How to estimate design work
You can tell easily how much a car costs just by looking at the price tag. But what is the cost of producing that car? Or, how much did it cost to design that specific car, so it can withstand competition for at least one product lifecycle, be reliable, meet safety and brand standards, customer demands, and perhaps even become a design icon at the end of its production cycle? You perhaps agree, that foreseeing the cost of design – and its Return Of Investment — is anything but easy. Design is an iterative process and you don’t know at the beginning of a new project how many design iterations you need to go through, justify, negotiate and test until you arrive at an acceptable solution, especially when it’s someone else you are designing for or with. In this article, we explore some of the pitfalls of cost estimations for digital product- and service design. We start with a summary of my learnings from working for almost 22 years in the digital, creative space, on more than 200 projects, in partnership with 25 creative agencies, and in-house design departments.