designs which is the base of my income. This is my behance profile https://www.behance.net/MnaCreative to get an idea of what I do.
The main question, is my work worth more based on my background and what I do? This is related to prices, my other questions are more of a general guidance, do you recommend I continue my studies and take a degree even if my situation makes it hard to but not impossible? Do I have the chance to get hired without a degree and does my current work allow me to do that? Do you suggest to just continue in my current path and keep educating myself more, as I’m planning to extend my skills to other branding elements especially webdesign and app design, now I’m more focused toward logo design and once I feel I have the grasp of it I’ll move to other things, as you know the new year is coming and I need to direct my plans and come up with a strategy that’s will make me achieve my goals in more efficiency and faster way, I’ll appreciate an answer from you whenever possible, without flattering I consider you the most influential, inspirational designer and tutor and your blog and books are real life changers. As a designer you serve a great cause and your print will always be in the life of every designer that’s had the chance to check your realizations. You’re important for me personally because you have been my mentor all along the way and you are a big part of what I’ve achieved so far. I owe you for that.
Keep inspiring and sharing and thanks for everything David!
Anything is worth whatever somebody is willing to pay for it.
Ok I will bite, pray tell George?
That sounds like a used car dealer having an open bid?
Not that you what you say is not valid, I’m sure it applies to many situations. I am trying to find out the foundation of the statement.
We live and we learn after all.
Mohamed, sorry it’s taken so long to reply, and thanks very much! Perhaps you’ve watched Chris Do’s video on pricing, but if not I think you’ll find it valuable.
Great post, David.
The cost cannot be determined without asking questions… lots of questions. You have to get to know the company and what it stands for.
I love this video by Chris Do. Recently I put together a comprehensive article on my blog regarding Logo Design Prices: ebaqdesign.com/blog/logo-design-cost/
I actually shared your blog, I shared it from Chris Do last week.
Really great article.