How much should a logo design really cost?
It’s a question I get asked and honestly, ask myself quite often. People don’t get how agencies and designers can charge tens of thousands of dollars or more for what might appear to amount to a simple graphic. One of my favorite stories is about Paul Rand designing a logo for Steve Jobs back in the 80’s for $100,000. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t even the Apple logo. That was designed in 1977 by Rob Janoff.
The NEXT logo is an obscure piece of digital art that I wasn’t even aware existed throughout my design career until a few years ago. The value it held to Jobs was undeniable though.
“After looking through the brand bible, engrossed with typography and romantic ideals, Steve stood up, looked at Paul and asked, “Can I hug you?” The two embraced – a sacred seal formed; peace on earth. Clearly, he was satisfied with the quest’s conclusion.”
So, what would I consider a fair and reasonable price to pay for something so apparently valuable? The short answer is, “it depends.” Unfortunately, rates can vary a lot and as a layman you may not understand the market or the value of the work.
Here are a few things to consider when weighing money against the perceived value of your future logo.
What do you get?
Part of the answer lies in what you get as final artwork. What is the end result? Did the designer shoot you over a tiny JPG image and leave it at that? Or did you get more than one file type? Did you get a style guide with the design?
Another important consideration is usage rights. Did they sign copyright over to you or do they retain that? If they retain those rights, it’s not your logo. You won’t ever be able to register or trademark that graphic as your own. Maybe they just don’t make a stink over it, but you should. Make sure you get it in writing that you get 100% of that copyright and that they get permission to use it in their portfolio.
What you get packaged up and sent to you (and how) has a lot to do with whether the price is worth it.
Where did you get it and who designed it?
Did you find a random designer on Fiverr? Maybe your father-in-law knew a guy who’s cousin did graphic design. Or, you could have done a bit of research and found a reputable agency or freelancer to work on it.
These are important things to consider. You might save a good amount of cash on a Fiverr designer, but are you sure what you’re getting is well thought out and original? Who are their references? If you Google some of their previous logos, do you find that they’re used by more than one business?
I don’t go in for job boards or “gig culture.” I think you should have a conversation (or three) with the guy who’s about to define your entire brand and walk away with your hard earned money.
What is it worth to you?
No, this is not a trick question. Think about it. A good designer is going to spend hours, sometimes days (depending on their process) researching, sketching, concepting and tweaking this logo. You’re likely going to send it back for a few revisions (I include 3 revisions). They have to essentially be able to either read your mind or know the craft well enough to know which questions to ask to make the process as efficient as possible.
Then take into consideration that this mark is going to represent a business that has the potential to make you a great deal of money. Think of it this way for a minute. You produce a widget that makes your customer $1M. That customer only paid you $100 for this bobble. Is that really reasonable? Add to that the fact that you only design a logo like that once for any one client. It’s kind of a one off gig.
Maybe you can see why some designers insist on charging thousands of dollars for a well designed mark.
You get what you pay for, but you should get what you want.
You can get a logo for nothing or you can spend millions of dollars on it. What you need to remember is that this mark will likely be with you for years to come. Hopefully with minimal changes. It will represent your business history and future path.
When you’re working with the designer you should make sure you’re getting exactly what you want and not settling. Have your designer outline exactly how many concepts / revisions you’ll get. What the final artwork will include and who gets to use the logo for what purpose. If any of it doesn’t feel right to you then you should renegotiate.
Then again, if you’re only paying $100 for a logo some one created in Microsoft Word, you might deserve whatever you get.
Contact me to find out more about my branding and logo design services or download the pricing guide here
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