Why Logos Don’t Cost $10

Show Me the Money

Logo design. It’s probably the most lucrative design services a designer can offer and can also be the most costly. Whenever I’m approached to do a logo design for someone, I have to admit – I cringe. Not because I hate doing logos because they can offer a design challenge worth taking on but because no one really knows what a good logo costs.

For clients, a logo is just another design task. Often logos come into play when someone has a great idea for a business and wants to be an entrepreneur and set off on their own. That’s great! If you have a great product or service, by all means, set off and start your own business and pursue it. With any new business comes the marketing and identity. The first thing most people seek is a logo. Even before they’ve truly thought things out, it seems natural for many to at least have a logo to show off when you’re trying to get your business off the ground. There are other situations when a logo design comes up. Sometimes people look for a new identity after years in the business and want to ditch their old logo. For others, perhaps there’s a special event or a new website that needs a better logo than the one you have or have been using.

Here comes the problem – how much does a logo cost? Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different responses. The client will say that $100 for a logo is pushing it. A designer may not even consider doing a logo for less than $200, and that’s on the low end of the scale. Some clients will even say that $25 or $75 is a reasonable amount for a logo. Who’s right?

Here’s my opinion – the right price is dependent on the quality of the design you want. You know that old saying of “you are what you eat?” It applies to design as well because you get what you pay for. Cheap design isn’t effective. It’s just that – cheap, quick, dirty and not well thought out. Good design costs money and has great value. A good designer knows that an effective logo is one that works well when blown up to fit on an 8×11 sheet of paper and one that works just as well when it’s the size of your thumbnail. Seriously. A good designer will use a font that’s readable and clean, that knows an overly-complicated logo makes for a messy design all together.

Designing a logo also takes time. Rarely is a good logo developed overnight. There’s the conceptual stage; the design stage; revisions; testing it out on your potential audience and tweaking and refining the logo until it’s really as good as it can possibly be. Therefore, a good logo doesn’t cost you $10 – it’ll probably cost a couple hundred of dollars if you are working with a good designer.

Non-designers will probably roll their eyes at this. A couple hundred dollars JUST for a logo?! Outrageous! But not so fast. Think about the value of your logo – it’s usually your visual introduction to your clients and audience. A logo visually speaks volumes about your company or product, it’s sometimes the first impression a person has of you and your business and it’s something that you aren’t just going to use once. Your logo will be all over the place including online, on paper, in print, on the top of letters, stitched into clothing and in many more places and different platforms. So, how would you feel if you’re trying to sell your product and are representing it with a $10 logo? You’d probably feel a bit embarrassed to admit that you’re asking someone to pay tons of money for your product when you can’t even bring yourself to pay for a decent logo.

And trust me, cheap logos look cheap. Some people may shake their heads in disagreements but someone with an eye for design can spot a cheap, quick and dirty design. Your customers aren’t stupid, either. If they’re looking at your logo and stacking it up against other well-known brands, they’ll notice a striking difference and will go for the company who’s logo looks the best.

Why do logos cost so much? First, copyright issues. A designer is creating a piece of work that you plan on taking and making money from. For weeks after you get the logo. For months afterward. Years! Decades! A good logo will help sell your business and product and isn’t something you want to change every season or much at all. That’s why you’re spending money upfront to basically ensure that the logo you purchase and have designed best suits your business and represents you well. Second, think of company’s like Nike or McDonalds. These established brands have had the same logo for decades. Someone had to design that logo and they made a decent profit from it. The reason logo design is a bit pricey because the artist is releasing to you a valuable design that he or she is agreeing to sign over and give to you to use as you please. Part of a logo design’s price is the ownership being transferred over to the client and business.

Designers – the price of a logo ultimate comes down to you. You can design a logo for any price you feel is suitable based on the amount of time and effort you’re going to put into it and with the fair warning that you never know what will happen with a business you’re designing for. They could just as easily succeed and grow into a nation-wide known company. They could just as easily never take off beyond the development stage, meaning your work and logo never will make an impact or be noticed. It’s very much a “choose your own adventure” type of situation that’s all up to you. But choose wisely – a wrong decision could end up costing you as much money as you’re charging for the design.

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