What’s The Difference: Cheap Logo Design vs Expensive Logo Design?


bag of nuts


10 min read

What’s the difference between a cheap logo design and an expensive logo design? Well, there’s a whole world of difference!

Cheap logo designs are rubbish, “expensive” logo designs aren’t just logo designs. There’s a lot more to it than that.

Let me explain. Either check out the video below, or continue reading:

Design should be viewed as an investment into your business and brand. The way your brand looks, feels, and communicates, can have a huge impact on your sales and public profile.

The Cheap Logo Design Mindset

Cheap logo designs are for people that want something quick, easy, and not particularly good.

These people don’t really care about their business or the impression it makes.

For example:

A hairdressers based in a small town centre, who’s main customer base is old ladies that come in for a perm and a blue rinse.

Now, I’m making a sweeping generalisation, but, they’re not in need of “building a brand.” The grannies aren’t buying into the brand vision. They’re going because it’s easy, cheap, local, and their friends go there.

There is no tangible brand to the business, and the owner has no great desire to grow the business outside of the existing four walls.

And that’s fine. A cheap logo design would fit right in here. Get your business cards from Vistaprint and be on your way.

However, even with that target audience, and “mission statement”, if the owner wanted to grow their business into something more, they’d need to be looking into investing into their brand to grow it.

Another example of where cheap logo design would be applicable is in the handyman field.

If you’re a handyman looking to just pick up odd jobs, you have no real business aims or aspirations, great, a cheap logo design will work for you too.

Everything comes back to the aspirations you have for your business.

The Problem With Cheap Logo Design

The problem with buying cheap logo design online is that you’re really only getting a logo. You’re not getting an idea of how to use that logo in different situations.

For example:

You have your logo. But how does it look on business cards? On flyers? On the side of your van? On banners? In advertising?

No idea.

How does it work on social media? It doesn’t fit into the dimensions for Facebook or Twitter? What now?

No idea.

It’s a standalone one off product. You’re buying the end product. Not the service. And like I say, there’s a place for it, but most businesses could definitely benefit from more than a cheap logo design.

Three men smiling and shaking hands with each other

Not Building a Relationship With Your Designer

Not building a relationship with a designer is a big mistake that I see a lot of small businesses make.

By buying a cheap logo design from a website like Fiverr or 99 Designs for somewhere in the £100 range, you’re getting a “one hit wonder.”

And sometimes the hit you get is Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.” A real stinker.

When you buy cheap logo design, you’re not building up any sort of relationship. You won’t be overwhelmed by the customer service, or the results.

Building a relationship with a designer or design agency is important and can impact the growth of your business. In fact, tomorrow’s post is all about the value a professional design agency can add to your business.

Cheap logo designs are very much a case of “thanks for your money, here’s your logo, goodbye.” And that’s not the way we like to do business at Canny.

The success lies in the relationships you build.

Which is how we’ve managed to gain a client on every continent. From London to the States, Canny is global!

The “Expensive” Logo Design Mindset

You’ll notice I’ve been using “quotes” to describe “expensive” logo design. That’s because it’s not expensive.

Sure, there are some crazy statistics floating around like the price of the London 2012 logo design. What an expensive design it was! Check out this post if you’re looking for more branding statistics.

Some of those figures are ludicrous. But, there’s one key thing that is always missed in articles like this:

“It’s not just a logo design you’re getting when you invest into your business brand.”

The London 2012 Olympic logo design didn’t cost $625,000. The brand for the London 2012 Olympics cost that much. But a brand is very different to a logo design.

We have a post coming out about that too!

The Difference Between Cheap Logo Design and Building a Brand

When you’re investing in your business brand, you’re working with a professional design agency to build your business and brand vision.

It’s not a one hit wonder. You’ve progressed from “I’m Too Sexy” to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

You’re not communicating through some cheap website’s internal messaging system, seeing submissions from 5000 designers, and picking one winner. That’s not how building a brand works.

You’re working with professional designers, who are invested in your brand.

They get to know your business and brand vision. They have ideas, new directions, and areas for you to explore. They’re excited!

When you work with a good design agency, they want to help you. Helping your business grow is what they’re good at. And remember, the more they can help you grow, and do for you, the better it is for them in the long term.

When you invest into branding and brand identity, you’re getting a whole visual identity system.

You know the answers to “how does it look on X, Y, and Z?”

You know what colours to use where, and why.

Working with professionals to communicate your brand will increase the value, or perceived value, of your brand right out of the gate.

Cheap logo design is for brands and businesses with little to no vision. If you want to grow and do something more, then you need to invest in your brand.

Multiple coloured crayons in a yellow pot

The Difference in the Design Process

There’s a massive difference in the design process between cheap logo designers, and professional branding agencies.

No Understanding of Your Business or Needs

The first huge difference is that a cheap logo designer won’t go the extra mile to learn about you, your business, or your business needs.

For them, the request comes through from a website, they design something, post it, and hope they get paid. That’s it. No need do anything else.

When you work with a professional design or branding agency, they’ll work with you to understand the ins and outs of your business.

At Canny, we always start new projects with a kickoff meeting, in which we leave no stone unturned. We want to know about your business, clients, goals, competitors, the industry you work in and more.

Understanding a business is the first step to building a professional brand that works.

Coming Up With The Obvious Solution

Sometimes cheap logo designs look passable. But I’m sure we can all agree that they’re obvious the most obvious solution.

For example:

A cheap logo design for a pet shop is often likely to have a paw, or a bone, as the main icon. Typography set in a nice sans-serif font.

Instantly, you’ve got a cheap logo that could’ve been made by a high schooler. And quite often the people making these logos are high schoolers, not professionals with years of experience.

It’s a Logo, and Only a Logo

As we’ve already discussed, cheap logo design is often only a logo design. Nothing else. No sense of brand, or unity.

You’ll not come out of the process with an understanding of how your brand should be represented in other forms. No idea of the colour of typography that’s been used.

A professional agency will help you create a visual identity system that can be applied to your brand, no matter the medium.

Working with an agency you trust will amplify and grow your business brand.

The Difference in Quality

The difference in quality between a cheap, inexperienced, amateur logo design, and a professional design agency is vast.

The results often say enough on their own.

Here’s a look at some work from a logo design competition:

Cheap logo design competition results

Doesn’t that just say enough?

Compare that to any sort of professional work that you can see on our website, Dribbble, or Behance, and you’ll notice a world of difference.

A logo design should be:

  • Memorable
  • Simple
  • Versatile
  • Appropriate
  • Timeless

You can learn more about effective logo design here.

Cheap logo design isn’t good logo design. And surely you want things to be right, rather than cheap?

The Professional Debate

Away from being a debate between cheap and professional logo design, there’s a whole debate surrounding professionalism.

Bedroom Logo Designers

Cheap logo designs are often created by “bedroom designers.” These are people that are still living at home, designing logos out of their basement. And often, they end up using the wrong software, and your logo design is provided as a raster file rather than a vector.

And your logo needs to be provided in multiple file formats. Just having a JPEG isn’t enough.

You need versions to use online, offline in print, to be able to send to suppliers and more.

Offshore Designers

Another issues with logo design competition websites, is that a lot of the designers are based a million miles away.

Because of that, there’s no real relationship there, and often the language and design brief can become a point of contention.

That’s why it’s important to have a well-written design brief to help!

We advise against using offshore designers at Canny.

We’re huge advocates of working across the world and knocking down boundaries, however, to do that, you need to be working with trusted and professional companies.

Only One Designer Gets Paid

Here’s another problem with logo design competition and crowdsourcing websites. Only one “winner” actually gets paid.

In what other line of work would that be acceptable? None.

Here’s the deal:

Work with a company that you like, pay them a fair rate, and build a strong relationship.

Multiple sheets of coloured paper on top of each other

No Real Qualifications or Experience

Now, if you have the talent and skills to back it up, University degrees and qualifications don’t really matter.

But experience does.

Designing a few logos on a logo competition website doesn’t make you a qualified logo designer. You need to have a portfolio of work, and proof that clients are actually happy and using your work.

The logo design itself is only one part of the challenge.

How you interact with clients and follow through on requirements is the main ingredient in the recipe.

If you’re struggling with who to hire to help build your brand check out Should I Hire a Design Agency, Freelancer, or Student?

What’s The Difference: Cheap Logo Design vs Expensive Logo Design?

There’s a huge difference in terms of quality and service, between working with a cheap logo designer, and reputable professional design agency.

Cheap logo designs have their place. They’re for businesses that have little to no brand vision, with a “that’ll do” type attitude.

If you want to take your business or brand to the next level, then you’re looking for more than a logo design. You’re investing in your brand, and working with a design agency to help realise your vision.

The value of good design can’t be ignored. Get in touch to find out what we can do for you.

Also, what do you think? Does cheap logo design have it’s place? Would you ever use a cheap design website? Let us know in the comments below.