HOW Do Designers Arrive at Pricing? MSLK and Spark at The HOW MYOB Conference

People love meeting graphic designers. Whenever I meet someone at a party or a prospective client at a meeting — nine times out of ten, it’s a game of twenty questions. Never  the same twenty, which is what keeps the game interesting. There is one question that is consistently asked by everyone: the Money Question. Everyone wants to know how much “it” (whatever “it” may be…) will cost.

There’s never a simple answer to this question because there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to what graphic designers do.

This is why I will be conducting one of two pricing workshops next month at How Magazine’s Mind Your Own Business Conference at the Sheraton Hotel here in NYC as a Spark event.

The matter of pricing comes down to a number of factors that all designers must weigh including — but not limited to:

  • Scope of work?
  • Time frame for delivery
  • Number of components for this task?
  • Media to be used (print, web, etc)?
  • Length of usage for final product (terms, rights of ownership)- Size of client’s team, number of decision makers?
  • What is the designer’s experience and expertise as it relates to the task at hand?
  • What is the client’s experience in working with creative teams?
  • Has the project been done before or will we be creating something from scratch?
  • Will photography, illustration, copyrighting be necessary? Will it be provided or need to be sourced?
  • Does the budget allow for the designer to be in control of the production?
  • Is this part of a larger campaign?
  • How many members of my team will need to work on this project?
  • How many hours do I think it will take us?
  • Is there good chemistry between the company and the client?
  • Will my firm be able to promote our work once it is completed?

Because every job is unique and every solution a designer creates is custom, the answers t0 all of these questions ultimately affect the end price. We have to take all these factors into consideration in order to arrive at a price that’s fair for all parties. As a result, clients often encounter a wide variety of pricing without the ability to make apples-to-apples comparisons between firms.

Pricing: The Topic That Dare Not Speak Its Name
MSLK is a big fan of honest and open discussions about money which is why we talk about budgets early, and often! We want our industry to also facilitate these discussions and help remove some of the mystery from pricing and wide ranges of pricing.

That is why we are hosting this workshop, so designers can discuss their strategies together and confirm that they are generally upholding the same  ranges for similar work.

Our Workshop’s Goal
Comparing Proposal Strategies and Pricing” is the name of the two round-tables — one for Branding and Print, one for Website Design and Social Media Campaigns. The workshops are a chance for designers from all around the country to respond to the same sample project. Sheri will be hosting one workshop on Website Design and Social Media Campaigns along with Larissa Nycz from Tribecca Designs, and Carrie Hamilton from Kismet Design and I will conduct our workshop on Branding and Print.

All participants will have a chance to compare how we would price these projects and  recommend a schedule of how the project will run.

More Information
Where: HOW Mind Your Own Business Conference  Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, New York City
Time: 8:00-8:50 am each day
Cost: $1,195 full conference registration, – $100 discount code available for Spark members
Register Here:

On October 13th we will cover Branding and Print
On October 14th we will cover Website Design and Social Media Campaigns

The MYOB Conference
The entire MYOB conference is 3 days (October 12-14) of close-up, nuts & bolts problem-solving combined with big-picture, long-term planning. You’ll look at your work, your clients and your marketing from a whole new perspective. Find solutions to some of your toughest business problems.

Organized by HOW magazine, in partnership with noted consultant David C. Baker of ReCourses, Inc., this conference is tailored specifically to address the challenges faced by creative-firm principals and owners. You’ll explore hard-hitting topics on managing for profit, leadership, and positioning your firm for smart growth. Plus you’ll have numerous opportunities to network with other creative firm principals in a non-competitive environment.

Visit for the complete rundown on conference sessions, speakers, and special networking opportunities. We’ve found this is a design business conference that really gets down to business!