Why Your Graphic Designer Needs You to Share Your Budget

At some point during the initial call for any new graphic design project, I ask about the client’s budget. I usually get one of three answers:

1.     “My budget is X,”

2.     “I don’t know,”

3.     or “I don’t want to say.”

For the people who don’t want to say, they’re generally either embarrassed at what they assume is a low budget, or they’re afraid I’m going to charge them exactly what they tell me they have with no possibility of spending less (which does happen on occasion, but not on purpose).

Regardless of the initial answer, I’ll try to dig a little deeper to get an actual number, even if it’s a loose figure. Here’s why.

1. Knowing what a client has to spend on any given project can help me figure out what I can do within that and/or make recommendations. A brochure can be a single sheet of folded paper, or a larger book, and we can get it printed at any number of print shops at different price points. There are more expensive custom websites, and websites built more inexpensively with templates. A logo can have an intricately designed icon or be a more simple, type-based mark. So, if I know what the desired budget is, I can optimize the project scope and make recommendations to help stay within that limit.

2. It can be an easy way for us to see immediately if we’re a good fit. If a potential client calls and doesn’t have a realistic budget for a given project, I know they’re not the right fit for me and I can make recommendations to other vendors. When it makes sense, I love connecting people in my network—it’s a win-win for everybody. But I can only do that if I have an idea of the budget.  

3. It can help me see if additional questions need to be asked. If a client has a certain amount available for a project and it’s quite a bit lower or higher than I would have expected, I know I either need to ask some more questions (maybe I’m missing something) or I might need to help them understand why that amount is too low (or high). Non-designers often have no idea of what goes into a project in terms of time and effort, so a bit of discussion might help get us back on the same page.

4. It saves EVERYONE time (see items 1-3 above). If I know what you’re expecting/wanting to spend, we can save ourselves the guesswork and needless back-and-forth with estimates or relationships that won’t work. 

Next time your graphic designer asks what you’re planning to spend on an upcoming project, don’t be afraid to tell them the answer (assuming you know it). A trusted vendor wants to work with you in a way that makes sense for you and your budget.

And if you’re not sure you need a graphic designer, be sure to check out these 9 reasons to hire a graphic designer for some unique insights.