I've read this post and a few others: What price should I charge for design services?

And Jessica's Hirsch's Dark Art of Pricing. However, what are the considerations when an agency wants you do to logos on an hourly rate? How do we factor in the very valuable royalty aspect into that number, assuming that the agency will hold all right to the logo design?

Has anyone done this for an agency before? Do you just quote them a huge hourly rate?

  • The discussion below seems to classify my question as a Work For Hire situation. Is that the only option here, or can you be seen as a respectable independent contractor?
    – TCDesigner
    Jan 20, 2017 at 22:11
  • And I'd love to hear any input on the fact that this is logo/branding work (which pays A LOT - thousands of dollars range), not just making flyers or white papers (which is usually not expensive - like double digits).
    – TCDesigner
    Jan 20, 2017 at 22:12
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    Work for hire doesn't mean you're not respected. It's simply the standard legal construct for most freelance relationships. What we're telling you is if you feel you are worth more, then charge more if you can. That it's specifically logo work is mostly irrelevant.
    – DA01
    Jan 20, 2017 at 22:27
  • If you're genuinely good at logo creation, and have potential capacity to be great at it, talk with someone less than 20 years older, near you, who has gone from 1000's per logo to over 100's of 1000's per logo. If you can't find this person near you, this is a lesson in itself. If you do, introduce yourself via any private medium you like and invite them for lunch - at the best restaurant around. After seeing your work, and talking with you, if they think you've got a shot, they'll buy lunch. Otherwise it's an expensive lesson - that you need to get, be and do better. Or do something else.
    – Confused
    Jan 20, 2017 at 22:35
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    And OP, just for your sake, the people that can charge 6 figures for a logo design as individuals are few and far between. A great thing to aim for, but that is not a standard freelance relationship. Those are known entities who have found a very particular and successful niche. They're not working for agencies as freelance contractors. Confused is talking about an extremely small minority of successful career designers but is also a bit...confused...as it's not the norm. If you make it to 60 and have the reputation of Paul Rand, more power to you, though.
    – DA01
    Jan 20, 2017 at 23:10

3 Answers 3


If the agency is hiring you to do work for them, then odds are you are being brought on in a 'work for hire' model, which is pretty much the same as if you were an employee in the sense that anything you create, you are creating for the agency and the agency owns full rights. So, no, there is no 'royalty' fee associated with it.

This is the most typical arrangement. The exception would typically be if you were a well known entity producing highly sought after work, and were being asked to license some of your artwork. An example would be a famous photographer being asked to license one of their famous photos for a jeans commercial or something. A nice situation to be in, but not typical for most of us. (Jessica, being a well known entity--at least in the design world--may be in a position where she can do that)

So, yes, you essentially just need to tell them what your hourly rate is. Here's a post that explains how to do that.

  • 1
    Logo design isn't just about the final product, as explained in Hirsch's pricing article. "Royalties" might not be the best word I should have used, maybe "licensing" is more appropriate. I get that if you're a big name it's different, but I don't think that if you are an average designer you should sign away all the value in logo work to your "regular" hourly rate. Should it not be significantly more since this is a logo and you are giving the rights to the agency? Also, pricing for the agency is different from how I would price for myself. I'm aware of how to price for my own freelance rate.
    – TCDesigner
    Jan 20, 2017 at 19:18
  • @TCDesigner whether you think it should be that way or not is, alas, irrelevant. Work-for-hire is the defacto standard in this industry. The 'value' in your logo work is your hourly rate. If you feel you provide high value, ask for a high hourly rate.
    – DA01
    Jan 20, 2017 at 19:20
  • Another way to look at it, if you were an employee of said agency, it's not like you'd get a "royalty bonus" just because you designed a logo. You get your salary, the agency gets your work. That's how work-for-hire works.
    – DA01
    Jan 20, 2017 at 19:21
  • Downvoter, care to explain? Is there anything inaccurate in my answer?
    – DA01
    Jan 20, 2017 at 21:42
  • @DA01 It good to be aware that the kinds of contract concepts like work to hire do not necessarily apply in places outside the US. Although similar provisions are possibly made there is no such distinction it is all in your contract.
    – joojaa
    Jan 21, 2017 at 10:16

This also depends on your relationship with the agency and how long you want to keep that going.

You might be faced with the option to either accept the terms (eg. hourly rate, copyright transfer, etc) and hope for a long-lasting collab which will presumably pay the bills, or try to push for a higher pay and risk losing the client.

An agency who is looking for WFH (work for hire) outside providers will eventually ditch the ones that are trying to charge above this scope and search out other freelancers that will happily accept the terms. The freelance market has been expanding a lot in recent years, so agencies (and clients directly) have lots of options here.



Quote them a HUGE hourly rate.

MASSIVE, in fact.

Make the number so big they realise the folly of the idea and revert to respecting you and your design processes, experiences, research and talents.

And, most importantly, they get back to respecting your creative rights.

Once the relationship has retaken its proper form they'll only ask you about logos on a case-by-case, client-by-client, use-by-use, rights-to-license basis.

As they should.

If they don't come back to this state, they weren't worth working with.

A high price is a gentle 'no...'

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    While I appreciate your over-the-top optimism here, that's simply not how the industry works. You're setting an unrealistic bar.
    – DA01
    Jan 20, 2017 at 21:43
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    Nonsense. If you limit yourself to safe, sure and certain relationships as a "freelancer", you're a yes-man. That's wage slavery without the benefits of a wage, nor the provisions and conditions granted slaves.
    – Confused
    Jan 20, 2017 at 21:56
  • It's work-for-hire. Which is SOP. I probably agree with you about all the political and worker's-rights connotations, but whether we like it or not, that is how the industry works. And this site is about the GD industry--not politics and workers rights issues.
    – DA01
    Jan 20, 2017 at 22:00
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    It's not how the industry works. It's how U choose to work, and who you choose to work with, which are always YOUR choices. And you have to make those choices, so make them well. Not every agency should become a client. Not every deal is good. The most powerful word you'll ever learn is "No!", the most empowering thing you'll ever learn is to say it gently. Hence the last sentence. This has nothing to do with over-the-top optimism, it's from a very real life of experience within the industry, dealing with all spectrum of people; from the good natured and kindly to the most exploitive and evil.
    – Confused
    Jan 20, 2017 at 22:01
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    @Confused the problem with this thinking is understanding where the client relationship lives. So yes, you could quote a ridiculously high hourly rate as a freelancer but risk having zero projects given to you. End of the day a freelance graphic designer working for an agency provides the service TO THE AGENCY, not the end client. The agency provides work opportunities. If as a freelancer you do not like this, then don't freelance to agencies. You can't suck and blow. Jan 22, 2017 at 18:36

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