How much should a logo design cost?

I’m sure I’m not the first, nor will I be the last designer to write about this topic. It’s probably a reflection of the world we now live in that the first question often asked is “how much will a logo cost”, or “can you do it for £50 because company xyz can.” – my answer to the latter statement, albeit qualified and polite, has often resulted in the end of the phone call – but that’s OK.

It’s a bit like asking a builder – how much does it cost to design a building, or a lawyer – how much is my divorce going to cost. You can’t guarantee the best outcome on a fixed price. Fixed price logos are always a compromise, just like anything in life which is sold at a fixed low price. If you truly want to develop something unique that is going to project your brand, then it comes back to time and money. Ultimately, you always (unless you are incredibly lucky) get what you pay for.

If you really don’t want to spend any money on your business identity, then by all means go and buy a logo for £50, or less – but ask yourself first why they can sell a logo so cheaply. The types of businesses that sell cheap logos have spread like a nasty rash and dominate the top positions on Google. The reason for this is pretty straightforward, and has little to do with design integrity.

Stacking it high and selling it cheap

The companies involved are usually quite large, and are built around the sales and marketing function. They make a good profit because their design staff are treated like employees in a cookie factory, stamping out generic designs day in, day out, and usually only see a fraction of the profits. So, when you spend £50 with them it’s easy to understand how little time they will have to spend on your design. I wouldn’t insult the designers with the peanuts and monkeys analogy, but the companies involved certainly deserve the accusation.

Of course, it all looks great because after all, they are going to offer you several concepts to choose from – if you choose their super special platinum service! The painful truth here is that most concepts are pretty generic – you know the kind of thing, with patterns of dots, plenty of  swooshes, 3D cubes and other identikit logo elements. This is because the ones that you get are often the recycled and discarded logos from the last customer’s mood board. This might sound a little scathing, but it is naive to think otherwise.

Logo design companies in that market usually attract clients who view marketing in a dim light, and see design as an expense rather than an investment.

So why choose a professional designer?

I’m glad to say that my clients are a little more aware of the advantages gained through effective branding, and marketing. I know this because they preferred to come to a freelance designer with as much experience in helping businesses communicate, as I have in using design software.

I will take the time to interview the client to determine what they are trying to achieve, followed by researching their competition and target market. All this takes time, but it is absolutely crucial if  the logo is going to make any sense. Only after taking this care and attention can I make a reasoned recommendation that will benefit the client’s business. I find this infinitely more desirable than presenting a customer with a mish-mash of ill-conceived designs and essentially saying “pick whichever one you like”.

When the client is involved directly with the designer throughout the project, the result is a logo that makes sense to everyone and will work well because it is based on sound design principles – and this just isn’t possible for £50.

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