Freelance graphic designers are valuable (or they should be!) because they are is often create the most immediate visual representation your company online and design the first look and feel that new customers will engage with online.
This means that companies need to hire freelance graphic designers who can do multiple jobs – and do them well.
Freelance graphic designers will help raise brand awareness, deliver compelling and cohesive design to their client’s brands, and help to make sales — all while keeping their client’s brand organised and vibrant in a fast-moving environment.
So how much should freelance graphic designers be charging? What should their freelance rates be?
Day rates for freelance graphic designers
- Junior Graphic Designer (0-3 years experience): $13 – $45 per hour (£10 – £35) / $90 – $320 per day (£70 – £250)
- Midweight Graphic Designer (3-5 years experience): $45 – $90 per hour (£35 – £70) / $320 – $650 per day (£250 – £500)
- Senior Graphic Designer (5-10+ years experience):$90 -$130 per hour (£70 – £100) / $650 – $950 per day (£500 – £750)
- Top Tier Graphic Designer: $950 / £750+ per day
Less experienced graphic design freelancers can charge around $13 – $45 per hour (£10 – £35) or $90 – $320 per day (£70 – £250).
For more experienced graphic designers, they can make $45 – $90 per hour (£35 – £70) or$320 – $650 per day (£250 – £500).
Senior, well experienced graphic freelancers can make$45 – $90 per hour (£35 – £70) or $650 – $950 per day (£500 – £750) – and even more with the right skills and experience.
And if you’re one of the best graphic designers in the world? You can be charging over $950 / £750 per day.
Of course, a lot of the above depends on where you live, what particular kind of graphic design skills or needed, how much competition you face and what kind of brands you’re working with.
So don’t just take these rates at face value! Adjust them according to your individual circumstances.
What do other freelance graphic designers charge?
If you’re still trying to work out your day rate as a graphic design freelancer, it can be helpful to see what other freelance graphic designers are charging.
For example, one freelancer explains how they work out what to charge:
Out of school I was told to charge $50/hour. sometimes i charge less than that, it really depends on the project, and who it’s for. i’ve designed stuff for pizza before (for buds). Depends on the project whether I personally charge hourly or per project, sometimes with hourly it’s tricky because (some) clients don’t know necessarily how long things take, so a total cost is a bit more digestible for them.”
One other graphic design freelancer in the same forum discussion explains how they differentiate themselves in order to charge a higher rate:
There are thousands of freelancers offering photoshop, graphic design, writing, etc. Many of them charge so little that you cannot effectively compete using price as a differentiator.
The key to being successful at freelancing is to be skilled at customer service and marketing. Don’t wait for someone to hire you to do what you enjoy. Instead, create content (whether text, images, or both) that you would like to be paid to create for others. Then, put that content in a portfolio.
Let prospective customers see what you can do and judge for themselves whether it is good enough.
And what about what skills you need as a graphic designer? This freelancer explains:
Having photoshop and illustrator aren’t, or at least shouldn’t be, what it takes to be a graphic designer. Are you actually skilled in graphic design? Otherwise it can take quiet a while to be good enough to be selling your skills to a business with guarantee that they will achieve good design results.
Also don’t focus on what others are doing, except when there is something to learn from them. Otherwise looking at everyone that is better than you can just bring you down. If you can use your skills to sell a service at all then does it matter if other people are doing it to, maybe better than you are? Work to figure out the differences between you and someone else who is selling similar services. What do you bring to the table that some other person may not? Use that to your advantage and let it influence how you sell your service.
Should you charge for freelance graphic design by the hour?
Ideally, you shouldn’t charge for freelance graphic design by the hour.
Every project you take on should be value-based, where the clients pays in terms of value generated and ROI of the activity you do, not the time spent designing.
Graphic design freelancers provide a lot of added benefits for not being another full-time member of staff for their clients, which means you should be able to increase your rate to a decent day rate:
- Fast worker and implementation time as you are a graphic design expert
- Industry knowledge of what works and what doesn’t as you keep up to date on graphic design trends and best practice
- Image gathering and creation for graphic design content
Your job is to show clients that keeping costs low, rather than producing brilliant results, is not the right approach.
They should be glad to pay your requested day rate as a freelance graphic designer!
How can you increase your day rates as a graphic designer?
In order to sell your services as a graphic design freelancer, you need to ask your clients what their objectives are for their business and the marketing activity they run.
You should also ask what their current challenges are with graphic design and their business in general, and what their strategy is to meet their goals and overcome those struggles.
By setting a strategy, not just doing graphic design activity, you’ll be proving the value you bring to your client’s business.
What day rate do you charge as a freelance graphic designer?
We’d love to hear your experiences of being a freelance graphic designer and what day rate you charge. Please leave your comments below or join the discussion in our community:
Community Discussion: How much should graphic designers charge in 2019?