Mad About Design - Graphic Designer

Look - a squirrel!

Sep 14, 2013


Considering graphic design retainers.

MAD have been rather busy of late. Over the last few months, we've expanded our retainer client base, which, in this economic climate, is just fantastic. So what benefits does a retainer provide for the customer....?

A retainer is a fee paid for a pre-determined amount of time or work. Most commonly, a percentage of a retainer is paid up-front for a specified number of hours or days of work within a time period.

A retainer benefits both the graphic designer and client.

For the client, a retainer guarantees that a graphic designer will provide a certain amount of work, and potentially prioritize that work. With designers often pulled in many directions, it gives the client consistent hours from a designer. In addition, clients will often get a discount on the designer’s hourly rate. Since the client is pre-paying and guaranteeing a certain amount of work, a discount is often given in return.

For a graphic designer, a retainer is a safety net, a guaranteed amount of income over time. For this reason, it is recommended to always have a contract spelling out the terms of the agreement. With much of a freelance income often based on sporadic projects, a retainer is an opportunity to know how much money will be made from a particular client.


A designer is paid a monthly fee, often in advance, for a certain numbers of hours worked. The designer tracks hours and bills the client for work beyond the amount agreed upon, either at the same discount or a full rate. If the designer works less than the agreed amount, that time can be rolled over or lost.
Annual – A designer is paid a certain amount per year for a specified number of hours or days worked. An annual agreement does not keep the designer on as strict a schedule as a monthly contract, but the same conditions apply.

A designer is paid to work on a continuing project, for a specified amount of time or until the project is finished. This is similar to working for a flat rate for a project, but generally more for ongoing work rather than the development of a new project.
No matter what the specifics of the arrangement are, a retainer is often a great way to guarantee some ongoing income, while often giving the client a discount and establishing a long-term relationship.

So, MAD'S portfolio has grown a little more, and with that, we've been somewhat tardy in updating our website. It will happen as soon as we have completed some of the larger projects we have on the go. But 'til then.... 

Look, a squirrel!

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