Hourly vs. Project Billing

In an industry that spans a broad range of offerings and skill levels, comparing pricing for graphic design services can be like comparing apples to oranges. To ensure the best design value for your dollar, a number of variables must be considered. 


According to The 2012–2013 Survey of Salaries and Billing Practices for the Communication Design Industry produced by RGD and Creative Niche which surveyed 2,890 creative professionals across Canada, the average hourly rate for a sole proprietor* across the country is $74/hour.

A sole proprietor’s hourly rate will vary depending on what services are required. While a service like photo re-touching will be on the lower end, web and mobile development, brand strategy and art direction will be associated with higher costs. A designer’s hourly rate is generally reflective of what they are worth based on experience and expertise. 

By Project

Project fees are focused more on the value of the work itself than the number of hours a designer spends on the project. As a creative process, it can be difficult to predict exactly how long a design project will take, and the number of hours often varies depending on the skill level and working style of the individual designer.


Whether a designer charges by project or by hour, how much the entire project costs will be based on an assessment of the work’s value and the amount of effort required to provide a successful end product. A designer must understand the full scope of the project and the client’s needs before quoting a price.

* A Sole Proprietor is an individual operating a government registered business. Rates will differ significantly for firms or agencies, which have a much more varied and extensive supply of resources and expertise.

Pricing Factors

There are many factors a designer needs to understand before he or she can provide an accurate quote. To establish a price, designers need to understand:

• The scope of the proposed project:

  • Deliverables
  • Number of concepts and revisions
  • Volume of work / future business

• Anticipated expenses

• The urgency of the project

• Estimated number of hours required to complete the project

Be aware that the rate quoted at the beginning of the project will change if the scope of the project changes. If additional features are added or if you decide to take an idea in a new direction not covered by the initial plan, the designer’s costs will reflect these changes.

Intellectual Property

Also keep in mind that designers maintain ownership of the computer files for a project they have worked on. As a client, you are paying for the deliverables stated in the original estimate. All concepts, working files, ideas or adaptations remain the property of the designer unless otherwise negotiated.

This also applies to materials such as fonts, software, photos and illustrations, templates, style sheets, etc. You may wish to negotiate with your designer to purchase these files for a price based on the time it would take to convert the files, the cost of the media and the value of the project.

Further Resources

To better understand the position of graphic design professionals and ensure that business relationships remain ethical and in the best interest of both clients and designers, it is important to fully understand the nature of the work.

For more information on Pro Bono and Spec Work, visit rgd.ca.

Instagram Video: More Potential for Video Marketing

The rise in video marketing has been authenticated: Instagram rolled out a new video feature on June 20 to accolades, and businesses are taking notice. As consumer behavior changes, brands are adapting their digital strategies to account for the huge growth in video watching on the part of consumers.Instagram

Instagram’s new feature

Instagram’s wildly successful picture-taking app introduced a video-taking and sharing feature to rival the industry leader, Vine. In its first day, Instagram reported 5 million video uploads, a staggering number even in light of their existing customer base of over 100 million users.

In light of Instagram’s success with video, the big question for marketers is not whether Instagram will outpace Vine, but rather,  the “right” question is, does your client’s budget allow for video marketing?

Consumer habits

Marketers need to consider the impact that Instagram’s move towards video has for businesses, and in particular, video marketing. Marketers and their clients who dismiss the importance of  recreational apps may  discredit the need for video—and even Instagram—thinking that homegrown video won’t have an effect on revenue—or even content strategy for that matter.

Savvy professionals, however, see  that the rise in video—even heavily shared videos of cute cats and rising-star wannabes—has an effect on a business’ interaction with consumers, as well as consumer behavior.

Instagram and video

Take a look at the Instagram video features. Instagram:

  • Allows users to take videos that are 15 seconds in length.
  • Offers editing tools.
  • Includes a stabilization tool that allows users to create professional-looking videos.

Some businesses have already adopted the tool, including brands like GE, eBay, the Gap, Jeep and Burberry, along with numerous celebrities—evidence that Instagram video is  a useful component of a social media strategy. It also offers proof of consumers’ ever-growing interest in online video.

What it all means for business and strategy

Should businesses adopt a video strategy, whether that means employing Instagram or professional video-marketing tools? Experts generally believe that video on Instagram has the potential to affect the future of business video marketing. Here’s how:

  • Engagement – With its 130 million users, Instagram offers businesses access to a considerable user base. By comparison, businesses that use Vine access a community of 13 million users. In general, marketers should note the success of video-sharing apps, and consider how that affects consumer engagement with brands.
  • Viral capacity – A review of already successful videos shows why videos are ripe for sharing and going viral. For example, Hubspot declared Corning’s “A Day Made of Glass” the best B2B viral video, scoring over 22 million views.  In essence, the video tells a meaningful story, while instructing viewers about the product’s benefits.
  • Consumer behavior – Instagram’s evolution from pictures to video reveals how consumer demand is influencing the market. More people are viewing videos on mobile devices and computers, and watchful marketers will incorporate business video into their social media and marketing mix, giving video the attention it deserves.
  • Traffic – Video on Instagram can direct consumers to longer videos on a website, free reports, or a landing page, attracting more visitors and potential customers.

The new standard

The buzz around Instagram’s video feature has the potential to take the industry by storm. Global digital and social media director Rachel Tipograph of Gap is excited about the engagement factor that video on Instagram presents, since Instagram videos will also post on Facebook, its parent company, with the potential to reach Facebook’s 1 billion + users. Evidence of higher social sharing is already cropping up, with Simply Measured reporting that Instagram videos show double the number of shares as Instagram photos, and “significantly higher” engagement compared to Vine videos.

Putting it together

Marketers should study how bite-sized videos shared on platforms like Instagram can integrate into broader video strategies, and become a part of a comprehensive content marketing plan. Certainly, businesses that utilize Instagram may run the risk of getting lost in the “noise” of the thousands of shared videos; however, opting not to harness video, which can increase brand awareness and consumer engagement, puts businesses at risk of becoming obsolete—or at the least, not being heard.

Why Online Businesses Need Content Marketing

Imagine this scenario – you wander through a bookstore and find a novel with a very appealing cover and title. It looks like it’s going to be a great read. However, inside all the pages are blank. There is no story. This is not a lesson in “judging a book by its cover” but instead a reminder that without strong content, your online business will falter. In other words, you could have a great service or product but unless you engage and expand your customer base through strong content your business with wither on the vine. The following is a list of important reasons why online businesses need strong content marketing.

Customers Want the 411

You might have occasionally gotten lost in a “YouTube maze” clicking through random videos but when a potential customer goes in search of the specific product or service they are looking for valuable information. That information can be provided through well written content articles with catchy headlines. Be concise and give them the “bullet points” of what they are searching for. By providing valuable information to consumers, you can become considered an industry expert with the content you create and people will start seeking out your website for updates and tips.

Customers Want Quality

First impressions matter, whether you’re at a dinner party or developing an online business. If a customer stops by your website and is greeted with a poorly written article, then chances are they won’t be coming back. Don’t fall into the trap of sacrificing quality over quantity. There is no reason why you can’t have both; it just might take a bit more effort to find.

Customers Like to be Targeted

Everything and anything can be Googled. No matter what the search, chances are there will be several websites that pop up in response to a user’s question. The goal for your website is to take advantage of these niche searches by providing targeted content. If you have a product for women, determine if it’s suitable for “busy moms,” “hard working professionals,” or “singles searching for love?” Maybe it’s for all three categories. That just means you’ll need specific content geared to all those groups.

Customers Like to Matter

Content should not only serve to provide information but also to engage the reader. Whenever possible you should leave room for comments. This is how you get online discussions going and pull in even more customers. Everyone likes to share their opinions online. Even if you receive negative comments, take the time to consider the comment and the way in which you can “fix” the problem. Perhaps the customer had a poor experience with your services – take the time to respond, apologize and offer a solution. Your customers will appreciate the open communication. Providing a personal touch gives customers a sense of security which will bring them back to purchase again.

Customers are always Searching

As mentioned above, potential customers are always on the prowl for those goods or services they need in that moment. Just as you need to create engaging content for them to read, you also have to create content that the search engines will pick up on. This will improve your search engine rankings which will place your website at the top page of any search. If you’re not familiar with how to achieve these goals then seek out experienced content management consultants to help build up your online presence.

Tips provided by Corporation Centre’s You Inc.

What is User Experience?

What do IBM, Amazon and McAfee have in common? They’re all brands that have improved profitability and minimized support costs by investing in their website UX.

UX stands for “user experience” and it’s a vital term to know if you want your own site to be successful.

For more on this concept and how it can be applied to your business website, take a look at the following infographic.

UX 101: What is User Experience?UX 101: What is User Experience? via homestead