Why is Graphic Design Expensive?

Good design is an invaluable asset for your business. But do you know what you’re actually paying for when you hire a graphic designer?

Graphic Design
Graphic Design

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The cost of graphic design varies from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. This is very frustrating for small business owners who don’t understand what they’re paying for. So, let’s solve the confusion once and for all: why is graphic design expensive?  

Five reasons behind expensive graphic design

Many designers charge several thousands of dollars for premium packages. If you’ve never worked with a designer before, this may come as a surprise. 

To understand the rate of a professional designer, there are a few things to consider. For example, what do graphic designers do, and what resources do they need? 

Let’s look at the key factors why hiring a graphic designer will cost you a fair amount. 

1. Design costs time


If you think of graphic design as slapping a logo and an image together, think again. Before even opening a design program like Photoshop, a lot of hours have been put into the process already. 

Designing something isn’t a linear process that can be repeated for each project. It’s constantly exploring new ideas, making adjustments, and editing. 

For each concept your designer sent you, there were multiple concepts that never made the first cut.  

Good design takes time. Therefore, you should look at it this way: expensive graphic design ensures that a lot of thought and research went into the process. 

2. Design adds value


Design can have a massive impact on your business. It can establish you as a brand, boost sales and create a loyal following. 

Here are just a few ways design can help you build a successful business:

  • A memorable brand image: Think about famous brands like Coca Cola or Apple. From their iconic logo design to ads and products - there’s no mistaking them for anyone else. This is what great brand identity design is all about.
  • Positive UX: Every business nowaday has a website, and many use them to sell their products or services. Professional design makes websites functional, and has a direct impact on conversion rates.
  • Effective marketing: Getting people’s attention online is very difficult without eye-catching design. A professional designer can create powerful visual communication to covey your marketing messages in seconds.
  • Builds brand loyalty: From social media to packaging, design is what helps people recognize your brand. 

When you pay for design work, it’s not just a sum of hours you’re paying for. You’re also paying for the results.

3. Designers are experienced


A recently graduated designer without work experience will charge a very different hourly rate than a designer that has been in the field for ten years. The amount of skill and knowledge an experienced designer brings to the table comes at a cost.

Additionally, graphic design is an ever-evolving field. As a designer, you have to keep up with recent developments. For example, more experienced designers usually know how to use several design programs, and modern technologies like AI design. On top of that, they always need to be in tune with the latest graphic design trends.

4. Graphic designers have expenses too


Freelance graphic designers are essentially running their own businesses. And, operating your own business comes at a cost. A chunk of the fee will go into taxes, and another part will go into the resources needed to get the job done. Think about things such as tools, subscriptions, and design software. Then there’s e-mail and website hosting, marketing, and physical items such as a printer or stationery items. 

Some of these graphic design expenses are applicable even to different types of service providers, such as big design agencies. However, when one person handles all the expenses it makes sense that graphic design pricing needs to be adapted accordingly.

5. Designers have a vast skill set

So, what do graphic designers do exactly? The answer is, a lot more than you think.

Even the simplest design project requires a range of skills, such as market research, drawing, photography, etc. And many design projects require even more advanced skills, such as coding, animation, marketing and social media, etc.

So, before you hire a graphic designer, you should be clear on the project scope - what specifically you need the designer to do.

What is the average pay for graphic designers?

Now that you know the reasons behind expensive graphic design, let’s talk about graphic design pricing. Because surely, at this point, you’re curious. What is the average pay for graphic designers? 

Rates of graphics designers can vary from $15 to $150 per hour. The complexity of the design projects, location of the designer and experience are all factors that impact freelance designers’ hourly rates. However,  the general average is about $35 per hour.

Traditional graphic design agencies usually charge several thousands of dollars for a single design project. Of course, this usually includes a number of other services, such as market research and positioning, development, running ad campaigns, etc. 

Hiring someone full-time in-house comes at a different cost than hiring a freelancer based in a developing country. 

According to Indeed, the national average salary in the U.S. for a graphic designer is $47,666 per year.

How to cut down on graphic design expenses?

Yes, graphic design can cost a lot of money. On the other hand, you know that design is essential for the success of your business. And we hope this has shed at least some light on the answer to the questions “why is graphic design expensive”.

So, what can you do? Luckily there’s more than one way to cut down on design costs. Here are just a few good ideas.


If you are interested in learning some graphic design, there is always the option to do it yourself. Nowadays, many affordable resources are available to anyone willing to give design a go. From stock images to royalty-free icons, there is plenty to get creative with. 

This option is only recommended if you feel comfortable designing. Otherwise, the amount of time and effort put in won’t be worth it, and you’re better off hiring someone else. 


Some designers sell pre-made templates that you can use for your business. They often come with the possibility of slightly altering colors and are based on the industry you operate in. 

In addition to pre-made branding templates, you can use web design templates on website creation platforms like WordPress. This is called a theme and dictates the overall look, feel, and style of your website. 

While templates are great for some quick and simple projects, they’re rarely an effective long term solution. Adapting templates can take as much time as designing from scratch. Plus, a template can never match custom design. When something is created with your brand messaging and intended purpose in mind, it’s much more likely to impress potential clients and boost conversion rates.

Unlimited design services

Last, but not least - subscription-based graphic design services are the fastest and most affordable way to get professional design done.

How does it work?

You pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited requests and revisions. One service usually covers all the designs you could possibly need, eliminating the need for any other graphic design expenses.

Best of all? The price of one monthly subscription is usually a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay a freelance graphic designer for the same amount of work. 

MayPixels unlimited design services start at just $549 a month! Our vast scope of services includes logos and branding, websites, illustrations, ads and social media, motion graphics, and much more!

Pick your pricing plan and start today! Or book a free consultation to find out more. 

Good design is an invaluable asset for your business. But do you know what you’re actually paying for when you hire a graphic designer?

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