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The Best Pricing Strategy for Designers

The Best Pricing Strategy for Designers

Pricing is often agonising for designers as they treat it like a puzzle. However, the most successful designers know the secret: pricing has less to do with numbers and more with perception.

Your price tag whispers to potential clients. It tells them about your confidence levels, where you stand in the market and your value. Setting too low screams ‘bargain-bin’; if set too high, you risk hearing crickets.

The hack? Do more than just price your time or deliverables. Price the transformation.

Great design is more than smoother lines or prettier pixels; it is about opening doors, solving problems and creating possibilities that didn’t exist before.

So, what does it take to break this code and find where your pricing sweet spot lies? You must realise that your ideal customers are not searching for bargains but results.

Let’s discover how to achieve precisely that for them – and get paid what you’re truly worth along the way!

Why Pricing Matters: More Than Just Numbers

Fundamentsl Of Pricing Strategies

Pricing is more than a number. It’s an art that can either make or break your design career. Nail it, and you’ll be flooded with clients and respect. Mess it up, and you may as well drown in undervaluation and frustration.

The Psychological Tricks Behind Pricing

Have you ever wondered why specific prices just seem right? 

There are fields of psychology dedicated to studying pricing strategies; they show us that there is so much more than meets the eye when it comes down to digits on paper. 

Numbers alone don’t count – what matters most is how people perceive value and what methods should be used to persuade them subtly.

What It Says About Your Brand

Your pricing strategy says a lot about your brand. Think of it as if we were shouting through megaphones at passersby – would they consider this place cheap or luxurious before even walking past the entrance?

Everyday Pricing Mistakes Designers Make

We’ve all been there – doubting ourselves, charging too much out of fear, or just throwing numbers at a wall, hoping they stick. Let’s expose these traps so that you can avoid them with elegance.

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You know that feeling when you say a number and immediately regret it? That’s the lowball trap, and it’s a doozy. It’s like selling a Ferrari for the price of a bike – sure, it’ll move fast, but you’ll kick yourself afterwards.

“I’m Not Good Enough”

Impostor syndrome, anyone? That self-doubting little voice in your head can mess with your pricing. Tell it to take a hike!

One Size Fits All

Pricing isn’t one size fits all. It’s more like bespoke tailoring – it should fit each project perfectly. Treating every client and project the same is amateur hour and will cost you dearly.

Understanding Your Value Proposition

But before we plunge into the details of pricing methods, let’s talk about you. Yes, that’s right. You! What is it that sets you apart? What do you bring to the table? Knowing your value proposition is like finding the key to setting prices.

Discovering Your Unique Talents

What can you do that nobody else can? Maybe you’re a wiz with typography or a UX design guru. Whatever it is, recognise it, claim it, and price it accordingly.

Taking into account the Years Spent in the Industry

Experience is not just a number on your resume; experience equates to value when pricing services, too. Consider it your design superpower – the more years behind one’s back, the higher they can set their rates.

Different Pricing Models for Designers

Pricing Strategy Matrix

Alright, let's get down to business. There is more than one way to determine the price of your design services.

Hourly Rate: The Traditional Approach

The hourly rate – a classic. It’s like that old reliable hammer in your toolbox; it might not be the best tool for every job, but you know it’ll never disappoint you. Here’s the breakdown:


  • Easy math
  • Protects against scope creep
  • Clients are familiar with it


  • Punishes efficiency
  • It may not represent your work’s actual value
  • This can lead to micromanagement

Project-Based Pricing: What Is It Worth to Them?

Think of project-based pricing as a Swiss Army knife for your rates. It’s adaptable, friendly for clients and lucrative if you play your cards right.


  • Emphasises value over time spent
  • Higher potential profit margins
  • It lets clients know precisely what they’re paying from the get-go


  • Requires accurate project scoping at the outset (think hours and materials list)
  • Risk of underestimating time and effort required on each task within larger projects (aka no guarantees)
  • It can be daunting if you’re new or inexperienced in estimating jobs this way—don’t worry; practice makes perfect!

Value-Based Pricing: The Envelope Please…

Value-based pricing is like winning the lottery—it doesn’t happen often, but when it does…man, oh man! Imagine having an endless supply of those crisp Benjamin Franklins rolling in weekly; talk about living large!


  • Align your fees with client outcomes (results = paydirt!)
  • Sky-high earning potential—if done correctly 😉
  • Position yourself as their strategic partner in success (what could be better?)


  • You must understand what makes their business tick before even attempting this one! Seriously, folks—do some serious homework beforehand or risk looking like a total idiot during negotiations…
  • Sometimes numbers don’t lie…but other times, they can be hard to find (i.e., figuring out how much $$ should accompany each specific improvement or milestone)
  • It may scare off specific customers who prefer more “traditional” pricing models.
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Factors to Consider When Setting Your Prices

Creating prices is not just about inventing numbers. It consists of many things that need to be balanced. Let us discuss them, alright?

Know Your Worth: Market Rates

Understanding market rates is similar to having a compass in the wild of pricing; it points you in the right direction, but remember – it’s only a guide, not a rule book.

Your Experience and Expertise

You have invested your time in learning and becoming good at the craft. This should count for something, so do not undersell yourself when setting prices.

Project Complexity

Not all projects are equal; a simple logo design is less involved than an entire brand identity overhaul. Adjust your charges accordingly lest you spend sleepless nights working for peanuts.

Client Budget and Expectations

Knowing what your client can afford is essential, but here’s the thing: Sometimes, clients need to be educated on why they should pay more for quality design – like explaining why Michelin Star meals cost more than fast food joint burgers.

Overhead Costs

Do not leave out the mundane aspects such as software subscriptions, equipment and office space (even if it’s your kitchen table). Failure to account for these expenses will leave you working without pay before long.

The Art of Negotiation: Getting What You're Worth

Negotiating Pricing With Clients

Negotiation is not a bad word. Any designer who wants to earn a living from their passion must have negotiating skills. Here’s how you should negotiate like an expert.

The Role of Confidence

Confidence is what will get you anything in negotiations. Think of it as having an invisible cape that makes you feel like a superhero. Stand straight, talk loudly, and know your value.

When to Stick and When to Bend

Being flexible is good, but there is this thin line between accommodating and becoming a doormat. Understand your lowest point, and don’t go beyond it. However, I also realise that some little give can help one land an excellent customer.

The Power of Walking Away

You must understand that sometimes, the best way to win negotiations is by refusing them altogether. It’s almost like that game chicken – who’ll swerve first? When someone fails to appreciate your work, tell them, “Thank you, but I’m not interested.”

Pricing Strategies for Different Design Services

Design services aren’t created equal; neither should their prices. Below are some specific tactics for different kinds of design work.

Logo Design: Striking the Balance Between Creativity and Commerce

Logos play the role of brands’ faces; thus, determining their worth may become challenging. Try offering tiered packages, including:

  1. Essential: Simple logo with a few revisions
  2. Standard: Multiple concepts plus more revisions
  3. Premium: Full brand identity package

Web Design: From Simple Sites to Complex Platforms

The pricing for web designing can vary significantly based on many factors, such as:

  1. Number of pages
  2. Is e-commerce functionality needed or not
  3. custom features required or not
  4. ongoing maintenance requirements, etc.

Branding: Pricing the Intangible

Branding is beyond just having a logo; it represents the company. Here are some pricing strategies:

  1. Brand strategy sessions
  2. Visual identity development
  3. Brand guidelines creation;
  4. Brand application across different media channels like print ads, online banners, etc.
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UI/UX Design: Good design pays off when people use it and convert because of its use.

User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design revolve around creating an easy flow for users through different screens or pages until they achieve their goals seamlessly. 

Your prices should demonstrate this fact since good designs increase engagement rates, among other metrics that drive conversions, too!

The Psychology of Pricing: Playing Mind Games (in a Good Way)

Psychology Of Pricing Strategies

Pricing is not only numbers; it’s psychology. Unravel these pricing tactics that will give you an edge.

The Power of Odd Numbers

Have you ever wondered why prices end with 9 or 7? Because they do. Odd-numbered prices can make your services look more appealing and affordable.

The Decoy Effect

Think of the decoy effect as a magic trick for pricing. By giving three options – low, medium, and high – you can nudge clients towards the one you want them to choose.

Anchoring: Setting the Bar High

Start with your highest-priced option first. It’s like throwing an anchor into the sea of pricing – everything else will be measured against it.

Communicating Your Pricing to Clients

Your prices are set, but how do you communicate without driving your customers away?

The Art of the Proposal

A well-crafted proposal can be equated to a love letter for your client's project. It should clearly outline what they will get, why it is valuable, and how much it costs.

Focusing on Value, Not Just Price

Don’t talk about what you will do- talk about what results the client will see. It’s like selling sizzle, not just steak.

Handling Price Objections with Grace

Price objections are a normal part of business. Handle them gracefully and confidently because this is more than defending a number – standing up for yourself.

Evolving Your Pricing Strategy Over Time

Your strategy for pricing is flexible. It must change when you do. We should discuss ways to keep it exciting and current.

Periodic Price Evaluations

Make a system to evaluate prices regularly. This is like taking your business to the doctor; it’s a must for long-term success.

Accounting For Inflation And Market Changes

The world changes, and so should your rates. Monitor inflation and market tendencies to stay competitive with pricing.

Pricing As You Become More Experienced

You get better at what you do; thus, you charge more. It’s as if someone were promoted – a higher position equals higher expertise (and responsibility), equaling extra payment.

Tools and Resources for Pricing Your Design Services

Startup Branding Cost

You are not alone when it comes to pricing. Many tools and resources can assist you in establishing a good pricing strategy.

Calculators for Pricing

Use the Freelance Rate Calculator or Design Price Calculator to start your pricing on a solid note.

Reports and Surveys of the Industry

Stay updated with current market rates by referring to reports like AIGA Design Survey or Freelance Industry Report.

Professional Networks and Communities

Get connected with designers in the same industry on platforms like Behance or Dribbble; that way, you will know what is expected.

The Future of Pricing in the Design Industry

The design industry can be described as a continuously changing sector. Pricing strategies are also included in this wave of changes. Why don’t we try to look at what the future could bring?

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A future with subscription-based design services

Can we have a Netflix model for design services? More frequently, monthly subscriptions will be used in continuous design work.

AI and Automation: Are They Our Friends or Foes?

How will AI tools affect pricing within the design industry when they become more advanced than now? This is a two-edged sword that can either simplify or confuse pricing tactics.

Importance of specialising

Specialisation may be necessary to command higher prices when the design field gets crowded. The ticket to success in pricing may lie in having niche expertise.

Conclusion: Crafting Your Perfect Pricing Strategy

Have we covered a lot of ground or what? We started by learning about different pricing models and talked about psychology and future trends. Pricing strategy for designers is multi-faceted, that’s for sure.

But it is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution here; the best strategy for pricing your services as a designer should work well with who you are, what you value most in life and where you want to go financially. It should also reflect those areas where your abilities meet market needs within this profession – without neglecting any side of that triangle.

Nevertheless, some things are universally applicable regarding pricing: do not hesitate to try new methods; let them adapt based on present circumstances instead of always staying static! Your growth shall bring various changes into the system over time, so don’t quit evolving yourself either because if anything gets cheaper than its actual worth … well, nobody wins. So off you go now, price confidently – just remember… YOU ARE WORTH IT!


How frequently should I evaluate my prices?

It is good to review them at least once a year or more often when you are new in business, or there have been considerable changes within your industry and skill set.

Should I display the prices on my website?

Consider your specific situation. Budget-conscious clients might be attracted by listing your prices, but it could also discourage higher-value projects. Consider your target market and what you want from them before deciding.

What do I say to clients that my prices are too high?

Instead of defending the price, let them know about its value. If they still can't afford you, offer a scaled-down version of your services or refer them elsewhere.

Can I give discounts?

Use sparingly; otherwise, they might devalue your work. Consider giving them to repeat clients, bulk work, or during slow periods.

How do I price my first freelance project?

Learn about market rates, then calculate how much it will cost based on overheads plus any other expenses which may arise unexpectedly – don't forget to add some profit margin, though, so that if things go wrong, you won't end up broke!

Should all customers be charged equally?

No, not necessarily. Project complexity and client budget, among other things, should be considered when determining what each person pays for their service package; however, make sure there’s a clear logic behind differentiating between charges.

What steps should I take, from hourly rates to flat fees?

What if I underbid a job?

Be transparent with the client and try renegotiating before commencing work. If you struggle midway through a project due to low pay, treat it as an error that will guide future pricing decisions.

How much extra should I charge for rush jobs?

The amount varies depending on urgency and how much they interfere with your other activities. However, the minimum rate is 25%, while the maximum is 100%.

Is free work ever acceptable?

Only do so when necessary; for example, if working pro bono or on something that will significantly benefit career growth regarding exposure or recognition, but ensure these align with overall objectives.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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