What to expect to pay for design services

A graphic designer is a commercial artist who combines elements such as typography, illustration, photographs and colour to convey a specific image, feeling or message in support of a product, company or organisation.

Now as you can expect, if you commission an art piece from a professional artist, you will be paying for the quality of the art piece you desire. The same principle applies for graphic design. The cost for design work is not always time centric, but rather quality centric. This means the more you pay, the better your design is likely to turn out.

People often query why they should pay a certain amount for a logo design, when the designer seemingly spent a short time to complete the task. It is however essential to understand that behind the scenes, before the client gets presented with a first draft, a lot has done on before they received these logo options.

Firstly the designer will familiarise him/her self with the company, client or product to know exactly what the design should achieve. The designer then deciphers the clients’ requests and breaks these down into elements of design. For example, the client could ask “I want a logo that’s bold and that will be visible from far away, that should be able to stand on its own and be able work with collateral for the company”. Broad a this request may be, the designer will start doing research on colours, shapes and fonts to try and get some elements together that represent the needs of the client.

So if we take a logo design as an example, it’s evident that a designer does not simply sit and draw the first thing that pops into his/her head, but will produce a whole bunch of options with different colours, fonts, core shapes and layouts. It is commonplace to present at least three options to the client – resulting from hours of tweaking and elimination processes which whittle down the choices. These three or so options are shown to the client after which the client will list some changes he/she wants made to the logo. So you see, the designer has to go back and produce yet another number of logos before showing the client with the changes implemented. This back and forth tends to go on for some time before the client is fully satisfied with the result. Now you can see why it becomes easy to justify the amount you had to pay for the design. Sometimes, however, we all strike gold, and the designer produces options on the first round, that the client immediately identifies as perfect, and the project is done. You win one – you lose one!

Some will argue that if it’s that quick, it should be cheaper, but that is not the case, as excellent service combined with excellent design equates into money. Time is not the factor, but rather the quality of the design. When I say quality, I mean the overall look of the logo which also communicates the company. The colours represent, the font works with the logo and matches the vibe of the company and so on and so forth. If your designer is worthy, he/she will be able to explain all the elements of the logo and justify why those elements were used.

So next time you get some design work done, remember that the designs you see are the result of many hours of work to produce numerous options and their changes so that a process of elimination sees the best design remaining. If you pay a lot for your design work and still have a quick turnaround time, you can rest easy knowing that your designer has studied and built up experience to be able to produce high quality designs in record breaking time.