Regularly Asked Questions - Pricing and Costings

Request for Advice

I have won a commission to design a corporate Christmas card for a commercial company. Would you advise me as to the going rate for this type of work?

There is no going rate for this type of work as such. Many artists focus on finding the right price for their work but this cannot be done in the absence of knowing how much it costs to make the work. A number of variables – such as your time, your profile and your expenses – need to be considered before you can come up with a fee or a price. Where the card is distributed and the number of copies made will also play a factor in the price you charge. For example, if your artwork is going to be used by a global multinational, your fee would be much higher than if it is to be used by a local community enterprise.

There is a text in The Manual section of our website which we commissioned especially for artists that advises on how to go about pricing and costing artwork. Writer Annette Clancy provides practical advice on how to calculate and cost the labour time and overheads of your creative practice as well as guidance on how to price completed works and other artistic activity. View the text entitled ‘The Science and Art of Pricing and Costing Your Work’.

Another important thing to consider is drawing up a contract with the commissioner. You will need to give the commissioner a license to reproduce your artwork. Solicitor Linda Scales has written a text on Contracts tailored for artists. In it, she explains the legalities of contracts and how they work. She also provides sample contracts for use when undertaking a commission, exhibiting with a gallery or reproducing an artwork. You can view the text on Contracts in The Manual.

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