Freelancers and design studios run a business as well so we recognize that there are drains in a small business’s finances, which sometimes leaves little left over to obtain services such as design. We also recognize that small business owners are especially cautious when it comes to paying for something intangible. Design can’t be held in one’s hand, so how much is it really worth?
This can create a complication where businesses are not able to tell the difference between good design and good looking graphics. Which justifies their decision to scope out the cheapest deals possible. The problem with bargain hunting though is—while it works if you just need a new pair of jeans—it doesn’t do any good when your business needs a professional service. Being fixated on a low price point doesn’t benefit any company if what is being payed for doesn’t add any value.
For professional design service providers like ourselves, our main objective is to create solutions that are going to achieve business goals and help you grow—much goes into this process. This is why it’s not an easy task to provide a straightforward price for design. As each business is unique, design solutions for one client are completely different for another. Design is a service, not a product as most people see it.
“… we try to give them what we call a ‘700 level ballpark figure.’ Meaning, we can’t see too much of the detail on the field yet, but it sounds like it’s an $80–$120K project.”
A Book Apart
Design Is a Job
We realize it’s hard not to see numbers in a post about pricing, so we’re going to get that out of the way. As the quote above suggests, below are ballpark figures of how much design might cost. These figures are based on digital projects, as most of these type of work are complex collaborations and usually already include logo design or brand identity. This should not be taken in any way as an accurate price guide:
But I only need a logo! Our response is the same with our approach to most things: we ask why and dig deeper—why are you looking for a logo? It has been our experience that, in these instances, what clients really need is more than just a logo. They need to tell a story.
That being said, an exact price is still a fair question to ask. Small businesses need to make sure that they are spending their money wisely. To this end we advice business owners to collaborate with a designer or design studio that puts the needs of their clients first. Meaning, design services with a focus on solving problems and making an impact rather than a focus on price and selling time.
Getting a website design for a fraction of the market price and having it delivered within a few days might sound good, but we can guarantee that it will look and perform exactly like a website created cheaply within a few days. Having price as the deciding factor before exploring what a business is trying to achieve risks delivering solutions that doesn’t create results.
For us here at Part1 Collective, we always start our partnerships with a discovery phase in order to deliver an accurate estimate. This is where we explore and really examine what objectives small business owners are trying to achieve with their brand and encourage our clients to ask, not so much what it is they would like to have, but rather what their customers are really looking for. We ask a lot of questions, not to gauge how much we can get away with charging for design, but rather to have more than enough information to shape a solid foundation from which to reach your goals. Without a clear definition of what success is, pricing for design becomes guesswork.
We don’t sell trends or features and functionalities—these by themselves do not deliver results. Instead, by having a full understanding of where our clients want to be we can create and design a strategy that leads toward success. This also creates a prioritization list; knowing what can be done now, later, and what are less essential amenities provides an answer to the question “How much can we afford?” The answer being an informed business decision, completely different from an answer to the question “How much would we like to pay?” Viewed from this perspective design becomes an investment; a business asset rather than a liability.
Only after this discovery phase will we be able to deliver an exact price for our design services.
There are a lot of bad design out there—by well intentioned designers—causing a misconception that design is merely visual decoration. Misconceptions like this results in outrage when small business owners can’t add up the worth of design in their ROI. We would argue that the source of this problem is almost always the decision that is based solely on the price tag, creating misalignment.
In the 21st Century, design is a crucial part of any business. To move forward in any meaningful way design solutions need to deliver value in addition to alignment between designers and design clients. As in any healthy relationships both parties grow. In the end the real cost of logo design, brand identity, or web design is the business’s ability to succeed.
If you found this post helpful, don’t be shy, go ahead and share it. If you have any questions or comments feel free to write them below—there’s no need to sign up, you can post as a guest. And if you’re interested to find out how our design services can help your business, let us know by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.