new office

Question for all of you graphic designers out there… I has started a new architectural office and like most small start-ups, I have no money. I feel I need an experienced graphic designer for all of the branding involved. I feel I “could” do the design but I would rather seek the advise and experience of a true branding professional. Any suggestions? What should total design services cost, cards, logo, letterhead,… everything except the web site.

excuse me, but are you and architect or what?

Didn’t you see the replies to the last post you had on the old board? How much you spend on everything you need depends on how much direction and work you give to your “branding professional”. Cost are going to vary depending on what they come up with. Obviously, the more simple the less the cost. How big is your company? If you’re a small business then you may be able to get a designer to cut you a deal.

I usually will charge about $1000 (design time) for a logo design based on a set amount of concepts and revisions… but I work full time and will do that stuff on the side… mostly by referral. Keep the logo to two PMS colors to save on printing costs in the future. Too many colors can get too busy and costly in print. No image files should ever be used in a logo lock-up. Make sure your logo works first as a one color logo. The majority of time your logo will be printed will be in one color… BLACK. Once the logo works in one color then it’s safe to work out color variations. It is OK to consider color early in the process but it must work as black or grayscale.

Costs will vary depending on whether your designer works hourly or on a flat rate. If it’s hourly then the revisions can rack up cost.

I would charge about $1000 (design time) also for a business card, envelope and letterhead system, again based on a set amount of concepts and revisions. Additional costs on this would vary greatly depending on how many pieces are involved, colors, paper selections, printed sides, quantities, embossing, spot varnishes, folds, die cuts, etc.

Once again, Costs will vary depending on whether your designer works hourly or on a flat rate. If it’s hourly then the revisions can rack up cost. Most my freelance logo and business system work has been done through friends or associates. I work full time so this is just side work for me. My costs are also low because these are usually for small businesses or stores.

When you’re going over the concepts with the designer you choose make sure (as in all design areas) you consider production costs. Factor that in from the start. It would be a good idea to contact a few printers to get a idea of the offset print process, what it entails and how much certain things cost like set up, plate film (the more the color plates used in a job the higher the cost), folds, diecuts, etc.

It may save you money to handle the final printing on your own. Make it clear to your designer (or firm) that at the end of the design process you want production ready files. Set up the printer yourself. It is pretty acceptable for graphic designers to mark up the printing cost if they see the job through production. Freelances don’t always, but firms do.

If you feel you “could” do the design then you would definately save money if you provided the initial concepts to a designer or production artist and they fine tuned everything.

Do you have anything to offer in trade? Find a designer that may need an architect. Trade your services.

Hope this makes sense…

Thank you YES for the help… I will have to think about it for a while. I feel the design is not the issue as I have been devleoping this as I go, but the understanding of printing is something I know little about. I posted my last discussion but left for the week and when I came back everything was gone… well that is how it goes.

You may also want to consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce. You can not only get fairly good local leads for your new business but also make good contact with small design firms and print houses. They will sometimes give discounts or benefits to other Chamber members.

You might want to speak to Amanda at Truly Ace ( They’re UK based but do work for a few stateside clients. I know a few of their clients who are all more than happy with their work.