Putting an absolute price on logo design is virtually impossible. Pricing varies hugely from one designer or agency to the next.
If you wanted to, you could get a logo for as little $20 using one of the services I’ll discuss later on in this article. On the other end of the spectrum are logos that cost well into the millions of dollars. If you’d like to see what some Companies like Symantec, BP, Accenture, and others paid for their logos then take a look at this article. That makes navigating the market very difficult, doesn’t it?
As a client or customer, determining how much you are willing to pay for a new logo or brand strategy is a difficult task and depends on a bunch of variables. At the end of the day, no matter where (or by whom) you get a logo designed you will end up with a logo when all is said and done.
Will you love the logo you get though? Will it serve your business the way it should? Will you have a great experience working with the agency or designer you choose? These are all very important questions, so how do you make the decision of who to go with and how much you are willing to pay them?
In this article, my goal is to help you to make an informed decision by looking at some factors that, I believe, are extremely valuable in considering who to hire for your logo design project and how much to pay.
Budget first, or value first?
Let’s start by tackling the elephant in the room head-on, shall we?
“But I can get it much cheaper from [insert low budget service name here].”
This is almost always a true statement. There are thousands of designers, online services, and agencies who offer logo design and branding and they are all priced very differently. There is always someone cheaper.
The budget first approach.
For some people, whether due to circumstance or mindset, budget and pricing are the primary deciding factors when embarking on a logo (or any) design project.
Sometimes a business owner is genuinely in a position where they have very little in terms of funds and they need to work with a lower budget. In this circumstantial scenario, a person in this position may be forced to take the low budget route putting them in the budget first category, but not by choice.
For many business owners, budget-based decision making on design projects is a mindset. For one, they may not see the value in a well-designed logo and what it can do for their business and think anything will do as long as they have a logo so they aren’t willing to spend more than the perceived value they have in mind. Alternatively, they may have a preconceived idea of what a logo should cost based on information from their peers and colleagues and are not willing to move from that position.
For people with this mindset, “budget first” is their approach so they will look to make a buying decision based purely on cost. There is no rule that says you shouldn’t be budget-focused when it comes to design and it is completely fine approach your logo project decision in this way. It does, however, mean that you may need to forgo some of the added benefits that a value-based thinker may enjoy when paying more.
If budget is your main concern and you are satisfied to get a logo with very little (if any) added benefits, then below are some of the most popular low-budget options for you to have a look at. Some are even DIY and you can easily create your own logo for a very low cost.
- WIX Logo Maker
- Envato Studio
- 99 Designs
- You can also find a young designer in your local area who has just finished their studies or recently started out as a freelancer. They often charge lower rates in order to get new work in and gain experience.
Before we move on, if you fall into the category of business owners who are constrained by budget but, in reality, are value-based thinkers there are options available to you. One such option is to find an agency or designer who is willing to work out a payment plan and take payments spread over several months.
So before walking away from working with someone who you would like to work with based on your immediate budget, why not ask them if they are willing to work out a payment plan with you? Many great designers and agencies will not move on pricing because they are confident in the value that they provide, but many of the same are willing to work out a plan that works for you.
The value first philosophy.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to the value you get when working with the right people. Working with the right designer or agency can result in a great experience for you and great results for your brand and business. Let’s take a look at what some of these benefits might be.
Skill and experience.
Let’s be honest, higher prices are not always an indication of skill and experience so I would advise some interaction before you can decide if a certain designer or agency is the right fit for you. That being said, people with higher levels of skill and experience do generally charge more.
Let’s think of a scenario in these terms:
A designer just starting out has very little real-world experience and, in most cases, they need to develop their skills and style and find what kind of design work they really like doing and want to focus on. At this point, they have two options to achieve this;
- Get a job as a junior designer in an established agency. Here they will be guided by more senior designers and a creative director which will really help them to improve and grow. At some point, once they have developed sufficiently they may step out in freelancing or starting their own agency.
- For those who have an entrepreneurial spirit, and those who are unable to find an agency job, they will start freelancing. Now they have the problem of finding clients and the most common way they do so is to do a little free work for friends and family and to charge very low prices.
As the designers mentioned above grow in skill and experience the age-old supply and demand situation starts to take effect. As they get more work coming in they realise that they don’t have enough time in the day to do all of it. It’s at this point that they begin raising their prices so that they can earn more for their work. This is the natural progression for most designers so you can see that you are likely to pay more for higher levels of skills and experience.
Designers with more experience also come with the added benefit of being able to advise you and walk with you through decision-making processes when it comes to logo and design projects. They often have very broad knowledge when it comes to different fields of design and understands the many different applications of design. This is super-valuable because they can help and guide you in many areas.
Discovery and research.
Will they find out more than just what colours you like and what other logos you have seen that you like? A logo based purely on your preference is not necessarily a logo that will best serve your business and your customers.
A designer or agency that is concerned with designing and delivering the best logo for your business will want to have as much information as possible with which to work. The best way that I know of to do this is with a face-to-face meeting (in person or over a video call). I like to call this meeting a Discovery Session. In a discovery session, the designer will interview the relevant person in your business and run through a series of questions and exercises designed to uncover as much pertinent information as possible. This info includes (but is not limited to):
- What you like (colour, other logos etc.).
- The vision and values of your business.
- Your ideal customers.
- Your industry.
- Your competitors.
- Your business goals
- And many more…
Furthermore, this type of designer or agency will then research your industry and competitors to gain further insight before embarking on the design work. This research is an important part of the logo design process.
Armed with all of this knowledge and insight, they are now fully equipped to design a logo for you that represents your company and speaks to your audience.
Branding and marketing expertise.
Branding is far more than just the visual aspects of a brand like a logo, typography, colours, and a visual layout style. Brand design, when done correctly, will influence and affect every part of your business. It even determines things like the ‘brand voice’ which is the tone and writing style used for all your communication. This includes vocabulary, sentence structure, and formatting.
A solid brand strategy is integral in reaching the right audience, growing a customer base, and communicating with the world.
An agency that has expertise in brand strategy and development will have these things in mind when working on a logo design project, even if they are not specifically doing a brand development project for you at the time. This is very unlikely to be the case when working with less experienced designers, online services, or DIY solutions.
Many design agencies, or experienced brand designers, also offer marketing services and this can be hugely beneficial to you as a business owner. If they understand marketing they have a much better grasp on how a logo affects and fits into that. They are also in a position to help you come up with a killer tagline (company slogan) that make your business even more memorable.
Networking and business leads.
Designers or agencies who work closely with there clients and are invested in their success will often go out of their way to help because they care. When you work with this type of agency they know who you are and what your business goals are. They know what kind of clients/customers you are looking for and they know when someone is a good fit for you.
This can lead to referrals and connections for you that you would never get from using a packaged online service or a DIY logo creator.
Consider this example:
A commercial lighting manufacturer works with an agency to update their logo. The project goes very well and the relationship is good so they hire the agency again to produce their website and manage it on a month-to-month basis. After a year of working together, the agency begins working with another client. A shop fitting company who also have a website developed and managed monthly.
The agency has a great relationship with both companies and knows their needs well so they realise that the two companies are a good fit for each other. They contact the two companies separately to ask if they would like an introduction. Both agree and the agency sets it up. The lighting manufacturer gets a new customer and the shopfitting company begins a relationship that also brings more work in for them as the lighting people refer them to other customers they supply.
These kinds of relationships are very rare, if not impossible when using a purely online and email-based service.
Someone you can call.
When you use a low-cost online service, all communication is carried out over email or in their specific app interface. The more they are able to ‘productize’ their service the profitable it will be for them and one of the ways that they achieve that is by limiting ways to interact and communicate. There is very little room for discussion and guidance with these services. With them, you are buying a product, not developing a relationship.
For some people that is perfectly good and they are happy with that arrangement and it ends up working very well for them. For others, they may want a more relational experience where they are able to share their dreams, goals, and challenges and for those to be heard and considered in the process.
Having a real person you can call or meet face-to-face with (even on a video call) is extremely valuable. The relationships you build can last well into the future
A long-term partner.
Do you want a product or a partner? If you find a designer or agency that is invested in their clients’ success and is in the business of relationship building rather than just selling a product then you have likely found a long-term partner. The value of working with someone who cares about you and your business cannot be understated.
Someone invested in your success will:
- Introduce you to their network.
- Check up on how things are going with you and your business.
- Get in touch when they hear of opportunities that might benefit or interest you.
- Mention your business in their social media channels.
- Recommend your business when they meet people looking for the product or service you provide (in-person and online).
When deciding who to work with or what service to choose, it’s very important to asses what your expectations and desired experience are and what kind of intangible value you want to experience. It’s important to know if you are looking for a product or a relationship with an invested partner.
Future-proofing and application.
An inexperienced designer will often produce design work based on the latest trend. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there’s a good chance that it could be. Trends can be great, but they change and that means that if you have a logo that is designed to fit a current trend, there is a very good chance that it be ‘out of fashion’ at some point. Then you need to decide if you want to pay for another project to update it or just stick with what you have. If you change it that means it needs to be updated an all of your company stationery, signage, and online presences. That can be a very costly exercise.
On the other hand, going with someone with more experience means that they have seen many trends come and go and they know that while trends can be very cool, trendy design is better used for circumstances other than logo design. The best logos stand the test of time and work in all applications and design scenarios, including being used in designs based on the latest trends. This kind of ‘future-proofing’ of your logo is invaluable. Unfortunately, when a logo is not designed in this way, the realisation often only comes when it’s too late.
Experience also generally means broader knowledge of design application. Will your designer have apparel, print, and web experience? If not, you might find that you end up with a logo that doesn’t work well in some of these applications. Imagine you get a logo that you think looks really great but it is designed as a full-colour logo with gradients and supplied to you as digital files and with no one-colour option. You may have no idea that a logo like that will either not work as a print on a t-shirt or that if you do decide to make apparel at some point that you may have to pay for a 5-colour screenprint rather than 1 or 2-colour one. The price difference is significant! This is just one example but there are many more.
Sometimes paying more, means saving in the long-run. You don’t want to pay for a logo redesign/update in a year or two because a trend came and went, or because your logo doesn’t work on apparel. Experience can help you avoid situations like these.
Can they give you more than ‘just a logo’?
A logo is a very important part of your business. It’s what identifies it and makes it recognisable and memorable in a sea of businesses. So it is very important to have a logo whether you had one designed by a low-cost online service or a more experienced designer or agency. There is far more to branding, marketing, and business in general though. And it’s important to consider whether the designer of your logo can offer you more than ‘just a logo’.
My advice is that, if you can, you should go for a full brand development and strategy project that includes discovery, development, design, and delivery. A logo is an included deliverable in such a project but it also come with a comprehensive brand guide, stationery, and other deliverables.
Consider these questions:
Will you get a basic guide showing you how to use your logo and what is okay and not okay to do with it? Are they able to help you with a full brand development and strategy exercise that will shape your entire design and marketing strategy going forward? Can they build you an incredible website that generates leads for your business and acts as a marketing machine?
It might not seem like a big deal but when you have a partner who knows your brand intimately and can provide an array of services to you it becomes as close to having your own design marketing department as you can get without actually having such a department internally.
I think that with any logo design project you should be provided with the following as a minimum:
- At least get a basic guide showing you how to use the logo.
- Every common filetype you might need for various applications like web and print (including large format printing).
- Different logo orientations (square, portrait, landscape).
- Options with and without the company name and tagline.
- Options for full colour, one colour, and grayscale and/or black and white
- Options that work on a light background and on a dark background.
Keep all of this in mind when you are talking with designers and when you are deciding on who to hire and how much to pay for your new logo or branding project.
Lastly. Don’t give minor effort to a major goal.
Before you choose who you will go with to design your logo for you, ask yourself if the emphasis you are giving to the project is in line with the goals you have for the future of your business. The effort and budget you put towards your brand and logo should match your goals!
Do you want to be a small, local business with only a few customers? If that’s the case then that’s great. There are many awesome small, local business that service their customers well and are perfectly happy with the way they do business and have no aspirations to grow or franchise. If that is your goal then maybe a low-budget logo is a perfectly fine decision for you.
If you have goals and aspirations to become a national or global business, or will be operating in an industry with fierce competition, then I say put in effort and finances to match. You need to stand out from the crowd and reach the right people and for most businesses, that doesn’t happen by chance.
I know that decisions like these can be very daunting so I really hope that this article has helped you to understand your options better and that it will help you to make an informed decision going forward.
Thank you so much for reading the entire article! I wish you all the best for the future your business and for your logo project – whoever it may be that you decide to trust with designing your logo!