How are graphic design services priced?

As graphic design is not a regulated or protected industry in Australia anybody with a computer can claim to offer ‘graphic design services’.

Because of that, it is difficult for clients to have an idea of how designers price their work.

Sometimes people compare quotes only by price, but forget that design is not a commodity. Commodities are goods and services with very little difference in quality across a market and where buying decision comes down to price and price alone. Also, experience and formal qualifications take part on how designers price their work.

If you are going to invest in graphic design, you must ensure that you are at least dealing with professionals, because honestly, there are plenty.

Paying for graphic design services is no different than paying for other professional services.

I’ve written the following article based on my experience working as a professional designer on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia.

Disclaimer: with the Sunshine Coast being a regional area, the expected prices might not reflect those charged by freelancers, boutique studios or advertising agencies providing services in the major cities.

Generally speaking, there are three levels of graphic design pricing:

Cheap cheap cheap

People working on this low end of pricing might be students (or graduates) who are trying to build their portfolios, or perhaps somebody with a computer and no formal qualifications or experience. The quality can range from excellent to terrible, but if you’re on an extremely limited budget, this might be the option for you.

Professionals mid-range prices

In this price range you find small design studios, graphic designers with university degrees and/or many years of work experience.

The big advantage is you get the benefit of their experience without paying the highest prices. You also get to communicate directly with the creative people working on your project instead of going through the account managers typical of larger agencies or corporations.

Most small studios will offer you ‘packaged prices’. This means, fixed fees for specific services that the design studio specialises in. For example, if the design studio specialises in Brand Identity, having your logo, stationery, signage and website done as a package will be much more cost effective than having just one item at a time. Our design studio Soul Space Design, sits in this category. View our prices here.

Professionals higher prices

Advertising agencies and boutique design studios generally charge more because they have higher overheads. With an agency, you’ll be assigned an account manager who serves as your liaison to the design department. Agencies also have departments for market research, media buying, broadcast production and other services if you need them.

Advertising agencies are best suited for large corporate clients or if your business requires TV/radio media exposure.

But before you hire a graphic designer or choose an agency to work with, make sure to check the quality of the work by requesting samples. My article “10 things to check before choosing your graphic designer” can help you if you don’t know where to start.

If you are looking for design services and don’t know where to start, contact us for an obligation-free consultation.

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