How much should I charge as a freelance motion graphics designer?

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As creative filmmakers and video producers expand both their imaginations and their budgets for impressive technology and design, skilled motion graphics designers are essential.

Motion graphics designers, sometimes just called motion designers, create moving artwork which could include movie clips, trailers, commercials, and title sequences, among other things. They use visual effects, animation, and other cinematic techniques to bring life to their creations. They design graphics that are in motion—just as their title suggests.

It is a highly skilled and incredibly varied career that is becoming increasingly desirable. So, the question of how much you and your work (and time) are actually worth might be fluctuating right now. But there are a few universal truths that will remain consistent regardless of market trends.

Freelance motion graphics designer rates

The average motion graphics designer day rate stands at £250 in the UK, which translates to around £30 per hour. However, there are numerous factors which can increase or decrease this average rate. These factors include the amount of experience a designer has in the industry, the types of hard and soft skills a designer possesses and the complexity of a client’s project.

How much should I charge as a freelance motion graphics designer?


A freelance motion graphics designer who's been working in the area for many years will understandably expect to be paid more than a motion graphics designer who’s fresh out of uni. As a rule of thumb, beginners should be charging a standard day rate, whereas intermediate or expert motion graphics designers could charge up to double that rate.

New uni grads shouldn’t be expected to work for free or for unacceptably low rates either. Your time is worth something, regardless of how wet behind the ears you might be. Experience, however, is not the only factor to consider.

Project complexity

A rate for a motion graphics designer job can vary depending on the complexity of a given project. Before devising a rate, motion graphic designers must clarify what a project entails - for example, is 2D or 3D animation required? Will they have to create or source the artwork or footage themselves that they’ll subsequently animate, or will a client provide this material to them? 

Hard skills

A designer proficient in multiple software programs used in motion graphics design is likely to be highly valued by clients and hence paid accordingly. Software programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and After Effects as well as programs in video editing, graphic design, 2D and 3D animation, are seen as advantageous for designers to have when negotiating rates with clients. We’ll go into further detail on the hard skills you might be expected to possess below.

Soft skills

The best motion graphics designers who have a track record of being easy to work and collaborate with and those who take constructive criticism onboard are also attractive candidates for clients to hire. It goes without saying that a strong combination of these hard and soft skills can positively impact a motion graphic designer’s day rate.  

Project rate or day rate?

Like many creatives, a freelance motion graphics designer might opt to charge a project rate instead of a day rate. This is often more suitable for client work that involves several big elements that will take a fair bit of time to work through and complete. An initial chat between a client and a designer coupled with a detailed brief, will quickly allow both parties to understand which type of rate is most appropriate. Remember to set your freelance motion graphic designer rate so that it's fair to both parties. 

Factors influencing the cost of your project


Are you familiar with the process of creating motion graphics? Numerous factors determine the price that businesses will pay for this content. It is critical to educate yourself about them in order to make the best selections and pay the least amount possible.

Cost per minute

In the industry of animation production, everything comes down to the length. The shorter videos are, the more costly they will be. Even if the video is 15 seconds, you need to do still the same amount of work to create different assets like concept, story, style, and brand discovery. The longer the video is, the cheaper it will be because the primary elements are already there like the concept and story; all you need to bear is the production expenses.

A 30-second motion graphics costs around $1500 to $2000, depending on the style of the video and the number of revisions. A 60-second (1-minute) motion graphics video pricing starts from $2000 to $3500 if there are no 3D elements or 2D characters in it. If you want to add any 3D element or characters, then the price can rise to $4500.

Video Style

Well, honestly, it all comes down to the energy and time it takes. Creating assets in motion graphics is not that time-consuming as compared to the time required to create 3D assets. Every step of the process requires time and money, from concept creating to final rendering.

Motion graphics is one of the most popular video styles in the animation industry. If you really want your video to stand out but you don’t have enough budget, you can add a few 3D elements in your video because it really makes the video pop out. Also, it’s a less time-consuming choice.


The more difficult it is to develop a motion graphics job, the more exorbitant it will be. This form of pricing is prevalent in all markets and is not exclusive to motion graphics. The most cost-effective strategy may be to seek simpler yet high-quality products.

The difficulty could be based on anything from the demands of the client to the specifics of the project itself. Perhaps you’re being asked to learn a new technique or a new piece of software specifically for the project, for example? Either way, always take into account not only how long a project will take you but how much of your mental energy it will consume before pricing.

What skills do I need as a motion graphics designer?


Remember that your skills are more than just your ability to design eye-pleasing things but also technical knowledge. As an intermediate you probably bring knowledge of advanced plugins like Particular or Form and a long list of codecs and deliverable format. As an Expert you bring knowledge of on-set requirements for displays, massive resolution workflows, how to hand-off files to various platforms and so much more.

Generally speaking, however, the following skills are all desirable for motion graphics designers of all experience levels.

3-D modeling

Calligraphy and 2-D art still have their place but most motion graphics are now based on 3-D modeling, and that is a huge part of the future of graphics. Understanding points in 3-D space, lines connecting those points and polygons made up of those lines comes from working with modeling programs.

Animation perspective

A good 3-D designer understands motion and timelines. Objects can move. So can light sources. The camera, which is the view of the audience, can also move. The designer can choreograph complex movements, one element at a time, and spin them off in multiple ways.


Organisation is crucial for both freelancers and team members. Keeping a tidy file with organized assets, dependencies, layers, etc., becomes more crucial the bigger your projects become. Organisation and multi-tasking are critical attributes we look for in new motion designers. You’ll be managing a lot of layers and elements simultaneously. Keep your files neat and tidy, or you’ll pay the price down the line.

Procedural animation

One of the biggest challenges to creating motion graphics is the fact that it can be incredibly time-intensive. Procedural animation is one way to cut down on that. Through simple and complex algorithms, procedurally-generated, full animations can be created in a fraction of the time. Work can be tweaked, adapted and revised at ease thanks to automated processes.

Texturing and lighting effects

The audience doesn't see the model, they see the shapes and the images. Surfacing is part of making 3D graphics look photo-realistic. Surfaces can be reflective, shiny, transparent, translucent, rough or refractive. They can also simulate textures or display moving images. The potential is unlimited.

Understanding big-picture context

A good motion graphics designer knows what their designs will be used for. Video, multimedia, game design and virtual reality are all growing and a possible destination for motion graphics designers. But each different application warrants a different approach. Understand all of these applications and how to plan for them.


“Plans change, as do project scope and goals,” Avola says, explaining that skilled motion designers need to be ready to change their original vision to accommodate client feedback. “Stay humble and roll with the punches.”


Timing is one of the most difficult and most important skills for a motion graphics designer. A fantastically detailed and otherwise good-looking graphic isn’t effective if the pacing is strange or doesn’t fit in with other elements like sound. The best animators and motion designers learn to adapt their work and incorporate rhythm and pacing into their process. 

Asking around


Of course, these are all rough guidelines, but it should give you some idea how much other freelance motion graphics designers are charging.

We would also recommend reaching out to the dozens of motion graphics designers on Creativepool for advice not only on charging but on advancing your career.

They all started where you are now, and many will be glad to share their wit and wisdom with you. Of course, others might not, but it certainly can’t hurt to ask. And who knows, you might meet your mentor!

Ultimately, always know your worth though, because you have done a lot of hard work to get to this point in your life and you should be paid accordingly. Stand strong and confident and know that your creativity shouldn’t come cheap.

Header image by Sylvio Abisha


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