How much does UI design cost?

Dec 11, 2023

Get insights on UI/UX design costs and what factors into the budget for your digital project's interface with heartbeat's expert analysis.

UI design is value delivered through design. Interfaces that resonate with user needs and drive action.

In this article, we're going to breakdown what the costs go into, and where the value comes from. These 2 points are the key drivers in how much UI design costs.

Understanding UI/UX design costs:

When it comes to UI/UX design, especially in SaaS, the costs can be as varied as the designs themselves. They usually range from $5,000 to $10,000, but what exactly drives these numbers?

Most common UI/UX Jobs

We looked through the most common UI/UX jobs - throughout the United States and their average salary.

Based on 12 of the most common UI/UX states, this is the data we found:

ServiceDescriptionAverage Hourly Rate
Usability TestingThis involves real testing with actual users post-design to identify areas of confusion, problems, or smooth experiences.$19-40
User ResearchDesigners research to understand target personas by exploring their needs, behaviours, and motivations through interviews, surveys, and evaluations.$25 - $49
UX StrategyBefore beginning design work, a detailed plan or workflow is crafted to outline each area of focus to achieve the client’s objectives.$30-50

What factors go into UI & UX? Let's break down the most common UI/UX tasks.

Factor 1: feature planning

In app development, feature planning is key. For example, Alkimiya aimed to innovate in the DeFi space with a unique asset class. Some founders come with detailed app visions, while others need to refine their ideas. Alkimiya worked with designers to plan user journeys and features, including payment systems. This necessary collaboration helps ensure the app meets user needs and market demands.

Factor 2: number of features

The number of features affects design complexity and cost. For Alkimiya, each feature, from brand story to UX/UI design, added complexity. More features mean more screens, needing more design time and resources. This was clear in Alkimiya's project, which included visual identity, website creation, and motion design.

Factor 3: feature complexity

In UI/UX design, complexity isn’t just about quantity; it’s about the intricacy of each feature. Alkimiya's project, for instance, involved not just basic design elements but also sophisticated components tailored for the DeFi community. This included creating a UI kit and developing intricate illustrations. Complex features demand more design expertise and time, thus influencing the overall cost. heartbeat’s process showcases how they tackle such complexities, balancing user-friendly design with the technical requirements of a sophisticated DeFi platform.

Factor 4: complexity of design elements

The style and complexity of design elements significantly affect costs. Alkimiya's visual identity needed to reflect its innovative nature, balancing minimalistic and complex interactive designs like animations. Choosing between simple or detailed designs impacts costs. For insights, exploring heartbeat’s approach offers perspectives on managing visual complexity in UI/UX design.

Design elementCheap design with simple elementsExpensive design with complex elements
Icons, buttons, illustrationsReused from other projects or bought from stocks Made from scratch
Design elementsStatic Dynamic, animated when a user interacts with them
Branding strategyClearly defined branding strategy — designers won’t have to create it from the ground upNo branding strategy — designers have to go through several iterations to suit client’s needs
UI KitThe client already has a UI-kitNo UI-kit — designers create one themselves

how to estimate the price of a UI/UX project

Estimating the cost of a UI/UX project involves a methodical approach, considering various factors that influence the final price. At heartbeat, we follow a structured process to provide an accurate estimate for an app or website design.

Step 1: plan out epics

Epics represent key segments of the user's journey and are essential in UI/UX design. Our team begins with thorough market research and information gathering, crucial for crafting a detailed design project. Epics helps our designers and project managers envision the user's navigation path across websites and apps, forming the backbone of our design strategy. Learn more about our approach to project planning at heartbeat's process page.

Step 2: identify user stories and states

The next step is breaking down each epic into more detailed user stories. These stories are specific steps in the user's journey, guiding the implementation of app features. This stage is critical in determining the number and complexity of the screens required, influencing the overall design scope. We thoroughly outline these elements, ensuring that every aspect of the user experience is addressed.

Step 3: estimate a timeframe

Finally, our business analysts and designers estimate the time needed to design each screen or page, considering the defined epics and user stories. This includes mapping out user flow, creating wireframes, and addressing all states of the app. The timeframe estimation is a crucial step, as it directly impacts the project's cost. For insights into how we balance time and quality in our designs, visit heartbeat's UI/UX design page.

heartbeat's ui/ux design impact

Our Goal: In the heart of cities like San Mateo, Bengaluru, and Toronto, our team transforms UI/UX design into a powerful tool for connection. With a portfolio that includes projects ranging from dynamic websites to immersive branding strategies, we're telling brand stories one design at a time.

Discover the heartbeat difference in UI/UX design at heartbeat. We're more than designers; we're your strategic partners in crafting digital excellence.


How much does UI/UX design typically cost?

The cost for UI/UX design can vary significantly, usually ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. This variation depends on the complexity and scope of the project.

What factors influence the cost of UI/UX design?

Several key factors affect the cost, including the extent of feature planning, the number and complexity of the features, the visual complexity of the design, and the expertise level of the design team.

How can I estimate the cost of UI/UX design for my project?

To estimate the cost, you should first map out the main features and user stories of your project. Then, calculate the time required for designing each aspect of the user journey. Finally, multiply this time by the hourly rate of your design team.

Does a more complex design always mean a higher cost?

Generally, yes. More complex designs require more time and expertise, which can increase the cost. This includes intricate features, advanced animations, and unique visual elements. However, the final cost also depends on the efficiency and methodology of your design team.

Key takeaways - Summary:

  • The price and the time needed for UI/UX design can range widely, typically between $5,000 and $10,000.

  • Critical elements influencing the cost include the planning of features, the quantity and intricacy of these features, the visual complexity of the design, and the skill level of the design team.

  • To accurately gauge the cost for a specific project, it's necessary to outline the main features and user experiences, assess the time required for designing each part of the user journey, and then apply the design team's hourly rate to these calculations.