How Much Does Logo Design Cost?

How much does logo design cost? It’s the question we get asked the most here at Canny Creative.

People also love asking:

“How much does graphic design cost?” And it is possibly the most open ended question in the industry.

“How long is a piece of string?” It’s the same answer.

There are so many different types of design, from branding and logo design through to web design and e-commerce platforms. To answer the question accurately, it’s best if we to narrow the scope of the question down to “How much does logo design cost?”

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This is one of the questions that I get asked at Canny on a daily basis.

For example:

Just yesterday, the office phone rang “How much do you charge for a logo mate?” Sometimes, the caller doesn’t like the answer.

I get that a lot:

“REALLY!? More than £50 for a logo design, are you kidding? I can get my nephew’s dog’s cat to do it on Microsoft Publisher for a box of sweets.”

Then why on earth are you approaching a professional graphic design agency?

Some people really don’t like to talk about money. For them, it’s a dodgy subject, and those are the people that I try to avoid working with. If there are secrets in regards to the budget, I often find that the client is trying to scope out the cheapest deal, not the best service. These are not the sort of people that I would like to work with. I want to work with people that are looking for the best ROI (return on investment). And that’s exactly how design should be looked at, as an investment.

In the social media age, I often see people offering logo design for less than £10. That is downright ridiculous and in this post I’m going to look at; the reasons that logo design shouldn’t just cost £10, why professional graphic designers don’t charge £10 for a logo design and why you and your business need to invest in professional logo design. And don’t forget, while this post will focus specifically on logo design, this reasoning applies across the design industry as a whole.

What is a Logo? And What Does it Do?

To understand the importance of a professional logo design, we first need to understand what a logo actually is and what it is used for.

A logo design is often the first communication potential customers have with your brand, and as the old expression goes, “first impressions last”. Why not put that first impression in the hands of a professional? Professional logo design will bring instant recognition to your brand, company, charity or other venture. Logo designs aren’t just for businesses. Sometimes, you may need to invest in your brand rather than a standalone logo design. If you’re unsure what branding is, take a look at this post.

One of my favourite outlooks on logo design is the Twitter egg analogy. When you’re a new Twitter user, you’re given an egg as an avatar. Now, some people never bother to change these to a logo or image that represents their business. In essence, they stay faceless. People don’t want to buy from an egg, they want to buy from well branded and successful looking businesses.

Here’s a saying to ponder:

“The restaurant with the longest queue is worth waiting for”. Their reputation precedes them. People know they’re successful, and know what they’re getting, just by the way things look. That is what your logo design should do for you. Instant recognition, always.
That being said, people still hire “logo designers” (aka, people who have just learned to use Adobe Photoshop – the wrong programme for logo design) for pennies or worse still, run logo design competitions.

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Design Competitions, Crowdsourcing and Spec Work

One of the biggest threats to the design industry at the minute is the rise of spec work and crowdsourcing. “Spec” work is short for work completed on a speculative basis, i.e “you design me a logo and I’ll pay you if I like it”. This has to stop. Design is a profession and should be treat as such.

Then there’s crowdsourcing. About six months ago, I wrote a post called 5 Reasons Not to Crowdsource Your Design Projects and what I wrote then, still stands today. Briefly, by crowdsourcing your logo design you’re essentially condoning people working for free and devaluing the design industry. And above all that, you need a professional to make sure your brand is represented in the best possible way.

So, what’s the problem with people running logo design contests when there is a prize at the end? It’s the same principle. For every winner of a logo design competition, there are ten times as many losers, who ultimately, have ended up putting in their time and effort for nothing. It’s the same as above but on a bigger scale. Lots of people enter, only the “best” logo designer gets paid. Not exactly fair is it? Would you go to work for free?

The Problem With Cheap Logo Design

Now that we have a better understanding of logo design and some of the rising threats surrounding it, let’s take a look at the sort of quality you can expect from cheap logo designers (£10-£150) and logo design competitions.

The following screenshot may cause offence to professional designers or people that have any sort of moral compass. Have a look, then I’ll dissect it.

42Gag Logo Design Competition

The first thing to notice about this competition, ran over on Freelancer Contests (another blot on the design industry radar), is the disgustingly low “prize”. €20EUR at today’s exchange rate is £17.12. That falls short of the hourly rate that I charge for design work. For that price, a client would get about 35 minutes of my time. It’s only roughly 3 hours of UK minimum wage. Which leads me to my next thought, “if you pay peanuts you get monkeys”.

The next most offensive thing is the overall quality (and I use that word very very loosely) of the design work produced. You can see, just by looking quickly, that these weren’t designed by professional logo designers. This is one of the key problems with logo design competitions and crowd sourcing, anybody can enter.

The winning entry is average. It’s not exactly exciting or particularly original, it just happens to be a lot better than the rest of the entries.

Another thing to bear in mind here is that the only brief the designers have is a “logo design for sciency but funny image site”. That’s very vague and isn’t going to bring in the best sort of results. Your designer should be fully invested in making the best logo they can for your business and I’d expect a professional to be going into a little more depth than that.

Ask yourself the following questions about the submitted logo designs:

  • How many of the logos make a great first impression?
  • Can you describe any of them?
  • If you had to draw one in 5 seconds, could you?
  • Are they scalable?

Professional Logo Design

Now take a look at the following logo designs and go over the questions from above again. Notice the difference?

Professional Logo Design Done Right

Why are they so different? These logos (with the exception of the Nike swoosh – that’s for a different post altogether) were created by professional logo designers. The Coca Cola and Pepsi logos have existed in a form similar to what they have now for 100 years or more, they’re iconic and people recognise them, which is exactly what you need from your logo. You have to make that first impression count.

Here’s the deal:

A design process that ends with a particularly great logo design is a long one (and it certainly costs more than £10). Our logo design process looks something like this:

  • Design Brief & Discussion: The designer has a meeting with, talks to and interviews the client to help flesh out the project design brief.
  • Research: The graphic designer begins to research the client’s company, their competitors and the industry that they’re part of. During this section of the process, existing and successful logos in the client’s industry will also be researched.
  • Sketches & Concepts: The designer then begins to sketch out ideas and concepts for the logo. These are then shown to the client.
  • Mockups: The approved concept(s) are taken and developed into something more solid for reflection.
  • Reflection: The mockups are put aside for several days and then revisited once the mind is clear and the ideas have matured a little. This allows for extra focus and highlights things that weren’t apparent before.
  • Presentation: After the reflection, the final logo is completed alongside any other parts of the project. Once the final instalment is paid, the required logo files are handed over to the client.
  • Breath a Sigh of Relief: Then the designer grabs a beer and enjoys the nice rewarding feeling that comes with signing of a project that you’re proud of.

A lot more than £10’s worth of effort and work goes into creating a logo that makes the right first impression, looks great and will stand the test of time. Don’t you agree?

Where in the World Are You?

The cost of logo design really depends where in the World that you are, and where your chosen design agency is based. If you’re not sure how to choose a design agency, think about this:

  • Is proximity important to me?
  • How good is their portfolio?
  • Am I looking for the best price or the best work? (Hint: it should be the latter!)

Logo design prices in the UK are always going to be much higher than the cost of logo design in India. The cost of living in each country differs so significantly, that it would be impossible for UK based agencies to compete on price.

What Does Your Logo Design Project Involve?

There’s a reason that professional agencies don’t price their work off a logo design price sheet.

Each and every project is different.

Think about it:

Designing a logo for a “mom-and-pop cafe” is a completely different undertaking to designing a logo for a huge corporate entity.

And often, when people ask us about the costs involved in a logo design project, they actually need to work on their entire brand identity.

Sometimes companies need to rebrand, other times they’re creating brands from scratch. And again, this is completely different from a single standalone logo project.

Not sure what branding involves? Take a look at this article about business branding.

Your business is completely different to your neighbour’s business. And that’s why design agencies don’t work from a standard graphic design price list.

How Much Does Professional Logo Design Cost?

Companies should expect to spend between £500 and £1000 on a well designed professional logo. Towards the lower end of that scale, you’re looking at a simple logo design such as a word mark, or text based logo. As your logo design budget increases so does the complexity of the work. More intricate work may take place with the logo, or perhaps an icon or logo mark will be created to sit alongside your company name.

However, there is no set figure and each logo design price can vary greatly. It’s hard to give an estimate without a detailed brief. Everybody charges something different. But, I’m not a total cop out and I don’t want you to go away from this article without having even a rough idea of what sort of pricing to expect.

If you were to come to Canny Creative (remember, we’re only a relatively new graphic design agency) and ask for a quote for a single logo design, you’d get a reply telling you that we advise our clients to invest a minimum of £500 to £700 but ideally £1000+ into their logo design and brand identity. We won’t work on a logo design for any less than that. And no, your goldfish’s owner’s brother’s daughter’s mother couldn’t do it for cheaper and better, because they’re not a professional graphic designer!

A close friend of mine, had has this to say about pricing logo designs:

“I always advise them that their logo is a crucial par of their business and should be treated as such. As a rule of thumb I would always advise someone has a minimum budget of £500 but in an ideal world something in the region of £1,000+ is a safer option to ensure that enough time can be spent on the logo that they can be confident it will be something they will be happy with.”

Then there are people like Jacob Cass, Graham “I’m Just Creative” Smith and David Airey who advise bigger budgets such as £1250-£15,000+. Admittedly, with prices over the £6000+ mark then you’re looking at more than just a logo design.

Don’t forget that these are ball park figures but they should give you an idea about what you should be looking to invest if you’re serious about getting your venture off to the best start.

To get an accurate quote for your logo design, it would be advisable to contact a graphic designer or design agency and have them draw up a custom quote for your project. That is the only way that you’ll know for sure how much your logo design will cost you. How you choose your design agency is a different matter altogether.

If you’re ready to start your logo design project, you can get a free quote from Canny Creative by contacting us or you may want to check out our design portfolio first. If you don’t want to work with us, then by all means, do shop around, just don’t crowd source your design work or run a “competition”!

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What do you think? Does logo design cost more than £10? Is it ever worth having a cheap logo design?

Tony Hardy is the Founder and CEO of Canny Creative. He is a graphic designer, web designer, brand consultant, blogger, Newcastle based entrepreneur, drummer, and wrestling fan.

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73 comments on “How Much Does Logo Design Cost?

  1. Mark on

    I totally get the working for free is bad, and designers should stand up to it thread, but I think you’ve illustrated it all wrong. All you’ve proven by using this contest as an example is that a load of unskilled designers, got the chance to sell a poor design for little money, and in return a website who weren’t willing to shell out got a substandard product.

    Let’s remember that whilst well established companies are able to afford well established design firms, budding startups may only be able to pay budding designers. This firm getting a logo may not have been facilitated by traditional means.

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Hi Mark, thanks for the comments. A load of unskilled designers weren’t able to sell their designs, as only one actually received any money? I think maybe the point could do with some further illustrating. Any suggestions?

      I agree that budget constraints can be a problem for startup companies. However, just as they’re willing to pay out for other startup costs, surely they should factor design into that budget too? Rather than just opting for a cheap option because they “have no money”, when in actuality, they could allocate budget at the beginning for it too. Design as an investment?

      I’d love to hear your further thoughts.

      Reply
      • Ilana Kemp on

        Intervening, hey, I haven’t been in the industry for very long +/- 5 years, but I’ve learned quickly that companies don’t realize the importance of a well designed logo. They are not educated enough on the presentation of their company to realize that a logo is the sole essence of your marketing and becomes your identity.

        We as designers might want to start investing in a future where we educate people that design is an investment, because at the moment, they aren’t going to realize it themselves.

        I’m not against the design websites and the unskilled designers because it gives you a chance to get your work out there for criticism, which is how we, as designers, grow and learn. I understand that it can become a problem when the younger and inexperienced designers don’t learn and instead design to the target markets ‘wants’ rather than to their ‘needs’ and what looks right and is right.

        Reply
        • Tony Hardy on

          Hi Ilana, thanks a lot for your comment. Compromising your company’s identity for the sake of a few hundred pound isn’t a good idea/return on investment. Educating people is the only way forward. What I’m doing now is pointing potential new clients towards this post and hoping for a positive response! So far, it appears to be working.

          Reply
  2. Sarah on

    Hello from across the pond.

    Thank you for this blog. It’s like you said exactly what so many professional designers are feeling. I have constantly dealt with this. I even tried a couple of the “logo competitions” to see how that worked. Well I was really disappointed to see all of those designers working in direct competition for so little pay. Needless to say the customer was not always inclined to choose wisely because there was no guidance involved.

    Many customers need help defining their identity. In that case a designer can be helpful an creating a mood in which a logo can be designed to express the nature of the business.

    Most of the competition for those logo designs are coming from oversees where minimum wage is a couple of dollars a week. Admittedly, if I lived in such a place and had access to make a months wage with one logo I would be all for it.

    It’s all good though. There is a reason 90% of all business don’t make it. Part if the reason could be €20 logo designs an €150 web sites. No investment into their image.

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Hi Sarah, thank you for the comments on my post. I’m glad you enjoyed it and thought it was good enough to share about! If people started looking into design as an investment rather than “urgh, best get myself a logo made” then they’d have more profitable businesses. You can’t tell them though, people just outright refuse to listen.

      Twitter is one of my biggest annoyances. People wanting (and offering) free logo designs for everyone and anyone. These people have probably just learned how to use a piece of computer software and are dishing out logos like they’re nothing. Not considerate at all and total disrespect for the industry.

      Reply
  3. Eve on

    Hi Tony,
    some very interesting points. I also get asked how much for a five page website for example, then I have to say depends what features you want and there is also paying my designer too, as I concentrate on development. Of course, businesses do often start on a low budget and then if successful move up and improve their website over time, depending on their turnover and ambition. I do understand not every business can afford the top rate for a top job but often they forget the time that goes into it, not just the skills. Often they don`t even think of branding and identity. I often see websites advertised for as low as £80 and when I think it takes at least several weeks for a good website to come together and a fair amount of discussion I feel some despair. What`s worse is when it is from UK based companies and not the poorer sectors. Plus add to that the amount of scamming going on. I have tracked several companies professing to do top quality work but actually using a wordpress theme, for example, it can make me a bit angry. There are people in it for a quick buck or totally inept everywhere these days. Great blog you got here.

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Hi Eve,

      Thank you for the comment on my post. I’m considering doing a How Much Is Web Design? post or similar too. If I do that, I’ll be sure to email you to get some quotes for the article! Seeing websites designed as low as £80 really annoys me. I also hate seeing site advertise as “4 pages for x amount” as basically, that’s an odd way to price a job. Home, Contact, Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions, then what? No more website content? Seems a bit “scammy.”

      Reply
  4. Brigitte on

    Hi Tony,

    Great article. It is reassuring to know that other professional designers are going through the same thing. I agree that educating others is the way forward. It is getting them to listen and understand that the design process is not all about using the software that is the difficult part. The most essential tool in any design is still creative thinking.

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      People always think if you can use Photoshop, you’re a designer. Even some of my friends…”well you just throw logos together in Photoshop, dead easy.” For a start, they’re on the wrong software package! Anyway, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Do you have a blog?

      Reply
  5. Darren on

    Very interesting topic – made an excellent read, I was particularly interested in your comments on crowd sourcing websites. Sites such as these are driving down the market, people who don’t know any better trawl these sites and assume that the prices they see are the ‘going rate’, i’ve seen just about everything you can think of at the going rate of a tenner, it’s ridiculous.

    I’m starting to find my feet in this industry but for me at least it seems to be incredibly difficult to find good clients that are prepared to pay for quality work. Often I have had conversations with potential clients that have mentioned ‘but I can get it for this rate at (insert name here).com.

    The people behind these sites are rinsing the industry for all it’s worth – something needs to change.

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Hi Darren, thanks for taking the time out of your day to comment. Crowd sourcing design work is a hot topic in the industry. It’s always going to happen, so what we need to do, is work out ways to counter it. How can we encourage business owners to see the value in what we do? That’s the tricky part!

      Reply
  6. Sean on

    As designers we should all unite to charge at least the minimum price, but then again this will be impossible, there will always be ones that will charge below average and there will always be clients to love those kind of offers. I say there is a crowd for everything, high end and low end design.

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Thank you for the comment. It would be nice if there was a minimum price but I fear we’re always going to be undercut by low end designers, but then, if you’re high end, and they’re low end, is there a worry?

      Reply
  7. Kirk Overmyers on

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. Most of the above comments appear to be made by graphic designers like yourself. As a creative director of a largish fashion house I have worked many years subtly (and sometimes not so..) trying to educate others that freelance ain’t “free”. I agree 110% with your sentiment – good design is an investment- however I would note that most start-ups require some degree of graphic design work done before actually garnering investment. From experience venture capitalist firms and even private investors absolutely expect at a minimum that the start-up is branded. It is part of the whole courting, persuasion and education process . These days to even make ground with the smallest request of seed capital you are going to need a serious amount of design work done, (logo, info graphics, layouts, keynote animations and possibly even short video production) before even seeing a cent. Rarely will any investor even give you the time to present your actual ‘idea’ if they are not attracted or enticed by its “packaging”. Anyway, just food for thought. It is a bit of a vicious cycle when considered from that perspective. I was part of a USD 11M capital raise and by far our biggest key to its success was the fact that we took on an art-director/ GD as an equity partner early on in the process. None of us could afford to buy groceries for 12 months let alone pay for the design work that needed doing to ‘impress’ potential investors. We were fortunate to find talent willing to work on equity terms most entrepreneurs do not have that luxury.. THAT SAID- UP AND RUNNING “earning'” BUSINESSES HAVE NO BLOODY EXCUSE.. Just thoughts..

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Hi Kirk, thank you for the great and insightful comment! What’s the name of the fashion house you’re working with? I think educating the public about the cost of good design is a losing battle, but something we can all pitch in on and try and win. I try and avoid the clients that don’t have a budget, or want to pay tuppence. It’s not worth the hassle!

      Reply
  8. Dionna L. Hayden on

    Well said! You pulled all the words out of my head. I’ve been a graphic designer for about 10 years and this topic is one that needs constant educating and explaining.

    I agree 1,000%! there is a lack of understanding that visual identity should be just as much as an investment as the tangibles such as office supplies, permits and etc. It takes great design leadership from a pro to break it down to clients. I found over the years that some clients appreciate and eventually make the investment for quality rather than their first instinct to go cheap. For those who still didn’t (or don’t want to) “get it”, I learned that we can’t allow it to become our problem, but maintain our standards and move on to the next client that will.

    Great article!!!

    Reply
  9. Stefan Maerz on

    Sure there is A LOT of truth to this article, but comparing a series of logos that collectively have billions of dollars of marketing branding vs a crappy logo design contest is a little disingenuous imo.

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Hi Stefan. Thanks for your comments! And yes – I take your point onboard, I was using the logo contest to make a point. Not all brands need billions spent, but a sensible amount does help.

      Reply
  10. Theodosis Nikiforidis on

    Hello Tony,

    Your article surely gave food for thought to many people. I am actually an architect and my basic source of income is 3d design and visualization so I can see this matter from a slightly different scope. Though I agree with most of the things you said, there is still a significant factor that was not taken into account and imho is the one that has the most impact on this matter. It is the fact that though nowadays the actual economical borders are diminished the inequality between countries has further increased. Though I agree that a professional logo in UK should cost around 500 in Pakistan or Indonesia a similar logo (in terms of design quality) would cost 50. The question of course is why does this goes this way and not the other. Why a brilliant designer from pakistan that could easily claim thousands for his work does not realize this potential??? I’m not sure….

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Hi Theodosis, thank you for your the really well thought out comment. Economical borders and inequality is a subject all of it’s own blog post. If you’re interested in sharing more thoughts about it, I’d love to chat with you?

      Reply
  11. Grace on

    I think that it’s really lame that designers are expected to work for next to nothing with these new freelance sites, but I think it’s part of a much larger fundamental problem with the world we live in today. While we cannot do the same with lawyers or chefs, there are a range of industries where people are working without pay. It ranges from the problem of movie piracy to big supermarkets paying very little to farmers for their produce. There is such a divide between the wealthy and the poor and everyone is clinging on for a buck. The internet is a quagmire of desperadoes and wannabes, everyday people trying to start a new business. The more access there is the harder it becomes for them to succeed, and while there are ways to purchase cheap logos, and many many other cheap things it wont guarantee them any place in the money making world. The question maybe we should be asking ourselves is, what could we do to help them?

    Reply
  12. Mayur Wadhave on

    I am working for a designing agency as a business development manager and I face the same reactions from clients (“Realy”!)
    It’s really difficult to make them understand the importance of a logo design.
    I really liked this post, thank you.

    Reply
  13. Parul on

    I am an architect and have recently started freelancing. I am from some of the ‘poorer’ regions if you would call India that. I know I am working on an international platform and should charge the same as others and I do. Problem is that people would tell me its too much. I don’t even take up actual Design work because I am sure most would not pay what I ask of them and I don’t do half baked designs.
    I also dabble in graphic design and it is really difficult to get people to understand that they need a proper design input something random. When they do understand that they seem to run out of money.

    Reply
  14. Side by Side Creative on

    I found this blog through searching for ‘average cost for branding’. I’d be really interested to get an overall view of how average branding costs vary from being in London to further North where overheads are lower. FYI Tony we look to charge £1000+VAT as a minimum. There’s a lack of honesty in designers, I’d love to see what they all really charge! Dave.

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Thanks for comment Dave. I think there is a lack of transparency with designers and design agencies, something we strive to be is 100% transparent. Where are Side by Side based?

      Reply
  15. Chris Orrick on

    Hi everyone – Tony, I do absolutely agree with your main argument about businesses spending a ‘decent’ amount of money on correct logo branding. But if you look at the people that will ‘typically’ be looking for a logo – these will be people who are in start-up phase and while £500 may be a great investment if you’re business is doing OK, many people who arguably need a logo may struggle to justify a £500 spend on a logo especially when there are so many competing requirements on the budget.

    But on the whole – a great article!!

    Chris

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Thanks Chris. It’s one of those things where it will never be a one size fits all solution for a given client. That’s why a price range is helpful. Startups do tend to struggle spending £500 on a logo, but when you talk about they money it can save them moving forward, most seem to understand that it makes sense to get it right from the start.

      Reply
  16. Barbara352 on

    With the kind of potential Logo’s have, the cost is negligible! Logos form the identity of a service and rather is the face of a service. How much do you spend on your face? For your identity? I am sure a lot 🙂
    Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply
  17. Sean on

    I guess everyone has a different price. It usually is higher with experience. I do not believe that every web designer or graphic artist can design logo’s. It is a specialty and one that takes years to master. Great article btw.

    Reply
  18. punyaixan on

    If you go to 3rd world like my country, Indonesia, you’ll never gonna be able to create some logos above $500, unless you do it for foreigner, and they must now that the really want, unless it’s just the same with local people. $30 – $50 bucks for a logo is pretty common price in Indonesia. The ironically is, lots of indonesian designer has potential indeed, but their idea and concept is not well appreciate it by their own people. Thats why Indonesia, som Chinese, Thailand, Phillipine, Malaysia and India (even less designer from UK, USA, Europe etc.) they were jumped in to crowdsourcing such as 99designs, crowdsrping, freelance and so on because $150 – $230 is good price for them for living, since they had very low live standard.

    I stop creating logo since i read some article which is not even better than yours. but truly endorse me to stop creating some cheap trash logo for some people with a horrible taste. You made the logo with all your potential, takes time, effort, idea, etc, but it’s like you are beated by some kids from bangalore with just 3-6 month learning illustrator and photoshop because the client very much happy with his horrible design, like you hear “This is what i am looking for!”. It’s really pathetic.

    This article really refreshing my mind (again), thank you for share.

    Reply
  19. Dennis on

    Businesses small or startup that claim they don’t have a budget for design and consider this dubious design process have failed to see the importance of developing appropriate brand assets like a logo for their company. A chosen logo design is an investment in a company’s future and when executed poorly will reflect on that company for years to come.

    Good article Tony.

    Reply
  20. james mathiew on

    The Logo is the company Image any company that’ is not serious about her image can throw 5$ for her image. Yes for sure it can get a logo, but what kind of logo with no in depth research about the company’s philosophy intentions… I think getting a cheap logo can have an even negative effect on the company image if it’s not done by professional properly.

    Reply
  21. Laura on

    Hi Tony, I enjoyed your article very much. I agree with everything you say, however I would like to point out that even talented, professional designers can hit a “slump” and need to find any work to pay the rent and put food on the table.

    I have over 25 years of experience, and have been freelancing for over 6 years. All was wonderful until last year, when I lost a major account because they closed their doors, and another who cut back their advertising spend by 90% from what it had been. I had fallen into the “too many eggs in one basket” predicament – my clients all love my work, I have gotten some referral business from them, but how do you go about replacing so much lost business quickly? I have been working very hard to rebuild my client base but the only clients I am finding are not willing to pay what I know I am worth. I can’t turn down business – as I said, I have to pay my bills. But all the while I know that I am undervaluing my talent and services.

    I even dabbled in 99 Designs – you can read about my experience with it here:
    http://lhggraphics.tumblr.com/post/92834400631/my-weekend-with-99-designs

    I continue to try to find the right kind of client who will pay what I am worth, but in the meantime I reluctantly have to take what I can get. The economy is not what it used to be, and the options for clients to select from are huge…albeit sketchy in quality.

    Any suggestions / comments would be appreciated!

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Hi Laura, thank you very much for commenting. Placing all of your eggs in one basket is a risky strategy but I’m glad you’re managing to get back on your feet after that! Finding the right clients is a mammoth task in itself, but once you find them, the benefits of the mutual relationship can be very rewarding.

      I know what you’re saying. It’s easy for someone to preach “don’t undervalue yourself, hold out for the right client” but – if you have a mortgage, children, car payments and things like that, it’s hard to not just take any scrap of work you can to get by, and sometimes, needs must.

      Have you considered a marketing campaign? Something a little off beat perhaps? If you want to talk a bit further, drop us an email and we can have a chat!

      Reply
  22. sera on

    Good read, sadly i myself have been caught by cheap tacky logos, paid £200 for something i could have done myself on a free app 🙁
    Hard to find a decent reputable designer!

    Reply
  23. jigbean on

    Thanks for actually putting a figure (or two) in your post. I’m just starting a small side business (translation services) and on the one hand want to do things properly, while on the other have basically no money to invest. So I’m at least trying to get an idea of how much I’d need if I did decide to expand the business at some stage. I do have an idea for a logo but a short while surfing was more than enough to convince me that although there is one out there available for not very much money and sort of what I was thinking of, there’s really so much to think of that I’m not aware of, it really would be better to wait and get exactly right, rather than just kinda sorta right. I’ll stick to trying to build up a client base first!

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      You’re more than welcome. It’s annoying when you want to know prices and you’re denied that at every opportunity. I think this post is due a rewrite soon, so we’ll be bringing more information to the table!

      Reply
  24. Martin Williams on

    Hey Tony,

    Great article you have many of the same opinions as myself on the subject. I think the ongoing challenge (as it always has been with the design industry to some extent) is to educate clients on the value of good design and a designers experience.

    Thanks and keep writing the great articles.
    Martin Williams aka The Pixel Freak

    Reply
  25. Edz on

    Hi Tony! I’m a Freelance Graphic Designer too! Is there any chance I can work with your team? We have the same perspective when creating a logo/design. I just really want to work with people who puts a real deep value in this industry.

    Reply
  26. lucy Hopcraft on

    Hello,

    I have had my own creative business for many years, working with big companies is never a problem – but small start ups are always difficult – I often quote with no success … Individuals dont want to invest in design and do not understand the importance of good well placed advertising, logo design, brochure design. They want it – but wont pay for it – quite often they end up going to vista print or print companies rather than creatives.

    When talking logos with small businesses, it amazes me that people looked shocked when I talk costs? … I know full well all of them pay more this to a plumber or electrician with no problem at all.So why then is design seen as over priced or unjustified?

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Hi Lucy,

      You’re exactly right. I think individuals, and also the new “entrepreneur” are two persona types that don’t want to invest in logo design and branding. I’ve never had a problem when it comes to companies that are classified as an SME or larger though.

      The Vistaprint comment is interesting. I find that if people are willing to use Vistaprint, it shows where their head is at in regards to their brand.

      The appeal and profitability of design is an argument that has been raging for years. We have to do our best to educate clients and readers about the value of a strong brand.

      Reply
  27. Dianne @ Logo Crust on

    I think that it’s really lame that designers are expected to work for next to nothing with these new freelance sites, but I think it’s part of a much larger fundamental problem with the world we live in today. While we cannot do the same with lawyers or chefs, there are a range of industries where people are working without pay. It ranges from the problem of movie piracy to big supermarkets paying very little to farmers for their produce. There is such a divide between the wealthy and the poor and everyone is clinging on for a buck. The internet is a quagmire of desperadoes and wannabes, everyday people trying to start a new business. The more access there is the harder it becomes for them to succeed, and while there are ways to purchase cheap logos, and many many other cheap things it wont guarantee them any place in the money making world. The question maybe we should be asking ourselves is, what could we do to help them?

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      I think selling design is now more about the relationship than the end product. Because essentially, some of these “cheap logo sites” can actually churn out really good logos. But there’s nothing concrete in terms of a relationship. Our focus at Canny for the last 2 years has been about building a strong relationship and being the “go to team” for all design related needs. Thanks for your comment Dianne!

      Reply
  28. Akhil K A on

    Hello Tony,

    Hope you are doing well.

    In my point of view, we should definitely hire a professional agency like Canny-Creative for making our unique logo. Wonderful article.

    I took a photo from this article for my website (Link mentioned on the comment URL field). But, I have mentioned a do-follow credit to this article 🙂

    Thanks.

    Akhil K A

    Reply
  29. Viktoria on

    I agree that a logo is an important part of any business, but I think it’s more about making sure that designer and client are on the same page about cost and expectation, and not about establishing what a logo is ultimately worth. In an ideal world every new business should start with a quality logo that takes a good designer 20+ hours to produce, but if that costs 10% of a small startup’s budget, then it’s probably not justified. Truth is, somebody skilled and talented can whip up some unoriginal cliche that looks pretty decent for the untrained eye in a couple of hours. This makes sense in the case of very small startup on a tiny budget, while it doesn’t for a more serious/big business. I think it’s just important to establish which end of the scale the project is.

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      You’re completely right Viktoria. I think the relationship is now more crucial, than the product itself. It’s about the value a designer can bring to the new startup, rather than the price of the logo. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  30. King on

    £16,000 or €20,000 or even $30,000 to me is still cheap but to start with in the initial negotiations that is very much idealistic, if you really don’t know how powerful a logo is or expensive it can be, try using Mercedes-Benz, Nike, Adidas, vw, Lamborghini or Jaguar logo to run a show without proper copyright authorization, one you might earn your self a life imprisonment or living the rest of your life paying through your nose for such infringement,
    2rnd is try talking any of the above mentioned company management into selling their logo to you, if you don’t really know the gravity of the logo,

    It’s hard to distinguish between a company and its logo which is greater? cos the impression the logo have created is a permanent stamp but the legacy the company has left can be forgotten but the logo can’t..
    If the company is the body and flesh then it’s logo is the Spirit, the body can die but the Spirit is immortal,
    Soldiers comes and go but barrack remains

    Third lots of folks around the world like 70% don’t remember the company or its spelling as much as they can remainber their logo, the fitness it add to thier product, is much more expensive than the product it is placed on, the impact of the logo on any establishment at a long run can’t be over emphasize, cos when the first thought of a brand comes up the first thing that everyone look out for is the logo, not the director not the ceo not the staff…

    Lastly if you have tried buying vw or Toyota logo from Toyota company, I am sure if they would want to sell it to you, it won’t be lesser than the cost of selling the entire company, but you didn’t come to buy the company but the logo,
    So the logo of a company is the company, if that’s is True then the cost of logo Shouldn’t be as poor as the cost of peanut or crackers maybe dunnuts..

    If a great company is to be established, maybe for car Like BMW or like a construction company or like a yartch builder or an Aircraft manufacturer when everything thing has been set in place, a great logo is required of it, and a great logo isn’t going to be sold or designed for a prize of peanuts. I don’t don’t know what you believe but log doesn’t just represent the car make or infrastructure or the company name but reputation, legacy, strength and the collective effort of all the company staff put together, the logo is the representation or symbol of their outstandingness success or failure.

    listening to someone who is intending to bring to lamplight a unique establishment that will stand the test of time, and compete with others when subjected to, needs an outstanding and unique logo, but in all this trying to pay a designer of such logo with peanut will be termed heartlessness, inhuman and a Joker ofcourse..

    Lastly you don’t reinforce structural works with banana or peanuts butter you can reinforce the workers with those not the structure that will bear tons of heavy loads as you presumed.

    If all this doesn’t make sense to you or ring a bell, ask a successful business personnel why he or she spends lots of cash on Panama suit instade of just buying t shirt and Short of £4 – £5,
    Ask the road construction firms why they spend lots of cash in purchasing a heavy duty truck and earth moving machine instade of using man power and or vw golf mk 1 to subtitute that.

    Reply
  31. Ed on

    Excellent read.

    Personally I’m totally in awe of anyone who can put pencil to paper (or whatever your medium) and come up with anything that looks anything better than a stick man (the pinnacle of my ability).

    My misses however has some mad skills but really doesn’t sell herself enough.

    This article alone has boosted her confidence to ask for a reasonable fee for her skills.

    My ‘art’ is writing software – something she thinks is amazing but I see as a doddle. But I charge sensible money for my skills.

    Artists of any kind amaze me – don’t sell yourselves short guys and girls.

    Reply
  32. Joel Elias Kivi on

    Great post. Talking about brandmarks and logotypes, identities, I would add that if a logotype includes custom made letters, the price should be much higher than a logotype designed from typeface. If the designer is able to do that, he/she should not go under that 1250£ in my opinion. It takes years to gain that amount of expertice and it should be respected. That kind of level in designing is enough to say it shouldn’t be cheap. I personally think that that should be the goal for all the designers and after you can really do it well, you are in the “grandmaster’s” class. Before that, definetly not under 500£.

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Thanks for your valuable comment Joel! Of course design is very subjective, and depending on experience you can charge more. But I agree, I don’t think any logo work should be carried out for a low three figure number.

      Reply
  33. Harvey Morris on

    I don’t agree with everything you have to say.
    I run a software business with 2 successful products. But if you ask me anything more than 50 Euros for a 500×100 “image”, I might straight away say no.

    Most logo designers aren’t businessmen. Logo has become synonymous with images.
    Images can be created with a piece of software without any expertise(There are plenty of online image/logo generators). We purchased 3 different logos from 3 different designers here in Dublin and A/B tested them to see which ones converted the most.

    You need to be specific that you aren’t just creating a random image which looks nice but an identity that represents the business.

    Also about ROI, show me factual evidence, numbers, case studies etc, that shows a shiny new logo actually brought in returns! I don’t see a reason why a business wouldn’t pay the price. I personally believe a good looking logo is a nice thing to have but not a must have(you will have to convince me why is it otherwise with evidence).

    “I always advise them that their logo is a crucial par of their business and should be treated as such”
    Tell me why is it crucial? (show me evidence)

    But I agree with your point about crowd sourcing. I feel as if they are exploiting people 🙁

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Thanks for the comment Harvey. Well thought out and interesting. I’d love to see your 3 logos and find out how you A/B tested them. Reach out via email and maybe we can work on a case study?

      Reply
  34. Stephan on

    Hi Tony, I think you are absolutely right in your article, however – as a customer – I believe designers must move away from designing a logo. That’s not what we are buying – we are buying a company image, a brand to create certain emotions and reactions in our customers. The logo is only the tool. If I think “logo”, I don’t wish to spend much on it, but when I think “image”, I’m more willing to invest.

    This needs to come our clear in the initial discussion. And clients who just call and ask for a price: forget about them. They haven’t understood the first thing. Keep going!

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Thanks Stephan! You’re absolutely right. And alongside that, it’s about the relationship – not just the one off piece of work. Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
  35. Kano on

    Professional designers, admit it, the graphic design industry has been liberalized just like every other industry. In that I mean the gates have been shattered and the golden walls are tumbling. I personally think a lot of you are worried that your secret society is over. Websites used to cost £2500 for a basic 3 page site, they are now anywhere from £200 to £1000. Adobe software used to cost £1000 per product, you can now get it at £30 a month. You too should join the club and stop whining. If you love graphic design and want to see the world full of great design then keep fighting the good fight, and keep designing and competing with those who are getting the majority of the work. (Just not at the prices you have previously managed to claim)

    Reply
    • Tony Hardy on

      Hi Kano, thank you for your insight! I agree, walls are being knocked down within the design industry. I’m not sure that low prices are for the better, as oftentimes the lower priced design work isn’t very good. Thanks again for commenting.

      Reply

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