How to price your design project

Dan Mall is a creative director and advisor from Philadelphia, founder and director of SuperFriendly and co-founder of Typedia (an encyclopedia for typefaces), The Businessology Show (a business podcast for designers), No Chains and swFIR.  And he's also confirmed to talk at Generate New York in April 2018.

Mall’s ‘Should Designers…’ workshop will provide specific methodologies and techniques to help designers become even more indispensable. Designers need to grow their skills in order to stay relevant and effective these days, but which skills are worth focusing on? Mall’s session will give you the answers.

We caught up with Mall ahead of his appearance to ask him to answer some net magazine reader questions.

How has your pricing strategy changed over the years?
Regina Casaleggio, Cape Town, South Africa

Dan Mall: The more I work, the more I realise that pricing is an emotional variable. Clients will pay for things that they really value, regardless of whether it makes sense on a spreadsheet. The more attuned I am to that fact, the less dependent I am on a client’s stated budget.

I rarely ask now what budget they have; instead I focus the entire conversation around their hopes and dreams and try to deliver a price for those things that’s guaranteed to be an excellent return on investment.

Discover more about Pricing Design in Dan Mall's best-selling book

Discover more about Pricing Design in Dan Mall's best-selling book

How much design are you doing in static tools versus in browsers?
Ben Callahan, Ohio, USA

DM: Currently, it’s a bit of a parabola: I do a lot of sketching up front with tools like Photoshop and Sketch, mostly of small screen designs. I’ll hand that off to my frontend developers who start to rough those out in the browser. Towards the end of a project, I’ll jump back into Photoshop and do spot comps of any rough spots.

Tickets for Generate New York 2018 are out now

Tickets for Generate New York 2018 are out now

I've read about your pricing articles, but how do you educate clients that the pricing you quote is worth their money?
Yap Kwang Yik, Singapore

DM: Empathise – Focus on the results of what your work will bring your client. Will they make more money? Will it help them become more efficient?

Articulate – As the service provider, you’re supremely qualified to articulate exactly how your client will be better off by working with you. When thinking through what the project might entail, you’ve likely thought about how your client’s life will be better after you deliver your work, but few people remember to actually spell out these benefits to the client. 

Reinforce – Don’t be afraid to reinforce how your work will improve things; that goes a long way in helping your client understand why you’re worth the money.

This Q&A with Dan Mall originally featured in the special 300th edition of net, the magazine for professional web designers and developers – offering the latest new web trends, technologies and techniques. Buy issue 300 here or subscribe to net here.

Don't forget to book your Generate New York tickets now. The must-attend web design and development conference will be held on 25-27 April 2018 at the Metropolitan Pavilion, Chelsea, and features a who's who of some of the industry's biggest name. What are you waiting for? Get your tickets now.

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Tom May

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity, published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.