What does the investment look like?

If you're just hopping into the Design Transparency Series, check out the intro post here! My goal with this blog post series is to equip, empower and add a little more transparency to the mystery of working with a designer by answering popular questions that you have about the design process and hiring and working with a designer.


Today we are tackling the topic of investment, prices and value. To be completely honest with you, this was a hard blogpost to write, because the design field is so varied, it’s hard to find a common price. So I tried my best to talk more about why there are so many different prices out there and how you can choose what’s best for you. I also tried to be as transparent as possible about what goes into the investment from the designer’s side. We’ll be talking about the factors that affect the investment. With that said, let’s dive in!

It’s easy to go into the design process and price shop. You basically look for the least expensive person and sign on the dotted line, but especially when dealing with design and your logo, there are many more parts of the investment to check off before jumping in full force, price of course being one of them.

 

Here are the 5 things that affect the price of the investment you will make:

Designer’s Expertise

This is an important factor in the price. A designer just starting out will price lower than a designer who went to school and has been working in the design field for five years. You can find this out either by following them on social media and reading how they talk about their work and design in general, or you can take a look on their about page of their website. Some designers will talk about how long they’ve been doing something.

A good rule of thumb (but not always 100%), the more expensive the investment the more confident the designer in their process and service and the longer they have been perfecting it.

 

Designer’s Time

This is a huge factor that is easy to overlook. Most people think that logos are pulled from thin air. That a designer is hit in the face with an idea that ends up being the best and final idea. This unfortunately, even how much designer wishes it was, is not the case. The design process is a long, highly hands-on and creative process. There are several things that go into a designers time on a project, including market research, industry research, then research in color, typography, overall style, look and feel. Then there is brainstorming ideas, sketching them out, bringing them onto the computer, adding colors and typography, then creating variations of the logo based on the different platforms and ways they could be used, all while having your business’s mission, style, and target audience in mind.

My average time spent on ONLY a logo is twenty hours. This doesn’t include correspondence with my clients or any work on stationary or extras included in the package. The timeline could be two weeks to a couple of months long, depending on how in-depth a designer gets, and what is included in the service or package.

A good rule of thumb - if the timeline is months instead of weeks, the investment will be more, but the value will also increase.

 

What You get

This is broken up into three pieces.

Knowledge/Education:

Some designers spend a large amount of time assisting their clients with copy, naming, figuring out their mission statement, their target market, etc. Some designer assist with some, and some designers assume that you’ve already done that work before coming to them. You’ll pay more for a designers time if they assist you in figuring out the why of your business.

Files:

Most designers will send you all the files you need to be up and running. For an increased cost, most designers will include your original design files. This also includes how many varieties of logos you get. Each variety is added time, so if you want a myriad of different varieties of your logo to use, your investment will be more.

Extras:

Some designers include in their price the cost for printed pieces, like business cards, that will help with relaunches and starting a business. These are costly if they are done well, so if you want amazing stationary starting out, the investment is increased.

 

The Experience

There is a quote out there about certain people who are willing to pay more money on experiences rather than material things. Designers are very good about creating client experiences and each designer does it differently.

Some designers are at a premium, because you have more one-on-one time and contact with them. Some are at a premium, because they would rather create a collaborative experience rather than a client-designer project. Some are at a premium because they add in touch points along the way to surprise and delight their clients throughout the entire process.

This is a huge part of the investment. If you are looking for an experience, you will pay more. If you are looking to check off a box, then going the lower price point will suit you.

 

The Designer’s target market

This is definitely something to look at, when thinking about the investment. How a designer markets themselves and who they normally work with will be an important factor in choosing the right designer (which we’ll talk about soon) and the investment that you want to make.

You can figure this out by looking at their portfolio, the social media and the overall look of their own branding, marketing and platforms. Some designer only want to work with high-end luxury customers and their branding, portfolio and marketing will reflect that. As will their price point. Other designers only work in specific industries and their price will reflect that. If a designer is only working with brand new small businesses, their prices may be on the lower end. If a designer is only working with well established businesses on rebrands and launches, then their price may be more expensive.
 


Now that we’ve talked about the factors, the investment varies greatly and all of the above determines where a designer will price their service. The investment can be anywhere from $100 (a designer just starting out) - thousands of dollars (months of work with a highly experienced designer).

Determine where you are on each of these factors, and that will help you figure out where your budget for design should be. Sometimes we like to pull a number out of the air and say that’s where my budget will be for design. But it’s smarter to do your research on where it should be to get what you want for what you spend. By going through the above 5 things and figuring out where you set and what you want, that will better help you to not be disappointed when you hear the price from your chosen designer.

 

You can also look around at designers you follow on instagram, or designers you have been recommended and if they don’t have their price on their website, feel free to reach out! Designers don’t hide their prices, they just want potential clients to see the value they can get before making a decision solely on price. They will be happy to send you their prices once you reach out.