What do you charge per hour for freelance graphic design?

TheMark's picture

Hey folks

I've been asked to give a price for freelance work in New York for ad-agencies. In Copenhagen I get about 100$ an hour but I've heard 85$ in New York. Do anyone have experience with this?

Thanks guys


aluminum's picture

You charge an amount that allows you to make a living doing it and reflects your skill set.

I can't imagine $85 is a living-wage freelance rate in NYC.

James Arboghast's picture

I'd guess a minimum of $100 an hour for NYC. Depending on the kind of work you do and how good you are at it, upwards of $125 is a resonable rate.

Once again, a topic related to typography but not specifically about type or fonts. Do we need a new section for threads of this category?

j a m e s

Nick Cooke's picture

No we don't James. If you read the Forum heading you will see it's called GENERAL discussions.

Nick Cooke

Zara Evens's picture

We welcome all discussions that relate to design.

Si_Daniels's picture

"New York" doesn't necessarily = "New York City" maybe state-wide that bill rate is realistic? Maybe not.

Si_Daniels's picture

> If you read the Forum heading

It's better/worse than that...

"General Discussions
Anything goes."

typosapien's picture

I used to work in NYC for a two-person studio and I remember the day-rate being $600. But that was back in 05 and for a studio not freelance.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

SimplyHired has this to say about freelance graphic designer salaries in NYC.

Also, the AIGA/Aquent Survey of Design Salaries 2008 might give you some idea of what to expect.

And last but not least, Coroflot has its own survey (for 2007), which compares in-house vs. consultancy vs. freelance in the second chart.

TheMark's picture

Wow you guys...

Thanks a billion! This was very helpfull!


Si_Daniels's picture

>Thanks a billion!

Is that a billion dollars or a billion euro?

speter's picture

Wow, if you look at the SimplyHired chart, you see that a sr. graphic designer makes $13000 more than a senior graphic designer. I had no idea that abbreviations could be so lucrative.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture


That's pretty funny, Steve... Good catch. And nary a junior (or jr.) graphic designer in sight.

ChuckGroth's picture

I generally bill $85-100 per hour for freelance.
But if it's a job I REALLY wanna do, and I know the client's on a shoestring, it's negotiable.

Niyold's picture

I'm a fresh out of college designer. I landed my first job working at a new magazine in NYC. I accepted a full time position as a designer for $15/hr. I later realized there are absolutely no benefits included, and I'm paid on an hourly wage rather than a 40 hr work week because we are not needed to work everyday. There is a slew of other freelance designers that come every few days. One designer with nearly a decade of experience was being paid $25/hr while another with only a couple years more experience than me is being paid $30/hr. After realizing my position is financially no different than those of the freelance designers I requested being changed to a freelance position. However they agreed and want to continue paying me $15/hr for the work.

Editorial design understandably does pay less than that of ad agencies. However, I think $15/hr even for a start out designer is ridiculously low in this market, especially in NYC. Any advice?

aluminum's picture

The industry has changed quite a bit in the past decade...especially on the print side. Contract/freelance gigs have increased while full-time positions seem much more scarce.

All that said...$15? In NYC!? I have to assume that's the starting rate at a McD's in Manhattan. And I think they offer benefits.

JamesM's picture

> $15/hr

IF that was a full-time job with benefits, $15/hr would total a little over $30,000 a year (plus benefits), which might be okay for a starting job, although it would be tough to live on that in NYC.

But for a part-time job without benefits, that seems extremely low.

It's better than nothing, and at least you're getting some experience, but I'd look for something better.

.00's picture

I was getting $9/hr in 1978 as a bull-pen artist in a NYC type shop. A $7/hr raise in 33 years seems more than a bit low.

blank's picture

All that said...$15? In NYC!?

Keep in mind that there is a glut of designers in New York. That keeps down prices, especially in this bad economy. There are too many design schools graduating too many students and too many of them have wealthy parents who can support them after college. And too many of those design students graduate without the high-tech skills they need to get a job because they spent their time in school focusing on conceptual fundamentals instead of keeping up-to-date with web trends. So some entry-level design jobs here can pay under $30,000 with no benefits. And low-end freelance work sometimes goes for $15/hour or less if the client is a small publisher or fashion house with its own budget problems.

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