How much does graphic design cost? Ah, the million dollar question! (See what I did there?)

A good graphic designer won’t cost you a million dollars, but most people are surprised when they start researching how much they need to budget for their design needs. The question “how much does graphic design cost?” might turn into “why does graphic design cost so much?” Or, “why does one designer charge $100 for a logo and one charges $1000?” Or the worst question for any professional designer to hear, “why should I pay more when I can get a $5 logo on Fivver?

Cringing panda gif
Please, no… make it stop!


I could answer the preceding questions by explaining economics, inflation, supply and demand, and bunch of other nerdy financial things accompanied by statistics and charts. But I’m a graphic designer, not a finance professional. And frankly… yawn. Y’all are going to have to look up that research yourself. But I could make some pretty snazzy looking stats and charts, I’ll tell you that.

Here’s one comparing the cost of milk between 1975 and 2019:

Cost of milk comparison infographic
Nice, huh? 

I just whipped that up. 🙂


But back to how much design costs, let’s talk about shoes!!

Trust me. I have a point.

So let’s talk about shoes. Don’t you love shoes? I do. But even if you’re not a shoe lover, you need shoes. You buy shoes, you own shoes, you wear shoes. They could be gorgeous shoes, or they could be ugly shoes. Maybe they’re super comfy, orthopedic shoes. Maybe they’re the same exact style you’ve been wearing for 30 years and you hope the manufacturer never stops making them. You may have 4 pairs of shoes or you may have 400. No matter the specifics, we all use shoes.

Fancy high-heeled designer shoe
You can buy a pair of perfectly functional, gently-used shoes at a thrift store for $5. At the time of publishing this blog, you could buy the fancy little numbers shown here for the price of $1,095 USD.

You might be thinking, “OMG, why would anyone do pay that much for shoes???” Or you might be thinking, “Ooh, I hope they’re still available!” (If you’re that girl, check here.) Maybe you’re thinking, “I wish! But I can only budget $50 for a pair of shoes.” (For the record, I’m this last one.)

A comparison

If you pick up $5 shoes from a thrift store, you’re getting a great bargain. And maybe, they’re the perfect fit and super comfy. But there’s a chance they’re half a size too small and super worn out on the bottom. They might not last long. Or you may have had to go to 40 different thrift stores before you even found your size. And maybe the ones you found previously belonged to a serial killer.

YOU: What? Whoa! That’s so creepy!

I know, right? The truth is, it’s pretty unlikely your shoes belonged to a serial killer, and you’d never actually know this information for sure, but it’s a possibility. Can you imagine walking around in the same shoes as a serial killer? So freaky.

Now let’s look at the other end of the spectrum. If you buy designer shoes, you know exactly what you’re getting. You know the quality and attention to detail will be second to none. And you know you can walk into a room and not see six other people wearing the same shoes. For some people, the symbol of status and luxury is also important. But overall, whenever you wear these shoes, you’ll feel happy and special and know you’ve made the right choice.

If you’re not a shoe lover, think of this metaphor using watches or cars or tattoos. Or organic milk from a local farm as opposed to store-brand milk, or sending your child to public school vs. a private institution. Everything you buy, you can get for cheap, expensive, or in between. But for each purchase, there’s usually more to it than just the cost.

How design cost fits in

Just like a $5 pair of shoes, a $5 logo might work out just fine. But is it a worthy investment for your business? Does it target the right audience? Did the $5 supplier even ask who your audience is? Will you get logo versions that fit into your website header and your avatar circle? If you want to print your logo on a van in the future, will you have it in the right size and format?

And back to the serial killer fear-mongering… your $5 bargain design might be a copy of something from the internet. And a few years down the road, a copyright infringement lawsuit lands on your doorstep, and your $5 designer is nowhere to be found. Not cool.

So how much does graphic design cost?

Graphic design can cost a lot or a little, or anything in between. You’re not just buying an end product – a logo, brochure, or website – you’re buying a service. A service that took years to learn and perfect.

Overall, when looking for a graphic designer, look at the value you’re getting for the cost. Consider more than just the bottom line, but what you’re getting for that number. Consider the education and experience level of your designer. Do they have a portfolio full of high-quality work? Can they provide references from happy clients? Are they taking the time to learn about your business, your industry, and your unique needs? Are they crafting a product that relates to your audience or are they slapping together a design that may or may not work for you?

These days, anyone can learn to use Photoshop in a couple of hours with online tutorials. I know how to use a hammer, but trust me, you don’t want me building you a house. (Side note: if anyone plans to design a logo for you in Photoshop, run! This is a big red flag, suitable for another blog post.)

The right question to ask

Maybe the right question isn’t “how much does graphic design cost?” but “how can I invest in my business?”

If you’re ready to invest in your business with a brand identity, website, or marketing materials that make you look like the true professional you are, contact me to find out how I can help!

And keep rocking those fabulous heels! (Or $5 creepy killer shoes. Whatever makes you happy!)

Schedule a free consult to talk about your design needs!