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Setting a Budget: How Much Money Should Your Business Spend on Graphic Design

Top-notch graphic design defines your brand, sets you apart to clients, and boosts your bottom line.

Is good graphic design necessary in today's world? Most business owners already know that the answer is yes.

But here's a harder question to answer: how much will it cost, and can I afford it?

With the worlds of graphic design freelancers, agencies, and self-serve design apps open to you, figuring out a realistic graphic design budget can seem overwhelming. But there's no need to let that stop you from finding the right designer at the right price. Keep reading to learn how to set a realistic budget for the graphic design you need.

What Are You Paying For?

In the world of freelance services like graphic design, the old adage "you get what you pay for" holds true. But what exactly are you paying for when you pay for graphic design?

Graphic design isn't mere window dressing. It's the first impression your company gives. Whether your customer sees it online or in person, great graphic design is the equivalent of a tailored suit and firm handshake: professional and confident. On the other hand, poor graphic design is a bad first impression that doesn't leave your potential customers wanting to learn more.

When you purchase graphic design services, you are really investing in the judgement that your potential clients and consumers make of you, when they glance at your product on store shelves, click to your website, or pick up your card. You're investing in a company identity that your customers can invest in as well. In a word, you're investing in emotional loyalty.Keep this in mind when you're setting your graphic design budget.

Ballpark Your Graphic Design Budget

With so many variables in your graphic design budget, start by narrowing down your options. Your first financial decision is whether your company should hire a freelance designer for a lower-cost option, or enlist a design agency for a more comprehensive service.

Freelance Graphic Designer

Working with a freelancer can allow you more control over the project, so that you can integrate your preferences as the project develops. Freelancers work at a wide range of prices — meaning, you'll be able to find one to work at your minimum budget.

However, you'll also need to carefully evaluate your potential designer's work. A freelancer who keeps their prices low may not produce the quality work you need. Freelancers range from expert to inexperienced, and can't always provide the same quality of design that a design agency team can. If you choose to hire a freelancer, you'll spend time researching portfolios, pursuing quotes, and interviewing potentials. Don't bypass the interview process or you could end up with a designer who isn't right for you. However, you'll need to factor the time you spend picking a designer into your company's overall budget for the project.

Graphic Design Agency

Going to a graphic design and branding agency is a bigger investment. However, their services can go far beyond creating one good design piece (such as a logo or sign) to include designing an entire branding strategy.

A design firm has already vetted and hired quality designers. That means you don't have to spend hours of your own time choosing a designer, which reduces the time (and therefore money) that your company spends on the graphic design project.You'll also pay more for the convenience of having the company handle more of the design and project details. This is helpful if you want to hand more responsibility to a company you can trust. However, if you want to manage details yourself, a freelancer may suit you better.

Finding a Quote

Whether you choose a freelancer or an agency, you'll be tapping into a competitive market. That means it should be easy to get a free quote.To get a quote, you'll need to know how you want to hire your designer: through an hourly rate or a project rate.

Hourly Rates

Estimates from 2018 put mid-level graphic design rates at up to $35 per hour, while expert designers are likely to cost up to $75 per hour. However, as the design industry expands exponentially, you will find even wider-ranging rates.

Of course, if you're being billed hourly, time is money. You'll want to ask lots of questions about how long the project will take in order to ensure an accurate budget. Don't forget that working with a more inexperienced designer could mean that you end up asking for more revisions. That means more hours spent on the project, and a greater overall cost.

Project Rates

Instead of charging hourly, your freelancer or agency might charge a set fee for the entire project.

Set fees apply to specific projects, such as:
- Logo design
- Website design
- Branding strategy
- Business cards
- Online banner or ad

In the interview process, make sure you understand exactly what the project rate includes. Does the price include a specific number of revisions? If you want more revisions, how much will it cost?

If your business wants to purchase multiple services at once, such as a website redesign as well as a complete branding strategy, inquire whether your agency can offer you a bundle price. This will keep costs down while giving your business the design edge it needs to stay competitive.

Right Design, Right Price

Great graphic design doesn't replace having a good product. It gives your customers a glimpse into the great product they didn't know existed. If you make a wise and informed investment in graphic design, you can pay a price that you're comfortable with and still see an improvement in your bottom line.

Branding and design are crucial to your business's success. Instead of leaving them to chance, find communication experts like Codigo Creative to help you communicate your brand. Contact us today for branding solutions you can be confident in.

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