How Much Should You Charge for Merch Design?

Charging for things like merch design is something a graphic designer should be well versed in. In addition, they should know how long the job will take and how much their time is worth. So how much should you charge for merch design?

Depending on where you live, $25/hr to $300/hr for an established artist is expected. Younger designers could work by the job and can range between $5 to $200 for a job. Paying for experience is worth it, but getting them while they are cheap is not a bad idea if you can find great new artists.

Merch is always a good thing for companies to have on hand for any business function. In addition, it serves to inform the clients about your new company or the fresh product you are getting ready to roll out. So read on and learn everything you need to know about charging for merch design.

What a Graphic Designer’s Time is Worth to Clients

One of the things about designers from different occupations is that they could work several hours on a project and still only get paid their small flat fee. This attention to detail makes graphic design a hybrid of art and training. In the end, the client pays the designer for their knowledge and expertise, and taste.

A few things that designers are paid for knowing are:

  • Color – Everyone who went to preschool and got the 8-pack of Crayola knows about the colors. A designer takes this to the extreme and knows how colors are created and what other colors will influence them. They also know the representation of color and what different colors on a logo mean.
  • Computers – Let’s face it, the real reason that some people want to hire a graphic designer is that they know how to work a computer like an artist knows how to paint in pastels. This intense knowledge of design programs and computing makes them well suited for graphic design.
  • Design – Big no-brainer here, but graphic designers know lots about design and should be compensated accordingly. No matter the experience level of the designer you choose, they should know design works and not just be a friend who has Illustrator.
  • Marketing – Another thing designers are forced to learn about is marketing. They will know how to set up your merch design so that your product or event is advertised in a way that is eye-catching and easy to remember.

The intangibles that people don’t see when they hire a designer are a big part of what they will charge. Their knowledge of merchandising and graphic design computer programs are skills that are as sought after as matching paint or being a carpenter.

How to Break Down Payments as a Designer

No matter how much time you have spent making successful logos and merch for other clients, some people will always want to have an itemized list of what they are paying for. You cannot blame a small business owner looking to maximize their cash flow for wanting to save, but they must understand that quality is well worth their money.

Some things that you can add to billing for a merch design project are:

  • Time – The most important thing a client will want to see is how long you spent on the designs. These times don’t have to be concrete down to the second, but having a general window and showing that to the client can ease their fears about the process.
  • Materials – If materials were used during the process, having an itemized list of their prices is also good. Materials aren’t usually physical things in graphic design, but if the client wants some t-shirts printed or a canvas-sized blow-up, showing how much you paid for them wouldn’t be wrong.
  • Storage – Something that people aren’t often expecting designers to add fees for is storage. Storage in the design world is necessary because usually, the size of projects takes up several gigabytes of data and must be kept for long periods. Server fees are rising, and showing this would be pleasant for the client.

Graphic designers are like artists in that what the clients pay for is something that cannot usually be quantified or given a price point. But, sometimes, having tangible things to show your client why you charge what you do is a great way to create an open and honest relationship with them that could be the foundation of your business going forward.

Ways to Find Out the Going Rate for Merch Design

If you are still unsure about what you are worth, there are a few places you can see what your competition is doing. Taking the time and doing your homework about who works around you will show you what they charge and how they do their jobs.

  • Peers – There are rates established and if you are involved in your town’s design scene, checking in with your peers is a great way to glean information. You could find what they charge by talking with a few other designers in your area or online and setting your price accordingly.
  • Online – The next best place to see what the graphic design market charges for merch design are online. There are sites like Upwork and Fiverr where you can search for freelance rates. These jobs are often one-offs and could be lower due to the many new designers on the sites.

Checking in on how the competition is doing is a great way to keep up with the crowd. Not only can you keep up with them, but by checking their pages for pricing, you can learn to create a better, cheaper product, which will bring more work to you.


As a designer, knowing what to charge for your merch designs is an essential part of the process. Having a clear outline of what you are charging for your services forms a special bond with clients that could secure your services for years.

There are places out on the internet you can find what other designers are charging. By checking in periodically with these sites, you get an idea of what the market is doing. This provides you with crucial information that will improve the life of your business.