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7 min read

The no BS guide to freelance design rates in 2020

Determining your rate as a freelancer can get confusing. We’ve laid out the honest truths to help you charge with confidence.

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Let’s be honest: Freelance design rates are confusing.

After all, every project is different. Every freelancer is different. And every client is different. That means rates vary from project to project, and from designer to designer.

However, there are a few good systems to help find yours—and we’ll cover them in this article.

The no BS truth about freelance graphic design rates

There is no hard-and-set formula for finding your freelance design rates. We can spend all day throwing around different suggestions and survey statistics—but the fact is, your rate will be entirely unique to you.

After all, there are many different elements that go into a freelancer’s rates. Here are a few of the most crucial deciding factors:


Where you live plays a big role in how much you decide to charge.

After all, a freelancer in San Francisco will have more of an incentive to charge a higher rate than a freelancer in cities with lower overhead expenses, such as Boise, Idaho.

And it’s not just your location, it’s your client’s location as well. If your client lives in a major city, they might actually expect to pay a premium fee for your services. Whereas, a client in a small, rural community might be more inclined to charge less.

Pro tip: Consider benchmarking your rate to a specific city. For example, many freelance designers charge their rates by the standard for New York City.

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Your level of experience matters—to a degree. The more experienced you are, the more clients will be willing to pay for your work.

At the same time, experience isn’t everything when it comes to freelancing. Beginners who create extraordinary work can still charge a premium fee for their services.

As a rule of thumb, though, you can expect your rates to reflect on your level of experience.

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