Anyone that’s ever tried to hire a designer knows things can get expensive quick. And if you’ve already contemplated hiring a designer, it’s because you know that design can make or break your brand.


Common problems that raise the cost of design and how to avoid them:


We’ll go over some common problems and discuss ways on how you can make this a seamless process for your brand or business. Plus, you’ll find a perfect sample email at the end of this blogpost that you can send to your designer and start off on the right foot.

You’ve hired a designer, but the initial designs are so not what you were looking for (so now you’re spending extra $$$ to get things fixed)


Too often, designers miss the mark on the first couple of designs they send your way. And here’s a design industry secret not a lot of people will admit: designers spend the most time on the first design they send you because that’s when they’re most excited, too – they’ve poured their soul into this design and when it’s met with disappointment, it damages the relationship before it’s even really started.


As soon as you’ve decided that you need to hire a designer, actually hiring one is the last step, not the first.


So, before you hire a designer at all, spend just a couple of hours nailing down the style you’re looking for. The best way to do this is to start a Pinterest board, because Pinterest is not only geared entirely towards aesthetic content, but it will auto recommend similar pins based on things that match your interest based on what you save. Seriously, it’s one of the best and fastest recommendation engines. Compile at least 12-18 different pins with logos you like, colors that feel like your brand, and the overall energy you’re looking for. This way your designer will know exactly what you’re looking for. Skip this step and you’ll end up over budget and behind schedule.


This tip alone will save you at least a couple weeks of back and forth AND hundreds of dollars.


Once you have your Pinterest board, it is critical that you also set yourself up for success by sending your designer 2-3 companies in your space (or close to your industry) that you REALLY admire. ‘Sephora’ is not enough if you’re looking to launch a skincare brand. Go specific with your ideal designs because The Ordinary, Glamglow, or Pixi are all three different brands with very different target markets. Think through your choices and share a few of them with your designer so they know exactly what you like.


Designers are quoting you substantially more than your budget allows (and you’re not sure if it’s completely worth it)


Let’s get this out of the way: design is not cheap, and really good design is (rightfully) very expensive. Once you’ve nailed down the designer you want to work with and are armed with your inspiration photos, let’s talk through the next step: narrowing the scope.


It’s important to be laser focused on what you actually need. At the end of the day, hiring a designer will always be worth it, but it’s wise to spend your money on things that will make the most impact.


If you’re launching a new fitness brand, you don’t need a business card, letterhead, or custom website design. Start with the basics: a solid logo, color palette, and a single piece of collateral. It can be an outdoor sidewalk sign, or it can be a new customer flyer, but focus on one and one thing only. Down the line, you can always hire more work out, but this single piece of collateral will define what everything else looks and feels like.


The vast majority of people I’ve ever worked with are doing way too much. If you’re a home baker or a photographer, you only need a logo, color palette, and a price list. That is it.


Reducing the number of items a designer works on will substantially reduce the overall cost, and trust me, you don’t need much to get started!


Getting an accurate quote quickly from designers (instead of sending messages back and forth for days before you can even really start)


So many people reach out to me telling me they’ve gotten in touch with 5+ designers and haven’t heard back from any of them! And yet, when I ask them what they sent the designer, the message usually looks like this:


“Hi! I’m looking to hire a designer for my new cake business. How much do you charge?”


Whew, let me tell you, this won’t get you very far. That’s like asking the baker how much they charge for a cake! There’s absolutely no way for them to give you an accurate price without knowing the flavor, timeline, how many to feed, the complexity of the design, and if you need it delivered or will be picking it up!


The same goes for designers. It is CRUCIAL to send a designer a detailed list of what you’re looking for and as much information as you have. You’re guaranteed to get a faster response (it’ll be so easy to quote!) and you’ll begin working together right away.


If you’ve gotten this far, you already know you’ll be including two critical pieces of information we talked about above, like your inspiration (Pinterest and example companies) and list of deliverables.


Aside from that, you should also include your timeline (and if it’s a tight deadline, recognize it may cost more), a brief description of your company or product, your ideal customer, what you hope to achieve, and the desired reaction of the customer to your brand.


Here’s an example of what that might look like in an initial email:


Hi Aleena!


I found your profile through dribbble and think your work aligns with our brand.


I have a (mention your WHAT) small home bakery business that I’m looking to expand into (mention your IDEAL CUSTOMER) the wedding cake industry for brides who want a modern, untraditional cake. I’m hoping to (briefly explain WHAT YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE) walk away with a great brand that lets brides know I’m a high end modern minimalist baker.


I’m looking to have a logo, color palette, and price list by December 12th. Here’s a link to a Pinterest board of inspiration and a couple of companies that I admire are company 1 and company 2.


Please let me know your rate and you can reach me at 777-777-7777.




I hope you found this guide helpful and a good explanation for why spending just a couple of hours of prep can reduce your costs and timeline when working with a designer.