Many pre-press operators have complained about having to correct graphic designers work. To have a file prepared incorrectly can have drastic financial and emotional consequences to the owner. The time needed to rectify the problem can cause major delays and additional expense. This is due to the graphic designer's understanding that his job is done when he produces the design that you require.
It is therefore necessary for a graphic designer to understand the basic principle of what you see on screen may not be the same when it comes off the press. A designer should know how to correctly build a bleed; check that the panels fold correctly; and that color separation is well understood. The list goes on an on. If these issues are not properly addressed, the customer will most likely pay for additional costs because a print house or service provider will definitely charge extra for fixing the problem.
Graphic design is critical to just about any business, but what will it cost you? As you can probably imagine, the answer depends on many different things.
In many ways, it is difficult to make accurate charts showing the cost of graphic design services. Graphic design costs are tied into talent and reputation as are so many other areas that require artistic skill. It might help to think of the difference in cost between a painting of a bowl of fruit your grandmother is selling at a local art fair and a Van Gogh being sold at a New York auction house.
One thing that is certain is that graphic design is something that will cost money. Graphic designers generally work on specific jobs for specific clients as opposed to artists who might be commissioned to do a work or might just do it in hopes of a future sale. So, since the graphic designer is always going to be directing his talent and skill toward a specific project and for a specific client, a specific price must be established for the services rendered.
Graphic design rates for business related types of projects are usually the most clear cut as far as price scale goes. A logo might cost around $500 and a complete brochure around $400. These two examples illustrate an important concept of design. It would appear at first glance that the logo would require less actual work to produce when compared to a complete brochure. Although this is true, the logo also will require more artistic skill whereas the brochure is more of a nuts and bolts design project. The lesson is that you have to pay for imagination and talent.
The graphic designer faces the same situation. The Department of Labor tells us that the average salary for a graphic designer is just under $30,000 for employees with less than one year of experience. This is assuming that the designer has a degree in graphic design. The salary average goes up to almost $50,000 after 20 years. We can also learn with a bit of research that most graphic designers charge hourly rates that run around $80 an hour for their services.
Although these figures give us some idea of graphic design rates, they do not tell a complete story. The bottom line is that every graphic designer is an artist. It does not matter if they are designing logos or brochures or web sites. In the end, much will depend on the skill and talent of the graphic designer and the sky is the limit. This applies to both sides. If you want the very best, you have to be prepared to pay a little more. If you are a designer, you may turn out to be the Van Gogh of graphic design. Although hopefully your true talent won't have to wait until years after your death to be appreciated.