Ultimate Guide to Website Design Cost
Do you know that 75% of users judge the credibility of a firm based on its website design? Certainly, user-friendly and attractive web design is one of the key assets in any software project.
How much could your website design cost?
Here, we explain how to estimate the cost of website design properly. This article is a web design pricing guide that evaluates possible design options for your business.
If you are thinking about redesigning your website, this article will clarify the main concerns regarding this procedure too. As well, you can preliminarily evaluate the website redesign cost.
Please note: web design is not the same as web development services, and usually involves different specialists. These parts interrelate, but correspond to different phases in website creation:
- Web design refers to how the web page looks - its layout and interface
- Web development relates to the actual functioning of a web project
3 Options for Website Design Cost
Logically, the website design cost is based on your website type, its features, and business goals. Most importantly, the selection of the design should come from the chosen web technology stack. The more complex the web project is, the more custom web design should be created to showcase the necessary functionality. Then, the website design cost is formed correspondingly.
Advice: Don’t be misguided by how a website looks, rather, pay attention to how it works. Before you start with the website design, first consider how the website is supposed to operate.
Let’s now check the available options for creating web interfaces and the potential website design cost for each of them.
1. DIY Website Design Cost
- DIY Services: Wordpress, Wix, Shopify (for e-commerce projects), etc.
- Website design cost (included in website package): $0 - $500+
Website builder services like Wix, WordPress, Shopify, or Weebly already have pre-made web design templates included in their website development pricing plans. Based on project type and industry, you can select a necessary design layout and configuration.
In general, you can spend from $300 to $500, which is an average cost of website design for a small business. Within this web design pricing, you also receive configured hosting, web servers, and domain. DIY solutions may offer additional design elements and plugins ranging from $15 to $200. In most cases, you receive monthly or annual invoices based on the web design price list of the chosen platform.
As well, don’t forget that any website needs regular updates and support. Again, depending on the website design package price, the cost of maintenance varies from $60 to $3,500+ per year.
Friendly advice: Do not use any free website design templates. These options usually come along with ads, malware, functionality and bandwidth limits.
It is recommended that you use DIY website builders for:
- simple, one-page websites (landings)
- web projects without scalability plans
- personal portfolio sites
- personal blogs or services
The key advantage of this option lies in low-cost web design and its quick setup.
On the contrary, most businesses are prone to switch from DIY sites within a few years. This is due to the following weak points these websites have:
- generic website design
- challenges with website consistency, updates, and maintenance
- high dependency on third-party service
- low level of website customization and flexibility
- limited scalability
- possible website freezes and slow operation
- no application of new technologies on a design layout
Advice: Consider the website design cost and options precisely in order to not spend a bigger budget in the long run.
2. Website Design Pricing for Freelance Services
- Hire a freelancer: locally or on freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer.com, etc.
- Website design cost: $500 - $2,000+
A professional web designer can help you create a more custom web design or design your own template to fit the Wordpress website. They can also help you with branding materials like a logo, banners, etc.
You can search for these specialists locally, on freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer.com, on specific sites like Behance and Dribbble, or web design job boards.
The website design cost depends on the level of experience, skills, and location of a freelancer. Consequently, the web design pricing depends on the rate for UX and UI design services and ranges approximately from $65 to $140 per hour in North America.
Note: Do not mix up freelance services with outsourcing. Working with a freelance web designer is a constant collaboration process. You must know exactly what you need in order to transmit this vision to the web designer. Thus, you need to set up a clear guide and management process for the hired professional.
Please keep in mind that you will need to hire a web developer additionally (unless you have chosen the DIY website option).
Continue reading to check out the locations with the best quality-price ratio to outsource your website design tasks.
It is recommended that you involve a freelance web designer in the following cases:
- small web projects or minor web design works
- only website design is needed
- branding materials
The pros of hiring a website designer on freelance platforms:
- ability to adjust your web design concept
- mid-priced website design cost
- proper web design quality
- additional branding materials
- personal meetings and communication (if a web designer is from your location)
The weaknesses of this website design option include:
- hard and long process of finding a capable and reliable web designer
- project management process is on the client’s side completely
- additional expenses and management efforts involved with hiring a web developer
- potential issues with communication
- potential issues in keeping up with the deadlines
- risks involved with distributing project materials or other inappropriate actions of a freelancer
- risks connected with unsatisfactory end results
3. Custom Website Design Cost when Hiring an Agency
- Hire a software development agency locally or work with an offshore company
- Website design cost: $5,000 - $25,000+
If you need extra functionality, plan to scale the website, or want to apply modern technologies, custom web design is definitely your best choice. Expect that the custom website design cost will be higher. Meanwhile, you receive a turnkey solution including website design and development.
Dedicated software development agencies allocate a number of specialists to cover all areas and create great websites. A team usually consists of designers, web front-end developer, web back-end developer, quality assurance engineer, project manager, and business analyst.
It is possible to hire a pool of these professionals at a lower rate, but with the same capabilities when outsourcing. For example, the rate for an experienced web designer in Eastern Europe (e.g. Ukraine) is around $40 an hour.
Employing an agency requires minimum effort from your side. All you need is to select a reliable partner, keep up with the process, and send your timely feedback.
The benefits of creating a custom web design for your web project:
- ability to scale the web project easily (add & adjust web pages)
- application of SEO and marketing practices
- creation of a unique design in order to stand out from the competitors
- independence from third-party services and design templates
- creation of a web design to fit the target audience portrait
- application of custom visual elements (animations, illustrations, icons)
- development of well-thought-out user navigation (based on the performed business analysis services provided by MLSDev)
- ability to quickly adjust the design to meet emerging technologies
- ability to devote time to the core business needs (project management is on the agency’s side)
- custom website design is fully your property
It is recommended that you create a custom website design for:
- development of web projects with further scalability needs
- creation of sites that want to experiment with technologies
- development of eCommerce sites and other complex websites or, web platforms
- creation of websites with extensive back-end management (admin panel)
Want to create a custom & unique design for your digital product?
Address our team and we will provide you with a free consultation about UX/UI design creation as well as estimate website design cost and timeline.
So how much does it cost to hire a professional web designer from an agency?
As mentioned, the website design cost depends on the vendor’s location and service rate. The map below illustrates the average hourly rates for website design service worldwide. Here, Eastern Europe, is a well-known region for addressing website design and development needs with reasonable website design pricing.
How to work with a remote software development agency effectively
Our team has created a detailed guide on how to work with remote teams and how to choose the proper web design and development vendor. Check out the article: Outsource Web Development Wisely: Useful Tips
How Custom Website Design Cost is Estimated
For a better understanding regarding how the website design cost is formed, here we describe the process of its creation.
3-Step Process of a Custom Web Design Creation
In order to create a custom web design, a professional should specialize in the following design areas:
User experience (UX wireframes) - this is the backbone of any web project and is the core skeleton of a system, its functionality, and usability.
User interface (UI mockups) - this is a visual representation of the web project using colors, typography, graphics, icons, and accounts for the overall atmosphere of the product.
A custom website design creation is usually organized according to Agile methodology. The client and team should have quick daily interaction to check in on progress and give feedback. The most common tools used to create a custom website design are Figma, Photoshop, Sketch, and Adobe After Effects for animations.
The flow of creating a custom design for your website is as follows:
1. Collection of web project requirements (business and technical)
During this initial step, it is necessary to understand the needs of your web project. The best way is to arrange a workshop with a team and a client to evaluate them. Personal meetings are especially effective.
A good practice, besides having a UX/UI designer, is to involve a business analyst and software architect to outline the business and technical aspects for the web design. These include:
- company’s industry and field of operations
- main competitors
- target audience
- type of web project (e.g. social, web portal, corporate site, etc.)
- core functions of the web project (e.g. user registration, payment system, chat, etc.)
- emotions and effects the web design should evoke (e.g. eye-catching, fun, strict, etc.)
- color scheme
- font preferences (typography)
- use of images (free, from stocks, or custom)
It is possible to create a web design that meets the tastes of the buyer persona and corresponds to your personal vision. For the latter, professional web designers usually also ask for design examples that you like and, more importantly, dislike.
The technical side of a web project needs its analysis (e.g. integrations, uncommon navigation, complex features). Technical features should logically integrate into website design at the very beginning since this saves considerably with regard to the website design cost.
2. Creation of web design sketches and wireframes
A sketch is an outline of the system and its main mechanics. Sketches are very useful deliverables for preliminary architecture planning, and defining system gaps or time-consuming mechanics. The designer can use paper and a pen or tools like Balsamiq, UXPin, or Figma.
For instance, Figma allows you to quickly create sketches that can directly correspond to the UX design standards. This helps to speed up the time required to create UX wireframes and, thus, decrease the website design cost.
3. Creation of web design mockups
During this stage, the web designer prepares 2-3 style options and shows them on 1-2 core website pages. These web UI mockups can also be called mood boards. Further, the chosen design option is applied on UX wireframes of the project.
It is worth mentioning that the finalized website design is reviewed by other designers and web developers for the functional correspondence.
As well, it is necessary to create the UI Kit using the Avocode tool used during the web development stage. It shows the buttons, placeholders and their appearance in active, inactive position. It also allows you to check the width, height, and color of a particular design element.
These operations slightly add to the total website design cost as well.
To summarize, сustom website design includes the following assets:
- Web design sketches
- Web design wireframes
- Web design mood boards (UI samples)
- Web design mockups
- UI Kit
Extra web design deliverables may include:
- Branding - e.g. logo, favicon, banners, brand book patterns, etc.
- Clickable web product prototype - for fundraising, presentation, or promotion purposes
- Map screen - for complex projects and/or project presentations
- User testing - for existing web projects, to find out which flow is taken by users and so on (usually conducted by Business Analyst and UX/UI Designer)
Factors that Influence Custom Web Design Pricing
Let’s now move on to the factors that impact the design process and website design cost:
- Type of website
The core evaluation of the potential web design pricing is based on business and technical aspects. Clearly, a website consisting of 10-15 pages costs less than an e-commerce platform with multiple category pages and a check-out process. Thus, the size of a project directly correlates with website design pricing.
- Basic vs. custom website design
The website design cost can be influenced by the level of design customization. It is possible to create a basic and laconic web design with standard buttons, calls to action, images, and side elements that comply with the material design guidelines.
This is a recommended option to use in the first product version in order to minimize website design cost. With further website or web project evolution, more complex design elements can be integrated. Check out the difference in designs in the illustration below.
Check out the difference between a basic and custom design in the image below. Website design pricing is higher for the second layout, since the web designer spends more hours creating custom elements, icons, and images.
- Website interactivity and responsiveness
These days, the majority of users spend their time on mobile devices. Thus, it is a common practice to create a responsive design and adjust it to different smartphone and tablet sizes. You should consider this aspect when planning your website design costs.
The designer creates core web pages in a few formats, let’s say 10 out of 50 pages, so that the web developer can apply the same coding patterns to all of the web pages.
Great web projects are also interactive. It is always a good idea to include some animated elements. On the other hand, please consider the increase in the website design cost that this may cause.
Animated elements can be used either for custom transitions or animated illustrations:
- Custom transition is applied as an animated placeholder, movement from one page to another, information update, or animated buttons.
- Animated illustrations could be useful in the form of a quick tutorial to educate a new user about the website functionality.
Website Design Services and Their Costs
Let’s check out the timeline and, consequently, the website design cost for each service in more detail.
- Cost of web sketches
On average it takes from 16 to 24 working hours to create sketches for a website. As well, consider the time spent on team meetings and discussions during the web project discovery stage. This process sets basis for further project implementation and website design pricing, and thusly requires detailed planning.
- Basic website design cost
The average time necessary to create a basic website design is approximately 1.5-2.5 hours for each unique web page, and 30-40 minutes for each subordinate one. This means that around 40-60 hours are necessary to create a basic web design. Multiply these hours by the designer’s rate and you receive the total website design pricing.
- Custom website design cost
As indicated, the custom website design cost derives from the number of web pages as well as the level of their interface customization. This means that a dynamic website cost depends on its complexity.
The average time necessary to design each interface sample is around 16-20 working hours. When the web design style is approved, the average time for website mockup development is around 2-3 hours per unique web page.
- Mixed web design pricing
In order to tailor some specific needs and fit the web design pricing, it is possible to add one or two custom elements (e.g. specific calendar) to the basic web design. Please note that these elements are estimated additionally and impact the total website design cost.
- Branding, animations, and illustrations
The activities connected with branding development, namely logo creation, consist of:
- idea research - 8-16 hours
- logo sample development - 16-24 hours
- logo finalization - 2-8 hours
The common practice is to create around 10 logo examples.
As mentioned, custom illustrations usually help a new user understand the functionality inside a platform. These images can be created for onboarding and tutorial purposes. On average, in order to develop illustrations (usually 3 images), the designer spends 16-32 hours.
To summarize things, this table represents the information regarding website design cost for each activity involved:
|Custom Design Activity||Notes||Hours||Website Design Cost ($40/hour)|
|Sketches||- created in a free format
- can equate to the UX wireframes or low-fidelity UX wireframes (by utilizing Figma tool)
- teamwork of business analyst, software architect, and designer
|~16 - 24||~$650 - $1,000|
|Basic web design||-uses basic material design practices
- also called high-fidelity UX wireframes
|~40 - 60||~$1,500 - $2,500|
|Custom web design||- 2-3 design samples are included
- uses custom design elements
- also called UI mockups
|~60 - 80||~$2,500 - $3,500|
|Animated illustration||- 3 images||~16 - 32||~$650 - $1,500|
|Branding||- logo creation||~24 - 40||~$1,000 - $1,600|
|Team meetings (during discovery stage)||-collecting business requirements
- compliance with future technical implementation
|~15 - 20||~$600 - $800|
|Periodic review by another designer||~4 - 6||~$150 - $250|
Web design pricing is calculated based on the average design service rate of $40 per hour in Eastern Europe (Ukraine).
Please keep in mind that website design cost is provided for a general overview and may vary depending on project details and specific requirements.
Want to learn about all the costs involved in a custom website creation?
Check out these details inside the guide: How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website.
Extra: Website Redesign Cost & Process
What should you do if you already have a web design but would like to change it? And, more importantly, what will the website redesign cost be?
First of all, specify why you need to redesign your website. Check yourself with this brief questionnaire:
- Is my website easy to navigate and find the necessary information?
- Is my website informative and does it represent the company well?
- How do my competitors’ websites look? Are they updated regularly?
- Does my website comply with material design standards?
- Does my website bring me profit (visitors convert into sales)?
Consequently, you have two options to choose from. You can decide to redesign the website from scratch (in this case, you already know the flow and the website design cost involved). Another option is to adjust the design slightly or add some pages and elements. Here, it is necessary to match the existing design, its color scheme, and layout with the business environment.
Therefore, before starting with a website redesign, it is necessary to:
- Evaluate the functional and business requirements of the website
- List the elements, pages, tasks, etc, for website redesign
- Review current website design
The latter activity is usually free of charge,and the professional UX/UI designer evaluates the website according to the best design guidelines and practices. Once all these materials have been analyzed, it is possible to roughly estimate the redesign scope of work.
Basically, the website redesign cost is calculated based on the hourly rate of a designer.
What Does Website Design Cost in 2019?
Based on the recent research conducted by Hubspot, the most important factor in website design is - “it makes it easy for me to find what I want.” Meanwhile, only 10% of respondents mentioned that website appearance is crucial.
How to make a streaming website or similar complex project? These days, it makes sense to think about innovative website concepts and functionality rather than website design pricing in the first place. The web design only supports the great user-experience and navigation inside web projects. In general, the advice regarding website design creation is as follows:
- Create a minimal and clear user interface
- Highlight the value proposition of the business
- Apply high-quality, stylish images
- Design with conversion rate in mind
- Show your users rather than tell
The main recommendation regarding the website design cost is to approach it rationally.
The question - “how much does it cost to hire a professional web designer?” may not be the best one to ask. A good question requests ROI and future value for the business.
A wise option in order to receive the most value is to hire a professional team consisting of web designers, developers, and specialists covering both the business and quality sides of a website. One of the greatest price and quality ratios is provided by outsourcing web design and development to teams in Eastern Europe (Ukraine, for example). These firms usually offer lower rates compared to the US or Western European market while providing fully-fledged website solutions.
It is definitely a fact that the custom websites costing $50,000 - $80,000, with required functionality and design, generate more traffic compared with websites that were designed for free. The portion of website design cost involved in such projects usually constitutes from $5,000 to $10,000.
Would you like to create a user-friendly and custom website design?
Reach out to the MLSDev team for a free consultation or audit of your current web project.