How Much to Hire In-House Design Talent?

December 7, 2022

There’s no denying that good design is essential for any business. A well-designed product or website can give your company the edge it needs to stand out from the competition and attract new customers.

But designing great products and websites isn’t easy, and it can be expensive to hire a good designer. Between the price of recruiting, retaining, delighting, and supporting them, top-tier designers are a lot of money. Let’s get some perspective of the cost of a quality design talent that your brand deserves.

Recruiting a Designer

Before contemplating the cost of employing talent, you first need to think about the cost it'll take to hire one. You'll need to take into consideration the time spent writing the job description, filtering through qualified candidates, scheduling and running a series of interviews, and recruiting experts on your team to provide feedback (in turn costing them valuable time that could have been put to contributing to productive work). According to a study by Glassdoor in the US, hiring one talent will cost a company an average of $4,000 when you include the tools and resources you allocate to doing recruitment.

That's $4,000 upfront before seeing a new hire come through the door.

Top Talents Expect Top Salaries To Match

If you are looking for someone to dazzle your audience and ultimately help you realize a business’ impact, that'll come with some serious design powers. Even if you are picking from the median range of talent for a Design Lead role, that will set you back roughly $65,000 annually. Want to take it up a notch and hire the cream of the crop? Expect to pay no less than $80,000. That's the baseline.

Great Talent Need Great Tools

You won't tell Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel with leftover paintbrushes you found in your mother's basement right? If you're hiring the best, you'd want to equip them with the best tools they can get their hands on.

Great design isn't made with paper and crayons. Great design requires great tools and professional technology that don't come cheap. You'll be looking at coughing up$1,200 USD / year for a comprehensive suite of tools like the Adobe CreativeCloud subscription. That will give your designer access to creative apps like Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop. That's not all.

As we collaboration becomes an integral part of our daily lives, Figma has become an essential creative tool for people in the creative industries. You'll need an Enterprise subscription for a single editor that will cost you an additional $900 / year. Joy!

You’ll also need file sharing and cloud storage. Spend $240 / year for Google Drive Storage. Miro, for whiteboarding, a Project management tool and maybe even an additional seat on your team communication tool so that everyone can keep tabs on progress consistently.

The Number Will Only Go Up From Here

Whether you're looking to scale, run a large campaign or ensure everyone on the team can work optimally without burning out, you know that you are bound to increase the size of your team. With that comes additional cost. Budgeted $60,000 for one designer? Let's double that and immediately you have added an additional digit to the number. $120,000 doesn't sound that much does it? Before they fizzle out, you'll find yourself hiring more and more to maintain the quality and flow of work done.

Whatabout specialization? You know what they say about jack-of-all-trades, they tend to be a generalist. While that works at the beginning, more complexity will require more specialization. A UX designer is probably not going to excel in illustration design while an animator can't really help you with marketing collateral. With more roles comes more costs.

There's a Better Way

If all these numbers are making your head spin, you aren't the only one. Hiring a graphic designer in-house might be a great decision for your business, but it can also be quite costly. So, how do you know when you need to bring on another member of your team, and how much should you be spending?

Well, you don't have to make that choice when you work with a remote design agency like Mad Creative Beanstalk. With a relationship like this, you can slay giants and conquer your market with great designs without breaking the bank. Don’t let cost keep you from the talent your brand deserves.


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