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Gary David Bouton, in New York State, creator of WebTilers, and a well-known author and 3D designer, says, “1) The fee for a logo should be set by how large the company is. 2) Region is also important to consider. A designer in an urban hub has to charge more than a suburban designer for local work, because the cost of materials is higher, and the cost of office space is higher. 3.) For a comprehensive corporate identity program, for a medium sized firm in a medium sized town, I’d put the maximum figure at $5,000. For this fee, be prepared to provide PANTONE swatches for the corporate colors, a (thin) manual on how to place the logo on different media (that the client needs to conform to, or they could lose their trademark), and a camera-ready slick sheet of the logo at different point sizes (hint: small point logos should be thinner than you’d expect, to take into account the dot gain when the logo is printed to coarse paper such as newsprint).

“Another thing to consider is how many ‘rounds’ you want/need to go through to get the logo approved and get paid. I would submit no more than three different versions of a logo...you present too many, and the client gets confused and indecisive. If you bet the farm on one logo, and the client doesn’t like it, then consider some money in your fee to be ‘padding’ for the additional work you need to do. You cannot go back to a client and ask for more money because they’re creating more work for you. So if you think a potential client is wish-washy, charge $5,500, and consider the $500 your ‘PITA’ fee in addition to your original work.

“A book cover. I think this falls into the same category as movie poster art, BTW. Expect anywhere from $800 to $1,600 as your fee for doing the work.

“Web design. If you’re a one-man show, and have a good feel for both Photoshop and writing HTML, for example, you could command anywhere from $65 to $100/hour for your work; this does not include posting the site, registering the domain name, or maintaining the site. As a designer, do not get into a Web assignment that involves a commerce server, unless you’re thoroughly familiar with creating forms, how the transactions are done on a UNIX server, and that you have an intimate relationship with an IP. For a site that’s no more than about 10 pages or so, $100/hour would be a decent asking fee. For larger sites, where there’s a database driving the site, stay out of the logistics, and charge $60/hour to $100/hour designing only the graphics to spec.” Visit Gary’s site.

Byron Canfield, a professional Seattle designer, says, “Most of my clients prefer a set fee for a specific project (which, of course, necessitates setting down hard and fast details on the scope of the project), but that makes for no surprises on either end. I can see, ahead of time, how to allocate resources if I need outside help. If the project exceeds the defined scope, the price is changed accordingly. That said, however, normally, said fees are based on an hourly rate of $65.” Visit Byron’s site.

Gary Priester, an extremely accomplished designer in the San Francisco bay area charges between $1,200-$5,000 for a logo. A Corporate ID (includes logo, card, stationery) is  the logo fee plus $75 per hour. Web site design is $75 per hour, and book covers run between $1,200 - $3,600. Visit Gary’s site.

Michael Cervantes, on the i/us freelancing forum says, “Prices depend on the area you are working, and the clients you are getting. I suggest you to call agencies and freelancers in your area, to see how the hour price is around you. Go to your local library or bookstore where you could get graphic design books and magazines, and you could check on the Graphic Design Pricing Guide, it has prices for different levels and regions. After you collect all the information study your production costs and decide.” Visit Michael’s site.

Laurie McCanna, a best-selling author and designer well-known for her WebDiner site, in the San Francisco area, says, “I don’t have a problem saying what I charge :-) Money is a funny thing, isn’t it? Nobody has a problem saying, oh, it’ll take me x hours to do the job. But put a dollar amount on it and it all gets personal somehow. I charge $125 an hour, and the vast majority of my work is designing icons and splash screens for software companies. Although I usually start out stating my hourly, most clients are more comfortable budgeting a flat fee for a project, so I nearly always work on a flat fee basis.” Visit Laurie’s site.

Psy/Ops, SF, of San Francisco. Rodrigo Xavier Cavasos is a talented type and graphic designer, sets a base price for services: $1,000 for logos, and $1,500 for corporate ID’s which include cards and letterhead. Visit the Psy/Ops site.

Gerardo San Diego , a San Diego pro, charges between $70 and $80 an hour for a logo, but if he handles printing he charges $100 per hour. Logos average between $1,500 and $2,000. For larger corporate ID projects, he charges between $60-$65 per hour. A 25 page web site, including CGI and JavaScript costs around $5,000, or $60 per hour. Design jobs with complex printing requirements, such as book covers or package designs run between $70 and $100 per hour. Visit Gerardo’s site.

Joe Skeesick of Wisconsin, says, “My own personal preference is to be high man in my area. But this is something you have to work up to. I found that when I priced myself low I ran into two problems, either 1) I didn’t get the respect from my clients (he cant be any good, look what he charges) or 2) I was cheap enough to pawn off a bunch of time consuming crap jobs on that I had no interest in at all. So, I got to the point that I always CHARGE more than those around me, (close of course but a bit more). I’ve always had lots of work to do...

“Oh, and do make sure you have a signed estimate from the client accepting the job and what’s included, and if they call in extra meetings, changes in the job, etc... tell them at the time the issue arises that this is above the estimated work described and will be an additional charge. However, if your hard drive crashes and your work is lost.... that my friend is time you eat.”

Dave Zeigler, a moderator of the i/us freelancing forum who works near Palm Springs, California, says: “As a freelancer I try to average $25 to $50 per hour on each design project I do. Sometimes my client wants to participate in the design process, which is fine with me because he/she can serve as time keeper and provide input as the project progresses. Many times I submit a flat rate bid for a project that is offered to me. The rule of thumb here is to estimate the actual number of hours “you think” it will take you to complete the project and then add 50% more hours. This will cover your time for experimentation and brainstorming. When I bid this way I usually come out even, because every project always seems to take longer than I expected it to take. If I under bid by mistake, I just “eat it” and try to do better next time around. I never raise my price after I have done my best to submit an accurate bid. An exception to this rule is when my client changes his/her mind and asks for something extra that was not considered as part of the original project.”

Make sure to visit i/us’s Freelancing forum--a great place to ask questions about the business of design:

Return to “How to Price your Work.”



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Daniel Will-Harris is a designer and author whose work can be found at http://www.will-harris.com. His site features TypoFile Magazine and Esperfonto, the web’s only typeface selection system. He may be reached via e-mail.

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