Creative Industry Related Information for Graphic Designers & Web Designers!
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There are no Standards on Pay for Graphic Designers

Posted: September 1st, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Finance and Loans | Tags: , | No Comments »

What happened to, they used to serve this industry fairly well 10 years or so ago fighting for designers, but they’ve become a useless organization for creative pros.

I think it’s time we build an organization or create a Union to help designers get the pay they deserve. This is hard to do, but this industry is suffering more and more every year.

So many designers have bachelors degrees, or years of experience, but the market does not back them up, businesses just want cheap labor.

Designer pay has been about the same as it was since about 2003. Almost 20 years later and the majority of salaries or freelance wages have staid the same.

Just remember this, you would not have your business without graphic design. Your brand would fail, your marketing collateral would not exist, your product packaging would never be on display nor would you have a company website or online presence.

Graphic designers are a crucial part of a business. Treat them with respect.

Graphic Design Slave Labor

Posted: August 24th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Quick Blurbs | No Comments »

My rant for the day….

Low class company (The Social Robin – Dallas, TX) offering slave labor wages for a graphic design position in Dallas, TX. They want to pay up to $10 per hour for 1-2 years of experience as a graphic designer. You have to travel some which will take up your entire $10 for one hour just to drive to Dallas. Plus, you have to bring your own equipment. What a bunch of cheap ass wipes!

These companies should be ashamed of themselves. I will shame every company I find online doing this to graphic designers.

View the job post below and pass along the shame!


Registering a Business Name

Posted: August 6th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | No Comments »
Graphic Design web design

Registering a business in my county is one thing, but what about finding a name for online purposes? What if the name is fine for the county, but there is another company with the same name on the Web? Would I have to find another name for my company if I want to go online?

Well, it is best to find a domain that matches your company name. If not, then you don’t have a brand identity. My suggestion is to find a name that works on the Web and for the company too. Plus, you need to make sure clients don’t get confused if there is another business using the same name even if that business is not in the same town or state.

Pricing an Annual Report

Posted: August 6th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: | No Comments »
annual-report design pricing

A company wants to hire me to do their 10th financial report. I’m trying to figure out my price for them (I’ve never worked for them so I don’t know how time consuming of a client they are). It would be 30-40 pages (4 color) and I would be responsible for:

  • Creative and art direction (conceptual, photoshoots, etc.)
  • Design (2 initial designs and meetings to come to a final approval)
  • Project management/trafficking (scheduling project, interacting with printer and photographer)
  • Production (layout, corrections, preparing for printer, releasing, checking proofs)
  • Press checks (on site checking print quality and approving).

The conceptual and design would be done over the next 3 months (just to set the scheduling, decide on concept, design, and approval — probably about 50-100 hours total). Then I would be working on production, design (always some more), project management, and press checks in June, July, and August (perhaps about 360 hours — based on 30 hours a week for 12 weeks). This is a rough hour assessment which would total 460 hours. It could go drastically up or down depending on the client.

My questions:


My personal background — generally I charge by the hour, 50/h is absolute minimum for straight production but design/art direction goes up to 100/h. I am basing my rates on my experience and standard New York City pricing.

Answers to Your Questions

I am not based in New York and have no standard fee knowledge of what the going rate is for an annual report there. However, I suspect that the costs are very similar to my area which is Dallas Texas. As for the time you are planning to put in (360 to 460 hours) is quite a lot. Most companies are not willing to spend $30,000 on an annual report unless they are hiring a large firm like DDB that would have a staff of 10 or more working on the project, including copy writing and more. My suggestions below reflects what I would charge in my one person studio. My pricing also does not reflect copy writing, the client must provide this service.

Also, the time frame of 3 months is quite a long time to continue on a project. You need to force your client to try to get everything approved for final design within a month. On the second month, they should finalize and go to press. The more room you give your client to make changes and stuff, the longer the project will be and the more mistakes will happen.

Listed below is what I suggest for pricing. However, since the company is a non-profit, they will be tight on cash, even if they are a large company.


Photo shoot
Cost per day photo shoot direction = $1,000 (10 hours, does not include photographers fees, development or photo retouching)

Project Management/Working with Printer/Press Checks
Cost = $1,000 (10 hours)

Design/Production/Art Direction/Concept/Proofing
Per page cost = $300 to $400 (40 pages / 3-4 hours per page)
Total cost = $12,000 to $16,000

First 3-4 hours no charge
Cost over 4 hours billed at = $100 per hour

Total approx. cost of annual report = $12,000 to $18,000


I suggest you bill between $12,000 and $18,000 for a very high quality annual report. This depends on what you think they would feel comfortable spending and how much you feel you could cut in order to get the job. Don’t forget you still have a photographer you have to pay – that will be in addition to your total cost.


Present them with 2 options on price range, and let them know you would be flexible based on what they need. Many clients have big eyes on what they want to do until the pricing closes them. Don’t be so set in stone about your pricing, give them options on where they can save money and still get a great product. Remember to take care of yourself and make money. Nothing is worse than working on a project that you underbid on.

I used my base rate of $100 an hour, but to get the job, I would be willing to go down to about $60 to $75 an hour. You might even consider doing a flat $60 to $75 per hour and put them on a retainer and charge them hourly.

When using the pricing guides, do the prices reflect meetings and consultations with clients?

Posted: June 1st, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Design | Tags: , , | No Comments »
graphic design

The design prices are for design only. For the most part, it is industry standard to have one free consultation with the client and time to go over the initial design after completion. If you have changes or more meetings, then you need to extend the hours per job (charge per 1/4 hour). Basically, the 3 hours it takes to design a letterhead is just for design. Additional charges will need to be applied if the client request changes. My suggestion, is if they have minor changes, then do it for free, but don’t let it get out of hand. The reason the extra charges are not in place on these pricing guides, is that every client is different and that it is virtually impossible to judge what will be changed. Some may need more while others less. Since most design work is custom, this will always be an issue for designers.

Download Pricing Guides

Do you recommend breaking down your estimate to include the number of hours spent on certain tasks as well as breaking down each item?

Posted: May 24th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , | No Comments »
estimate design work
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

It’s fine to breakdown your estimates, but to much breakdown will cause the client to pick apart the estimate and try to cut time and pricing. However, it is a good idea to place the amount of time and then state if the client goes over a certain amount of time that they will be billed for additional hours at your rate. My suggestion is to give the client a base price and then list the total time for the project. Then state the time overage costs to the client. Clients can be overwhelmed and not understand what you are breaking down in your estimate, they just want you to get the project done for a good price. Remember, the more simple the better.

Do you recommend getting a lot of self-promotion items printed up for marketing our company?

Posted: May 19th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Design | No Comments »

Be very careful on what you have printed, you can spend too much of your hard earned cash on stuff that just looks cool and is not effective in bringing in money. My suggestion is start of with a really sharp looking business card and get your Web site online. These two items will be your number one shot for bringing in business. The next thing would be to work on low cost letterhead and envelopes so you can send out for proposals and sales information. Once your company starts to bring in money, then look at cooler ways to do your self-promotion and attract the bigger fish. Spend more money on mass mailing and cover more area with your dollar.

I have tried to do cold-calling to business around my area. Many of them have a no solicitation sign on their door. How do I approach these businesses if I can’t walk in and visit with them?

Posted: May 19th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | No Comments »

There area a couple of ways around this, one is to call and set an appointment. Chances are that you may still be turned away if they are not interested in speaking with anyone regarding a sales pitch. My suggestion is if this does not work, do direct mail. Make a nice letter on your company letterhead with samples of your work inside and send it to them. After about a week, call them and say that you are following up on a letter you sent them the week before. Many times, this will get you in the door, because they are more familiar with who you are; that is if they read your letter.

As a freelancer, do I charge agencies (design firms, advertising / marketing firms,) tax on a final invoice?

Posted: April 16th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , | No Comments »

I will try to answer your question, but I am not by any means a CPA, so what I tell you should be checked out directly with a professional. Usually, as a freelancer, you only charge tax on the final product. If an agency has contracted you to do a project, they will be the ones completing the final product for the client. Thus, charging the client tax. In order for the agency to be tax exempt, they must provide a Tax ID number and fill out a tax exemption form. Check with your state for state tax regulations and requirements.

I looked over your pricing guides, and I wondered how much I should charge for my work?

Posted: April 16th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , | No Comments »

To answer you question about what to charge, is dependent on experience as well as location. Your location could warrant a high fee such as $100 per hour, but that all depends on experience and skill level. As an artist starting out, I would charge between $30 and $50 per hour, with $50 an hour being the preferred rate. Use our pricing guides and plug in your hourly rate. You should also time yourself on a regular basis to see how much time it takes to do a project. By the way, never sell yourself short. If it takes you 5 hours to do a brochure, and you know that most designers would take 10, then charge for 10. If the client has a hard time with the costs, go down to 8 hours charge. You’re still making money and are beating the competition.