How Much Does it Cost To Hire a Graphic Designer?

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When you want something to look great, you turn to a graphic designer-someone with the talent to transform text and images into a design that makes a statement. Once you know you need a graphic designer, however, how do you budget for your project?

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Design projects start with a creative brief (aka a design brief), a document often written in collaboration with the graphic designer, which captures all the information necessary for them to get a home run with the work they do for you. This document may include:

  • Background information about who you are and what you do, including your industry, products, and services.
  • Your business goals as well as the objectives for this particular project.
  • The scope of the project, which outlines the parameters for the work to be done—including how you plan to use the final product—and any deliverables the project will create.
  • An overview of your competitors, including trends that may impact your campaign.
  • Your target audience(s) for this project.
  • Brand guidelines the designer should be aware of, including tone, color pallette, overall messaging, and style.
  • A list of any copy (i.e. text) and images to be included in the project—including who will provide it and when.
  • The project timeline, including any milestones.
  • The project budget-which will be shaped by the information included in the rest of this document.
[Learn more about how to write a successful creative brief]


Rates charged by graphic designers on Upwork vary from $20 to $150 an hour, with an average rate around $45 per hour. However, designers don’t always bill hourly; it’s also common for a designer to set a fixed price for the work, based on their understanding of your project requirements. Here’s a look at some of the more significant considerations.

Expertise and experience

When it comes to setting individual rates, a seasoned designer can typically work faster while delivering more value to their clients with deeper insights into their work; their pricing often scales up to match. Location and local market conditions can also influence a graphic designer’s rates. Another factor is a designer’s reputation. Someone who’s still building their portfolio may price more competitively than a professional booking one or two months out. Finding the right freelancer means matching your goal with the type of designer and industry experience needed to get the results you want.

Scope of work

Quotes for your project will all reflect one critical point: The scope of work, or how much you actually need a designer to do. Whether you want an illustration to go with your next blog post or packaging for your newest product, the production process may include:

  • Consultation
  • Research into your industry, marketplace, and audience
  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Creating concepts
  • Identifying the right typeface, color palette, and other materials
  • Generating various concepts
  • Review and approval process
  • Producing the final deliverable

A fixed-price project will also typically specify the number of iterations (i.e. rounds of revisions) included in the price.

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If your project has a tight timeline, you may pay a premium (i.e. a rush fee) so be sure to start work as early possible. There are three simple ways to cut down on the time involved in your project:

  • Be specific about what you want in the creative brief, then give the designer freedom to create. Being too vague about what you have in mind can add time through multiple revisions.
  • Prepare any related materials ahead of time. If you want to include copy, have it written and edited to a length that’s appropriate for the product you want—and make sure it’s finalized before work begins, or the time involved can balloon as the design shifts to accommodate changing copy. If you’re including photos or other images, check to ensure they have a high enough resolution.
  • Keep the review and approval process as simple as possible. Having more people involved typically means a longer timeline if not also additional round of revisions, and a designer may factor that into their pricing.

Here are some general time estimates for popular projects, including variables that may have an impact on how long it will take—and ultimately, how much you pay for the work.

Flyer One hour to 10+ hours
  • How detailed is the creative brief?
  • Is there a template to follow?
  • Are copy and images provided from the start, finalized, and sized appropriately?
  • What’s the review process, and how many people are involved?
Logo Five hours to 20+ hours, possibly over several weeks
  • How detailed is the creative brief?
  • How thoughtful do you want the process to be? (E.g., to represent your brand long-term versus an image to test a concept.)
  • What elements are involved: Illustration? Typography?
  • Do you have existing brand guidelines and/or a color pallette?
  • What other materials need to be considered (i.e. branding materials such as letterhead or business cards)?
  • What’s the review process, and how many people are involved?
Infographic Four hours to 20+ hours
  • How detailed is the creative brief?
  • Who’s writing the script and doing the research?
  • Is it a vector image or hand illustration?
  • What’s the review process, and how many people are involved?


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Courtney Buchanan

by @BuchananCourt

Courtney Buchanan is the content marketing manager at Upwork. By guiding the editorial strategy, she highlights important trends impacting the future of work and the… more