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You Need to See the Latest Data on Freelance Graphic Design Rates

When I first hired someone to help with my business, I fell right into the trap many entrepreneurs fall into. Virtual assistant for $2 per hour, woot?! That’s insane. I’ll take 10 of them! But the person I had chosen (who happened to be based in Southeast Asia) turned out to work very slowly. So slowly, in fact, that it would make more sense to hire someone from the US!

I eventually realised that there is no free lunch, or free workers, not to mention the ethical concerns of insanely low rates on top of quality issues and absurd turnaround time. Long story short, I started hiring closer to home and for better pay.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for some ballpark figures on how much you should expect to pay a designer. We will talk about average rates, as well as discuss a different pricing model that makes particular sense for design.

Types of Designers

But first, we must go over different types of “design dealers”. These are different ways you can get design done, with various levels of quality.


First, there are agencies. They work on large budgets ($10,000+) and normally provide all kinds of design, as well as development and website planning, copywriting, and more. In short, they are your one-stop shop for marketing and brand development.

I hate agencies, primarily because I’ve worked at one. I have a hard time believing that a company that mass-manufactures websites can always have your best interests in mind. But agencies are probably out of most readers’ budgets anyway, so we’ll jump right to the next category.


This article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning websites like 99designs. For a tiny rate of $299, you can get a bunch of logo designs to pick from. Great, right?

$299 is actually a lot for a logo. Ok, now put down your pitchforks and let me explain why.

It’s quite easy to design a logo, at least at the level of craft provided by crowdsourcing websites. Here’s a tip: you can get an equally good design over at LogoDust or BrandCrowd for a third of the price. The authors of those logos put the same amount of thought into your brand as crowdsourcing websites — and that is zero.

Full-time Designers

Unless there’s a designer on your founding team, you’re probably going to spend a lot of money on hiring one full-time.

Research done by Adrem shows that average salary for designers in the UK range from 22K to 40K pounds, depending on experience. And this is just for graphic designers. For UX designers, the average spans from 45K to 60K pounds per year.

This translates into roughly 380 pounds per day for independent contractors.

Freelance Designers

Which brings us to the last and probably most suitable type of designer for startups. As a fledgling company, you will probably need a few different varieties of design work. You may want a UX professional to give you some advice on your app. You’ll need a graphic designer to create your logo. The list goes on. Freelance designers are perfect for this.

Freelance designers may bill hourly rates, daily / weekly rates, or a fixed price for a project. Let’s take a look at what these rates may be.


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