Finding a freelance graphic designer can be tough. There are so many designers out there and they all seem to offer various levels of quality, service and value. So sometimes just choosing the designer with the cheapest hourly rate seems like an easy way to make a decision and save some money. But sometimes using a cheap designer can actually cost you more money in the long run. Here’s why.

Graphic designers may be offering their services cheaply for a number of different reasons. They might be a fantastic graphic designer who just doesn’t know their worth, or they me be…

– Inexperienced or untrained,
– Desperate for work,
– Trying to undercut their competition or trying to compete on price,
– Just freelancing on the side for fun,
– Living in a country with a low cost of living,
– Cutting costs by not being insured, using pirated or insufficient software, or not paying tax,
– Cutting costs by cutting corners (eg. using templates, copying/stealing other designer’s work),
– Charging a low hourly rate but adding in additional costs such as charging inflated prices for stock photos, font licences or printing,
– Charging a low hourly rate but taking a long time to do the work.

Now lets look at the some of the reasons why cheap graphic designers may end up costing you more money…

Inexperienced or off-shore designers may not know or understand your target market
If someone is on the other side of the world, how can they be expected to know or understand your target market? So how can they possibly design something that is going to engage your target market and make them want to be your customer? If you’re investing time and money in something that isn’t as effective as it could be, you are going to lose sales, and therefore lose money.

Inexperienced designers may not know enough about design theory to be able to create a design that converts
If someone hasn’t studied design theory, how can they be an effect designer? I have seen so many examples of cheap graphic design where there are no clear call-to-actions. Without clear call-to-actions, you are throwing your money away. A call-to-action is something that makes people act. So for example, if you want to hand out fliers so that people will call you, calling you is the call-to-action. If the flier doesn’t effectively make people want to call you, you’re going to miss out on phone calls! There is a lot more to graphic design than just making something look pretty – the strategy behind the design is even more important!

Cheap designers may not end up being as cheap as you though
A designer may seem cheap because they have a low hourly rate, but how long is it actually going to take them to do the work? A $150 an hour designer may charge you for 1 hour, while a $15 an hour designer may charge you for 10 hours for the exact same project! Always ask for a fixed-price quote so you don’t get any nasty surprises!

Local and/or experienced designers can potentially save you money on printing and distribution
If you hire an inexperienced and/or off-shore designer, chances are you’ll be on your own when it comes time to printing or distributing your job. A knowledgeable designer can either manage or offer recommendations on printing and distribution. They usually have accounts with trade (wholesale) printers and can offer recommendations on sizing on stock selections so that you’ll save money on printing while ensuring that they look great. An experienced designer will also ensure that they print files are setup correctly, so you’ll be far less likely to have printing errors and you may save money on print set-up fees. Often inexperienced designers don’t know how to correctly set-up files for professional printing, which results in the printer either rejecting the file, charging to fix the file, or printing it anyway and have it end up printing fuzzy/pixelated, with missing elements, incorrect colours, or just not looking right! Often the printer gets blamed for this, when really it was the designers fault! Some jobs can cost tens of thousands of dollars to print, so paying a few hundred extra to design to ensure that print files are created correctly, along with all the other benefits, is small price to pay.

Inexperienced designers can cost you your time
If you’re working with a less experienced designer you may have to go through several rounds of revisions until your are happy. This is going to cost you your time. Time that could potentially be better spend doing an income generating activity or promoting your business. Would your rather a cheap flier design that takes 6 weeks and 10 rounds of revision to complete, or would you rather pay a little money to have the flier completed in 1 hour, 1 revision, and printed & delivered to your door in less than a week?

Flik Graphic Design