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What’s a great design? How much should it cost?

What’s a great design? How much should it cost?

Chris Pearson, uber-blog designer, asks How much should a blog design cost?:

Every week, I get emails from potential clients who all want to know one thing: How much for a design?

Nine times out of ten, my answer causes them to run for the hills…

Good design not only stands out clearly, it is not cheap.

In the last month, we’ve been discussing with various designers the costs associated with redesigning this very blog – The Blog Herald. Prices ranged from $1000 – $4000 or more depending on some various options.

Getting an outstanding design on your professional blog is not only critically important – it is not cheap to do. Not with a good designer anyways.

I’ve stated before that doing my own blog design is simply not an option. I may know what I want in my head to some extent, but I certainly can’t translate those mental images into any sort of reality – no matter which platform we’re talking about. But great designers can. In the end, you get what you pay for.

I’ve worked on my own for more than thirteen years now as a consultant. While my expertise is more in the area of coding, development, and systems administration, the parallels are similar. Our firm has put together very complex student loan systems with significant backend automation – all wrapped up very prettily with PHP and MySQL leading the way for us. But we don’t come cheap.

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Many clients, even in the heyday of the net in 1999 – 2000, would balk at our $100+/hr rate for coding work. We’d get lowballed down to prices like $40 – $50 for the entire job, not even by the hour. Obviously, we didn’t take those jobs.

Great designs come only from great designers – and they are worth every penny. And if you’re a professional blogger, then you should seriously consider getting a great design. After all, isn’t the packaging just as important as your content?

Disclosure: Chris Pearson is a former business partner of ours and is currently completing the redesign of Blog Herald.

View Comments (10)
  • Good for you discussing this publicly. I couldn’t agree more, blog design is a serious matter. I would also recommend that people make sure to look for more than just a nice look – there is a wide array of functionality that different blog designers include in their work and some appear mostly skilled in photoshop. I know that’s not my specialty!

  • This is an interesting discussion – I’ve been toying around with re-designing my personal blog. The obvious thing I worry about most on this is the cost. While I can figure out several parts of what I want, I fall flat on graphic design, color coordination, and most importantly what has been pointed out by Marshall above – additional functionality that I currently don’t have, but may be interested in.

    Lots more to think about as I ponder updates to my blog. Thank-you for the new perspectives!

  • There has to be a place in the marketplace for people who don’t want to spend thousands of dollars for a good design.

    Do most designers go flat rate or hourly? That’s part of the problem when you try to engage a designer … no set price or there are gotchas involved.

  • Unfortunately, people will realize soon enough that designers are NOT gods, and while the masses punch out their own FREE blog designs for the traffic considerations will be the option for the increasing amount of bloggers that are finally “getting it” .. that the people who say “content is king” and that “code is poetry” .. are mostly designers looking for clients.

    Of course, I certainly can use fresh new designs for all my blogs, but am too poor to hire anybody so – I’m biased too.

  • There is a such a place – pre-designed blog themes – whether they are free or cheap ($24.99, etc).

    As an example, well it’s not a blog, but still. The design over at Blog Network List is from with a little editing and new graphics done by me.

    That, I can do.. but much more than that just isn’t my forte..


  • His price seemed reasonable. I’ve done several redesigns for my blogs as well as for others, and just getting them to look the same in IE and FireFox can be a challenge. Yes, the technical issues can be huge.

  • Very good post, it’s great to see people writing about the actual dollars and cents associated with the design industry. My estimates span quite a range, simply because external factors like the client’s budget, if I’ve worked with them before, and how busy I am all work into the mix. Oh, and if the company just received 7 figures of VC money than it’s time to bust out the multipliers ;)

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