For Hire Letter Eleven Design Blog

How can you save time and money on graphic design work?

This blog focuses on the cost of graphic design work and how a designer charges for their time. I explore how creative jobs are estimated and make some suggestions on how clients can save time and money on graphic design work. I also provide examples of realistic timeframes (with breakdowns) for some of the more common design projects.

 

 

So, how much does a graphic designer cost?

 

There are lots of articles online about this but none really give a specific answer, that’s because every project is as different as the person working on it. The time required to do one job will differ greatly from another, while one client may have minor changes another may have a project which requires a lot of work. Some designers charge by the hour while others will charge a fixed price for work. The cost of a project comes from two things, firstly the designers understanding of the scope of work (aka the creative brief – more about this in another blog) and secondly, the designers experience from working on similar projects.

 

Rates charged by graphic designers on Upwork vary from US$20 to US$150 an hour, with an average rate around US$45 per hour. However, designers on UpWork don’t always bill hourly; it’s also common for their designers to set a fixed price for the work, based on their understanding of your project requirements.

 

 

How can you (the client) save time and money on graphic design work.

 

Be specific about what you want, being too vague will add time as the designer tries to figure out what you are looking for.

 

The best way to ensure you will get the most cost effective quotation is for you to do the leg work. It’s pretty simple, prepare all your materials. Every designer loves when you give them all the content they require in one go.

 

Text

 

  • Include a list of copy (text)
  • Get someone to proofread it – do not expect that your designer will do this automatically. Of course, if they spot an error they make an amend but they do not read every single line of every paragraph, they are working to ensure your text fits the space, they are not reading it to check for mistakes. In an ideal world a copy writer will write great copy. Proofreaders check it. Designers lay it out.  Most designers I know are shocking at spelling and grammar!

 

Imagery

 

  • Select the images you want to use
  • Make sure that you have permission to use every image
  • Supply the images in high enough resolution. If you do not know what this means ask your designer, they will give you specifications. If you don’t supply files in high resolution the designer will spend time chasing you for images and you will get charged for this.

 

 

Do you have a tight project timeline?

 

If your project has a tight timeline, you may pay a premium (i.e. a rush fee) which is fair enough when you consider what the designer has to do to help you meet your deadline. They will rearrange their schedule, bump other client work and work outside of office hours late into the night and possibly over the weekend to make sure it happens. All the more reason to make sure you have a clear creative brief and as much of the content available to them from the start of the project.

 

 

What is my background in providing graphic design estimates and quotes?

 

I worked for three years as the Studio Manager for a busy and exciting design studio in Queenstown, New Zealand. This town is the adventure capital of the world and our clients were predominately tourism enterprises. The studio was growing in size, to be able to expand efficiently they needed to be better at predicting the scope of work and providing project quotations. One of my KPI’s was to create a quotation system which would accurately reflect the cost of being creative.

 

How do you work out how much time it takes to be creative?

 

Most people don’t understand the amount of time that goes into designing a logo, a brochure, a book or a website. Even designers struggle to quantify it. I am a highly organised designer with a very rational approach to the design process. My inner geek relished the challenge of figuring it all out.

 

Breaking down the design process

 

I worked out an estimation system where I broke down the design process into steps and allocated time accordingly. This transparent and rational approach worked, the clients loved it because they could understand where the cost of a project came from. They saw how much time was allocated to each part of the process. They could justify the cost outlay and as a result they were less likely to query costs.

 

Every accepted quote was turned into a live job and automatically transferred to the time-management system.  The designers logged their time accurately against each stage. We saw how our estimates stacked up against the reality of the job. This provided us with the knowledge we needed to quote more accurately.

 

At the end of each month we issued the client invoices. The client compared the quote with the invoice and could track our progress. It gave the studio room to point out issues they had with the timeframe, for example, excessive amends, hours being absorbed with unforeseen issues specific to the job.

 

 

How much time will a graphic designer spend working on a project?

 

Here’s a look at some estimates for popular promotional graphic design projects – logo design, brochure layouts, flyer and poster concepts.

 

These timeframes are for graphic design work, they do not include printing timeframes, a rule of thumb is to allow 1 – 2 weeks for a print run. This may seem obvious but it is also worth noting that the time of a project can be reduced if the client responds quickly to revisions.

LOGO DESIGN PROJECT

20 – 30 hours work = approx 6 – 8 weeks
Example: Irish Association for Cancer Research

Stage

Work Description

Hours

1

Initial Concepts, research and explore ideas, 3 initial logo designs

15

2

Concept Development to finalise 1 logo design based on client feedback

6

3

Round 1 Amends

3

4

Round 2 Amends

1

5

Round 3 Amends

1

6

Artwork of full logo pack

4

TOTAL HOURS = 30

POSTER / BANNER DESIGN PROJECT

12 – 15 hours work = approx 1 – 2 weeks

Example: ReachOut.com

Stage

Work Description

Hours

1

Initial Concept

6

2

Concept Development based on client feedback

3

3

Round 1 Amends

1

4

Round 2 Amends

1

5

Artwork for print

4

TOTAL HOURS = 15

THREE PANEL BROCHURE DESIGN PROJECT

20 – 30 hours work = approx 3 – 4 weeks

A DL brochure is an A4 page folded into 3, each panel is 99mm x 210mm.

Example: Paradise Ziplines

Stage

Work Description

Hours

1

Initial Concepts, research and brainstorm, 3 initial layouts, front page, 2 inner pages

8

2

Concept Development to finalise 1 design, full layout – 6 pages

6

3

Round 1 Amends based on client feedback

3

4

Round 2 Amends based on client feedback

2

5

Artwork imagery – photoshop (if required)

4

6

Artwork document – ready for print

4

TOTAL HOURS = 27

POSTER BASED ON BROCHURE DESIGN PROJECT

6 – 10 hours work = approx 1 – 2 weeks

Example: Irish Association for Cancer Research

Stage

Work Description

Hours

1

Initial Concept

3

2

Concept Development based on client feedback

1

3

Round 1 Amends

1

4

Round 2 Amends

1

5

Artwork for print

2

TOTAL HOURS = 8

Are you interested in finding out more?
I’d be delighted to hear from you.

 

Call me   +353 83 391 1110 or email me  k@lettereleven.net

You can also find me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram

Image Credit: Unsplash.com – Clem Onojeghuo