What you're paying for when you hire a designer

Investing in your business can be scary. You're handing your baby over to someone else, and letting someone in to see all the good, bad and ugly. Letting someone else take the reigns for a bit can be difficult when it comes to working with designers, because we alllllllll know how important look is to your brand. 

Investing in your business can be scary. You're handing your baby over to someone else, letting someone in to see all of the good, bad or ugly, and ultimately letting someone take the reigns (at least to a certain extent). This can be especially difficult when it comes to working with designers, because we alllllllll know how important look is to your brand.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about what you need to know about working with a designer. But, I didn't touch much on prices. I did that kind of intentionally, because I wanted it to have it's own post. So, when you're hiring a designer, what exactly are you paying for? 


You're paying for someone who (likely) spent four or more years getting a degree in design. (Not all designers have degrees in design.)

A designer's education, however they receive it, is the foundation behind everything we do. My college career is where I learned about color theory, layout and composition, paying attention to details, getting things printed, juggling projects, on and on.


Professional designers use professional equipment. Just like DSLR cameras take better photos than your iPhone, professional design software has more capabilities than Canva and PicMonkey. Many designers also invest in getting faster computers, drawing tablets, scanners, art supplies, nice cameras, etc. 

Technical details

We designers like to pay attention to the details. Details like exporting RGB or CMYK, using PDF or JPG, bleed lines, crop marks, leading and tracking, orphans and widows ... are you bored yet? The nerd in me is just getting started. We know when it's better to use blue vs. red because of what the colors convey. We know when it's better to use sans-serif vs. serif because the fonts you use also convey a message. 

Once, I was contacted by someone who wanted me to create a poster with a quote on it. I told this person my (reasonable) price, and she laughed at me. 

"That's ridiculous! All I want you to do is put the text on paper and make it look nice."

If you want me to make it look like something you can buy in a store, it's going to cost. Or, If you want me to just type words on a piece of paper... I could do that for much less. 


I've learned over the last few years, that one reason people are so resistant to outsourcing their design is because it's something they can do. But, just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should

Just because I could look up a DIY tutorial on how lay kitchen tile, doesn't mean I should. Even with research, I may not know the best brand to buy for my supplies, or which side of the room to start on because of the weird layout of my kitchen.

Just because you know how to cut your husband's hair, doesn't mean you should. (This one is pretty self-explanatory, so I'm just going to let you giggle over that scenario, and move on.)

One of the best parts about working with a designer, is that most have offers at varying price levels. For instance, designing a complete website is my highest package, but I've also designed just a single page on a site to give them a starting point. I also offer website audits, and consulting.

Is it worth it?

You might be thinking, "That's nice and all... but is it worth it? I know how to use Canva / do some basic Wordpress stuff / I've already being doing it myself for a year, etc."

Is it worth it for me to hire a professional to tile my kitchen floor? Hiring them will save me money, headache, and time. They'll know the right brand of supplies to use, they'll know how to address unexpected problems if/when they arise, and... did I mention how much frustration + time they'll save me? So, yes. It's worth it.

Let's say, for example, you estimate it would take you 40 hours to build your website by yourself. Do you believe that building your website yourself is the best use of those 40 hours? Will you love the end result, and know that it's the best representation of your brand?

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