“How much should a designer charge for an identity design?” It’s a question that both designers and business owners ask at some point. You may find yourself struggling to find a concrete price upfront, and there’s good reason.
In this article, I’ll discuss factors in how brand identity designers price their work, but first we must discuss the setup for success.
Setting up for success
Pricing a logo design without asking the appropriate questions first is bad practice. Every client has different needs, and every project is unique. If a designer sets a predetermined price for a set amount of design concepts, and limited number of revisions, they are setting themselves up for failure in most cases. Doing so usually rushes the project to a premature conclusion.
Trust is the key. Clients and designers should know their role to be most efficient. I’m selective when deciding who I work with, because it makes sense in the long term. This is why I do not box myself in with advertised prices. Set prices mostly attract difficult clients who see brand identity as a risky investment.
Once I attract the right client, I shift to a more intensive questionnaire such as Mule Design’s, “Client Screener.” Or some of these from my previous article, “18 Logo Design Questions for Clients.” These can be modified to your liking.
My design pricing model
Fixed fee pricing. These days I use a fixed fee pricing model for nearly all of my projects. As defined in the book, Talent Is Not Enough: Business Secrets For Designers by Shel Perkins, “Before starting work on a project, you agree on a flat amount that will be charged for services.” Depending on how well I estimate my time and manage the project, there is room for profit or loss. It’s important for my pricing to be competitive but also reflect the true value of my work. A positive outcome and experience should reflect that to my client.
The design pricing formula
- Expertise level
- Project specifications
- Turnaround time
- Level of demand
- Economy and Location
- Additional service
It’s a good read, and I recommend purchasing the book on Amazon if you are interested in brand identity design as a career path. Now lets talk about the factors in the pricing the formula.
Your level of expertise
Determining your design skill level, and how much you are worth, is entirely up to the designer. Consider the overhead cost of running a business and supporting a desired lifestyle too.
Ultimately, experience and education are what provide a designer with the knowledge to deliver the work. How much did that cost? Paula Scher once said, “A logo is done in a second. It’s done in a second…and 34 years.” An experienced designer is providing skill that has more than hourly value.
The project specifications
I talked briefly about the importance asking the right questions before opening a project. Here I’ll reinforce it. An identity designer should learn about the company’s needs. Designing a logo for a local frozen yogurt shop is going to be much different than branding a national or global clothing brand.
Helping a client understand the design process required is crucial to getting a healthy project time frame. In some cases, the client is under pressure to get results quickly.
It’s the responsibility of the designer to request fair compensation for a rush job. After-all, shoving a brand identity development into two weeks is going to shift the designers schedule, meaning delays for other projects or requiring extended work hours.
Level of demand
A designers demand can swing dramatically from one week to the next. I know what it’s like to be in the dumps with no work one day, then have several projects roll in out of nowhere the next. It’s those times when a designer is booked to that max that prices can afford a significant increase.
“A high demand indicates high value in most cases.”
Both designers and clients should be weary of fees that are too high. Clients should do the homework and expect to see a portfolio or documented process. Designers will feel push back when their schedule is emptying, and when clients are no longer interested after the quote is given for the project.
Economy & Location
A designer’s lifestyle, and expected quality of life, play a large role in setting fees. However, when the economy is in a downswing, dynamics can change for everyone. Clients may tighten their wallets, and designers may lower their prices to meet living costs.
It’s not my place to say what a designer should be charging for logo design in a recession. It could go either way. For example, if a designer is known for increasing a brands influence then maybe they are in demand during the recession. This would indicate increased value, therefore more compensation.
Location can influence the pricing of design work. For instance, the overhead costs for a design business in New York City will be much higher than a designer working from home in a smaller mid-western city or town like myself.
In my opinion, a professional logo design with a well thought out concept is worth $1,000-$2000+ for a small local business, bottom-line (minimum). As much as I would like to give you an exact ballpark figure, it’s not possible.
“Your logo is your face. It’s what everyone uses to remember whether you were nice or not.”
Often times clients expect the designer of the logo to be responsible for extended projects or a helping hand getting ready for print or web. I will usually oblige minor requests, like logo resizing if it’s right after the project completion. This helps strengthen trust in the business relationship.
Technically, the designer should provide all of the necessary files for the client to have them modified elsewhere. That’s not to say that I don’t charge hourly for small edits like this when it becomes too time consuming.
Even though it’s not my specialty, I always welcome requests for print and web work because it gives me a chance to increase my experience. You can also be quick to recommend a good partner designer for other work.
Pricing is somewhat of science, and it takes experience to be accurate. I often try to keep track of projects for my own personal efficiency knowledge. Knowing your clock is crucial to deciding whether a completion date is possible.
I hope this has been helpful to everyone, including those looking for a logo/brand identity design. If you are interested in getting a quote you can do so via my Logo design worksheet.