How Much is a Design Worth?

?I can find someone to design a logo for me under $70 in the US ? why do I have to pay $200 for it in China?? This is the question one of our clients raised after getting our quote for their logo and web site redesign project. It is true, and in fact someone on the Internet only charges $50 for building up a whole web site. However, if price were the only thing that clients were to bear in mind, why bother to redesign their logo and web site?

A problem faced by all design agencies and freelancers is to determine how much a design should cost, and this is sometimes a very frustrating issue. I think there are two major causes for today?s embarrassing situation.

1. It is easy to become a designer but it is very hard to become a good one. Even a college student who knows something about design tools like Photoshop and Dreamweaver can claim himself to be a designer and begin to offer services to others: a logo for $30 and a web site for $60; he can get the logo designed even before you tell him what your business is all about. Creating a proper design requires skills that are accumulated from experience; also time matters when creating quality work. Sure enough, both skills and time cost money. Work done by professionals is a far cry from that done by amateurs (frankly, this is true in most cases), and there are many tips and details that cannot be easily grasped by inexperienced designers. Let?s take coding XHTML as an example. It may take you less than one week to learn how to create a simple XHTML page with Dreamweaver, but it may take you half a year or much longer to produce standard, valid, cross-browser-compatible and search engine-friendly XHTML/CSS markups. The prices vary greatly simply because too many people can do design work but too few can do it properly.

2. Everyone wants an impressive design, but no one wants to pay a high price for it. Many clients simply tend to compare quotes by quantity without considering whether the prices are reasonable or not; in other words, they only care about how much a designer will charge but don?t care about who the designer is. Talented designers are always precious resources, no matter where they are from, and quality work always requires time and effort.

The first lesson we taught our designers and programmers when they first joined the Web Outsourcing Services Group, was to always bear quality and customer satisfaction in mind. With no compromise on quality, we should give more than the customers? expectations since they need our expertise and professional skills. Although our prices may be higher than local freelancers or some of the agencies, they are definitely reasonable considering the quality of the work, and are a real bargain compared with local companies whose services can reach the same level.

Let me end this article by finishing the story I started at the beginning: Our customer services emailed the client with the points I made above, 2 days later they accepted our quote, 3 days later they approved our draft design, and 2 weeks later they happily and proudly began to print the new logo and URL of their new web site on their business cards.

A design is simply worth how important you think it is!

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