How much??!!

Why Graphic Designers want to be paid for what they do and other ideas about the cost of design.

I am constantly surprised, bemused, insulted that companies expect a lot of graphic designers (and other creative services) to work for very little or, in some cases, free*.

Yes Ladies and Gents, this is going to be a bit of a shouty blog post but it will also, hopefully, be insightful.

I guess the above statement* has come about because a lot of the tools that are accessible to creative people are generally very accessible to the public at large. Go out and buy some paint, and you are an artist. Snap a few nice photos, and you are a photographer. Drag a few things around the screen and print it out and hey presto you are a graphic designer. That’s right isn’t it?

Not so. With all these disciplines there is craft, skill and knowledge. And my personal opinion is that you are born with a leaning towards these disciplines so there is an ‘essence’ that can’t be learnt and that is the bit that makes the creative person brilliant. It also makes them passionate, crazy, and obsessive about what they do.

“OK, OK, we get it” I hear you cry. “But why do they charge so much?”

I can only speak about how a graphic designer works. Personally the design journey starts the moment a client opens their mouth to talk. I need to feel the personality of the client, read their body language, look at what they are wearing, and generally get a really good overview of them. Within 30-60 seconds we all make the biggest impression we will make on another person, the first impression, and that is the moment I start designing.

Within 30-60 seconds we all make the biggest impression we will make on another person

As the brief unfolds during this first conversation my mind is wiring away, concepts are forming, stuff I can’t vocalise, and I tuck this away for later. As I leave the briefing, usually in the car, my brain is really starting to chip away at the brief. I may not physically sit down to work on this job until much later, but believe me I am thinking about it all the time. Hell I even dream about it.

By the time I am ready to sit and scamp out the concepts and work them up they are almost fully formed. Things change of course, but years of experience helps me get to my goal in this way.

At Seventy Three we charge a minimum of around £1000 for a logo (you can get off the floor now), which is quite frankly really reasonable if you consider how long the logo will last your company and what business it will attract to you. But how much did the big brands get charged for their logos? Find out here. Obviously this is just the starting cost, consider how much they then go on to spend to keep their brands visually fresh and exciting. Find out how much some of the big brands are worth and what they spend here.

Some of those costs are quite shocking but consider this; the big agencies that worked on those brand identities LIVED it for months and months. Teams of creative’s worked as one mighty brain to unravel the clients business, aspirations, goals and worked with their strategy-bods to create the perfect brand identity for that client. The brand identity is their spokesman when their people cannot be there to represent them. It must be right. It must make them profitable.

A final thought, design isn’t there to make you look pretty that is a bi-product. It is there to solve a problem in your business and make you profitable. As the Design Council said in 2011:

“Every £100 a design alert business spends on design increases turnover by £225.”