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How much for…? Believe it or not, designers need to know as much as clients do! You might be hard pressed to find specific price points published by many design firms. The reason is simple; no project is the same and every client differs. Everybody, including me, wants to get a good deal when buying a product or services. However, it must be stated that it is almost impossible to give an accurate quote without an initial conversation.

For artists and designers, pricing can be one of the most frustrating parts of the creative process. To varying degrees, the creative process can be quite mystical and a final result somewhat subjective. This is also what makes this fun!

howMuch

It is completely reasonable (and the norm for most businesses) to know how much something costs. Can you imagine walking into a clothing store and instead of reading a number on a price tag, it just said “talk to the manager”? With web and graphic design however, there is a bit of a process. You may have started your quest with Google:

  • “How much does a website cost?”
  • “How much does hosting cost?”
  • “How much does a logo cost?”
  • “How much should a website/logo cost?”

I will venture to say you did not come away with definitive answers.  I want to give some background on why, and though I lay out some concrete prices, they are merely guidelines as every situation is different. You may have heard of the principle of “Fast, Good or Cheap — Choose Two.” This certainly applies in the world of design.

Hourly Rates, Fixed Rates and Package Deals

It is very common for designers to charge by the hour, though rates vary wildly depending on the experience, location, and many other factors. In hard numbers, this could mean anywhere from $10/hr to $500/hr for high level consultants. Most designers, myself included, offer different pricing structure as there is no one size fits all solution for every project. There can be a myriad of factors in determining a fair price, including the complexity of a project, type of project and mid-project direction changes.

Examples

Two designers charge the same rate, let’s say $50/hour. One designer works much more quickly than the other, completing a project in 10 hours, while the other designer takes 20 hours. Their final products might be comparable, but one designer is much more efficient and the client could end up paying double for the “same” work.
Two businesses, one a small start-up (the mom and pop type), and the other large company with national reach, both create and sell custom T-shirts. By chance, they both hire the same designer at the same hourly rate to create designs for them. Is the designer being fair? Who is really getting a better deal?

Basically, there is no exact formula. This means that a conversation is the best place to start. I as the designer, need to know what exactly you are hoping to achieve in order to most effectively reach those goals. As a client, the important thing to remember that you most often really do “get what you pay for.”

Spec Work

It is possible to acquire a very inexpensive logo, but that often means it is cheap. There is a difference. There are several websites that allow a client to submit “contests” and choose a favorite design submitted by many designers.  This is also known as “spec work,” short for speculative work.  This may seem like a bargain, but there is a reason that it is in fact so cheap. It also isn’t very fair, for the designer or the client. Aside from giving clients the impression that design doesn’t have much worth, it also penalizes the clients themselves. Contests do not allow designers to do the proper market research that a serious project requires. In turn, the client doesn’t not receive the most effective outcome and instead often subjectively selects  “the prettiest design.” The following video explains this further.

Logos

Not surprisingly, getting a great logo can be a quick and easy process or a very arduous and painfully expensive one. There are plenty of high profile examples that demonstrate this. How can it be that BP paid $211,000,000 for a logo, while Twitter paid $15? Ouch!

How much for logo design?

Designers commonly price hourly and with package rates as well here, depending on what a client is looking for. Logo package rates can include multiple versions of the logo, different files types (raster and vector format), different resolutions, grayscale/black and white versions, etc. With package deals, there may be a base price and additional services, such as branding consultation, stationary design, and so forth, can be added on.

Websites

With websites, even more so than with logos, there are many more unpredictable factors that will determine a final product.  Quotes are incredibly subjective. There are a whole host of ways of getting a websites, and the price range can range from next to nothing with certain services to tens of thousands of dollars.  That is a bit insane isn’t it!?

With websites, besides just having some basic pages, there are several things to consider that could also greatly determine a final price tag. These features might include (among others) :

  • Forms
  • Media Management
  • Bandwidth
  • Slideshows
  • Ecommerce
  • Support
  • Membership Management
  • Stock images/Image formatting
  • Event Management

I have read that pricing a website is a lot like pricing and building a new home. This is because there are seemingly infinite factors involved, and many changes can happen in the middle of the process. Additionally, a website is not just a product, but simultaneously a service, one that can be ongoing depending on its nature. Just as you might have upkeep and repairs and even remodeling with a house, a website often requires ongoing care.

Ultimately, what you budget for a website, logo or any other design services should be based on what your business needs are. So, how much for a website then? Let’s talk some more and we’ll both find out.

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