Just Creative

I’m Jacob Cass, the founder of JUST™ Creative. I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer, working with clients all around the world. My specialty is logo & brand identity design. JUST™ Get in touch.

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Why professional logo design does not cost $5.00

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Logo design in today’s world is totally under rated. People do not understand how important a good logo is and how valuable it is to their business and this is why I am going to outline some very important facts telling you exactly why logo design should not cost $5 and why your logo is not something you should take lightly.

In broad terms, I will do this by comparing “cheap logo design” to “professional logo design” and I will outline the reasons why professional logo designers do not charge such low fees and why you should invest in a professional logo design.

What Is A Logo?

To understand what a logo is meant to do, we first must know what a logo is. A logo’s design is for immediate recognition, inspiring trust, admiration, loyalty and an implied superiority. The logo is one aspect of a company’s commercial brand, or economic entity, and its shapes, colours, fonts, and images usually are different from others in a similar market. Logos are also used to identify organisations and other non-commercial entities.

It makes me wonder why people have no logo or why they would even bother with a cheap logo design if a logo is meant to do all of these things?

Spec Work & Logo Design Contests

No Respect

Before I get onto comparing cheap VS professional logo design I want to talk to you a bit about SPEC work. “Spec” has become the short form for any work done on a speculative basis.

ie. You design this for me, and I will pay you if I like it. - This is not right.

To clarify, let’s create a scenario in another industry where SPEC work does NOT exist.

“I went for a dental check-up yesterday. After the dentist inspected my teeth, she suggested some work to prevent further tooth decay. I told her to go ahead, and if the dental work was satisfactory, I’d be more than happy to pay. She responded that she wouldn’t be able to do that, because she normally provides a service when a fee is agreed upon up-front. I said I’d let her know after I checked in with other local dentists.”

This scenario happens in the design industry every day and is seen as very unethical as it is ruining the design industry. A designer should not have to invest time and resources with no guarantee of payment much alike a dentist or any other professional.

I do not want to go into this any further as much has been written about it but I would like to say please avoid design contests and spec work at all costs. Logo Design Contests are bad for your business. Period.

For further reading on the damage of spec work I have written an in depth article outlining the “pros” and cons of spec work.

There have even been comics made about the damage of Spec Work:

$5.00 (Cheap Logo Design)

Now that we have taken a look at the damage of Spec Work, let us now take a look at what quality you can expect from a logo in between the $5 to $200 bracket. The particular case I am looking at today is from a $35 logo design contest that was held on Digital Point Forums.

The “brief” for the logo design project was

“Make a logo for the site ‘Spela Piano’. The meaning of that is Play Piano. This is a site where our members can learn to play piano online.”

Below you can see the responses from the contest, which one do you think won?

$2.50

You will notice that nearly all of the logos above use free standard issue fonts and don’t assign to the rules of what makes a good logo. Ie. describable, memorable, effective without colour and scalable.

Ask yourself these questions in regards to the logos above:

  • How many of the logos can you describe or remember?
  • Are these logos effective without colour?
  • Are they scalable?
  • Do they gain immediate recognition?
  • Convey the company’s personality, character or attitude?
  • Relate to your clients by conveying a feeling of familiarity and credibility?
  • Have association with quality and satisfaction?

I will leave these questions for you to decide.

Professional Logo Design

Professional Logo Design

Now compare these professionally designed logos and answer the same questions as above….

See the difference?

Why are they so different? As outlined in the logo design process of top graphic designers, professional logo designers have an actual design process that involves research, sketching, conceptualising, and reflection and this is why they do not charge $5.00.

The design process of a professional logo designer usually consists of:

  1. The Design Brief: They conduct a questionnaire or interview with the client to get the design brief.
  2. Research: They conduct research focused on the industry itself, on its history, and on its competitors.
  3. Reference: They conduct research into logo designs that have been successful and current styles and trends that are related to the design brief.
  4. Sketching & Conceptualising: They develop the logo design concept(s) around the brief and research. They use creativity and know how to design a logo.
  5. Reflection: They take breaks throughout their design process. This lets their ideas mature and lets them get renewed enthusiasm and receive feedback.
  6. Presentation: They then choose whether to present only a select few logos to the client or a whole collection.
  7. Celebration: They then drink beer or eat chocolate or sleep or start on next logo design. Or a combination.

Do you believe doing all of that costs $5.00?

On that note, did you know that the software to make the logo is USD$700 in itself,   let alone the computer that it has to be installed onto or the costs associated with the essentials… paper, ink and an internet connection.

More Reasons

Here are some more responses from other designers on reasons why logo design does not cost $5.00.

Tara from Graphic Design Blog outlines in her 6 reasons why a logo should cost more than your lunch that

  1. A logo is the very first impression people get of your company.
  2. A logo needs longevity.
  3. A logo needs to be original.
  4. A logo should look professional.
  5. A logo should reflect the time and thought gone in to designing it.
  6. A logo is the starting point of your whole corporate image.

Now look back at those $5.00 logo designs or your even own logo to see if adheres to the above points.

How much does a logo cost?

This is the single most frequently asked question, though it is the hardest one to answer without more details of the project.

The cost of a professional logo design is a question that cannot be easily answered as every company has different needs, however, the best way to approach this question is to draw up a customised quote for each individual.

A number of factors have to be taken into consideration when designing a logo, such as how many logo concepts need to be presented, how many revisions are required, how much research is needed, the size of the business and so on.

The best way to find out how much a logo design will cost is to get a quote from the designer them self.

Time To Invest?

Isn’t it about time you invested in a professional logo design? You can can get a free quote for a professional logo design by clicking here or you may like to look at my logo design portfolio first. You may also like to read the article “how to choose a logo designer?”

Do you agree? Does logo design cost more than $5.00? What have you paid for a logo design?

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475 JUST™ Creative Comments

  • Anthony Woods Reply

    Logo Identities are very highly unrated of the process that has to be done to achieve the result, most people think its a 2 minute job. I agree with every point you have listed jacob, logos should be a main priority in the design world, “first impressions often leave lasting ones” as one would say.

    Alot of brain storming goes into logos, to create meaning, a bad logo is one that doesnt have one. And to offer only $5 is jaw dropping, it kind of reflects in the web developement world aswell, before i started to study in college, i was designing websites for about $40 – $50 until i learned all about the paperwork, the thought process, the analysis, development and evaluation and quickly changed my market to reflect the work that has to be put in.

    Logos should be priced highly as your design! Very well structured and meaningful article :)touches on a valid point.

  • Prescott Perez-Fox Reply

    If logos cost $5.00, an agency would have to churn out about 50 logos an hour just to break even. Talk about an assembly line!

    Developing an identity, like every other professional service, takes time and expertise. That time and expertise needs to be adequately valued. Period.

    Prescott Perez-Foxs last blog post..Credit Where Credit is Due

  • inspirationbit Reply

    well thought out explanations on the cost of having a professional logo and the reasons behind that. Nice work on self-promotion as well ;)

    Btw, your link to $35 logo contest took me to a $10 logo contest, but from there I found a link to $35 logo contest results which turned out to be Maki’s request to design his logo for DoshDosh in 2006. It took him less than 2 years to contact a professional logo designer to re-design his logo ;-)

    inspirationbits last blog post..How Do You Twit On Twitter?

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Anthony,
    Yes I know $5.00 is jaw dropping but I have seen logos go for $1 on Digital Point so that is why I try to educate people about it.

    Vivien,
    Thanks for the tip on the link, don’t know how that got in there, haven’t even seen that page before. And Dosh Dosh’s logo looked so similar to David Airey’s too. And funny thing is that David then goes and designs his logo!

  • David Airey Reply

    Jacob,

    I appreciate the links back to my own website. Thanks very much. I guess you’re off travelling any day now?

    Vivien,

    Interesting find on Digital Point. I’d not seen that one.

    David Aireys last blog post..Creative roundup 19 May 2008

  • inspirationbit Reply

    Jacob & David:
    I was quite surprised to see Maki’s request on that forum. I also remember all the controversy surrounding his old logo’s resemblance to yours, David. Did you have your blog with the logo up in Nov 2006? Was it possible that your logo did indeed *inspire* the design of DoshDosh’s old logo?

    inspirationbits last blog post..How Do You Twit On Twitter?

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    No worries David. On June 6th is my flight so not long now, just a few weeks~!

  • liam Reply

    Great read. And the same applies to pretty much most graphic related work. People need educating, and articles such as this are a great platform for it.

  • Tracey Grady Reply

    If the going rate for a logo really were $5 I’d stop eating chocolate tomorrow – and that’s never going to happen ;-)

    The fact is that when someone goes to the dentist, they understand that it takes years of specialised training (not to mention specialised equipment) to perform a root canal, and there’s no way their next door neighbour’s son can do it for them (unless he’s a trained dentist too). Not everyone appreciates the training, expertise and effort that go into logo design and all aspects of graphic design. That’s why there will always be clients that need educating. Your article does the job very well.

  • Lindsey Reply

    How true! It’s so amazing when you think about just how much a products sales depend on labels and aesthetically pleasing design. Good article!

  • Armen Reply

    Jacob, my friend…excellent article. Dugg and Stumbled.

    However, this battle will never end. As long as price means more than quality, there will be logos sold for the same price as lunch!!

    It’s the same for me. I mean, I’m no Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain, but I’ve gained a fairly solid understanding of basic design principles, and it shocks me what people will pay good money for (never mind peanuts), when it comes to web design.

    Armens last blog post..Timber Inspiration – 20 Top-Notch Wooden Web Designs

  • Joshua Schneiderman Reply

    I don’t disagree, but there are two major foes of this argument.

    First, in my area, at least, there are professional and expensive designers who still miss the mark. There is a lot of bad logo design in Northeast Iowa – most of it is homemade, plenty of it is professionally done.

    The second is that a great logo, generally doesn’t look like a lot of thought and work were put into it.

    Of course, there’s one more problem that we see a lot around here that precedes the bad logo, and that is the meaningless and trite business name.

  • Jacob Share Reply

    I particularly agree with Joshua Schneiderman’s comment but I’ll take it further.

    It’s not up to the client to estimate how valuable a designer’s work is, it’s up to the designer to make the client understand why their work is so valuable.

    Or, you can always aim your services at the high-end of the market so that you’ll only have clients who a) do understand that value or b) who falsely claim to do so but have the money to make it worth your while to educate them.

    Jacob Shares last blog post..PureBlogging’s How To Group Writing Project

  • Paul Reply

    Excellent, excellent post.

  • Carsten Nielsen Reply

    Amen!

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Liam,
    Well that is the aim :)

    Tracey,
    Well we wouldn’t want that would we? No chocolate and like you said I am trying to educate.

    Lindsey,
    Packaging design is even worse!

    Armen,
    Thanks Armen for the promo and yes it is a never ending battle. And yes there are people out there with the money to pay so I guess in the end it does come down to the client.

    Joshua,
    Thanks for your added thoughts on the topic and yes, like any argument there are two sides. I agree with you regarding “The second is that a great logo, generally doesn’t look like a lot of thought and work were put into it.” What are some really bad business names you have come across?

    Jacob,
    I suppose you can do it either way like you said but it is always better for the client to be educated.

    Paul,
    Glad you liked it.

  • John Reply

    Design, web design, identity are all international services now, but there is no international currency. This creates a problem of inflation/deflation for people in certain regions. In my opinion, a person not willing to shell out dough for a design is not worthy of having a business.

  • Jim Lipsey Reply

    It’s interesting that you provide Nike’s logo as a counterexample, given that it was created by a student for $35.

    Rather than comparing the output of a $35 design contest for a specific project to a selection of the finest examples in logo design history, I would have liked to see what a professionally-contracted shop would have produced given nothing more than the exact same 28 word specification.

    Jim Lipseys last blog post..Little Snowballs

    • Christina Reply

      My husband mentioned both of the points above by Lipsey, and also said that a logo is only as good as the advertising behind it. All of the logos you hold up for comparison have had millions of dollars of advertising to create the brand recognition behind them.

      The way to prove this is to take those logos into a market where those products and services don’t exist. No one would know what any of those logos meant, with the exception of Harley because it has ‘motorcycles’ in the logo.

      My own point is that it seems you are looking for a large company budget from small companies. If you want to make a lot of money for logo design, aim your work at the big guns. Business owners who want $35 logo design are small, local companies who aren’t looking for nationwide brand recognition and don’t have the money behind them to spend on it. You might think that your logo design is the best thing ever, but the fact is, if I can’t pay for it, or I have to spend my entire advertising budget for the first year ($1500) on it, then it’s useless to me. It’s better for me to take a cheaper logo and get it to the people that I need to reach

      I can always rebrand later if I get so big that I need to. A perfect example is KFC, who rebranded in the 1990s because the word ‘fried’ was doing damage to their reputation. They spent millions rebranding as KFC, which worked because of the budget behind it. Another person on this forum mentioned that someone else had done a $35 logo and redesigned two years later, as if that were a bad thing or they had made a mistake in the first place. To me is not a mistake, that’s normal business. You start with a cheaper logo, just like everything else, and spend more money on advertising as you can afford it.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    John,
    I know all too well about the international services. I get contacted probably every 2 weeks (mostly from India) with people wanting to collaborate with me on projects – and they say they will work for $10 or less. Some don’t even have a portfolio which is a bit sad. I wonder how they afford a computer and internet connection if they are working for that?

    Jim,
    Very funny you brought that up because I was going to mention it in the artice but thought it would take way from the point. And yes, that would be interesting to see what they would come up with – it would have made a more rigorous article.

  • Keith Reply

    “I wonder how they afford a computer and internet connection if they are working for that?”

    - Because places like India have a currency that equates to a lot less when converted in dollars. It’s all relative my friend. Plus, nice work in the in depth article.

  • ar-lock Reply

    scalable? a 5 minute design can be scalable..

    is it even a logo if its not an svg?
    no its not. its a picture..

  • Dan Cole Reply

    Jim & Jacob,
    The Nike logo cost $35 at the time, but the same thing today would cost $200 when you account for inflation. Also, by doing the math on the numbers provided in that link, that logo took ~18 hours to research, sketch, and design. If she had more experience like the average designer, it would be upwards of $400 to $500.

  • Mirko Reply

    Why logo design does not cost $5.00? Well… that question shouldn’t even be asked. Anyway your answer is great.

    Mirkos last blog post..Picturing disasters

  • Jack Reply

    I’ve never thought about it before, ever. I didn’t realise how bad logos could be and the fact there are people paying $10 for one and asking for tweaks etc?

    I think this must be the first time I have stood on this side of the design fence – the divide between “but it will look good on your portfolio” and “if you pay me professionally then you will get a professional”.

    I’m actually feeling a little depressed at the thought of competition sites/forums. When I started designing I thought they were great opportunities; thankfully I never did enter any!

    Thanks for the post.

    Jacks last blog post..Video Tutorials

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Keith,
    Thanks for clarifying that. So they try to get jobs overseas so it converts back better into their currency?

    Ar-Lock,
    Well if you design a logo that is ONLY going to based on the web then you could design the logo not in Vector but usually this is not a wise move just in case it ever does goes need to go offline.

    Dan,
    Thanks for that Dan… I couldn’t stand doing maths at 2am!
    18 hours is still a fair amount of time in comparison to the logo design contests. Their process usually consists of them opening their program of choice (usually Firefox surprisingly or not surprisingly I don’t know), and designing the first thing that comes to their head.

    Mirko,
    Well I tried my best to answer it and it does need to be answered because there are logo designs out there going for that much and people do need to be educated.

  • Keith Reply

    “Thanks for clarifying that. So they try to get jobs overseas so it converts back better into their currency?”

    Exactly, that’s why outsourcing overseas is so lucrative for many companies.

    Keiths last blog post..Software I use day to day

  • Dirty Scarab Reply

    I don’t get out of bed for less than $150 a logo. (but I have been known to charge a considerable amount more than that).

    My main client base is local bands, and unfortunately, local bands aren’t swimming around in boatloads of cash, so I tend to charge on a case by case basis. But yeah, $5?? I’d charge that if the logo took 2 minutes to design…!

  • PublicRecordsGuy Reply

    Okay, I’m feeling a little guilty here now for posting contests in Digital Point for cheap logos. Your comparison of the cheap to the professional one, particularly the NBA logo really gave me the “A HA” moment. Job well done. Now if only I can win that logo design contest you offered, since I can’t afford a Professional Logo. Thanks.

    PublicRecordsGuys last blog post..Such a Sad Day For The Chapman Family

  • Bryan D. Hughes Reply

    I’m going to have to disagree to some amount.

    I fully agree with your viewpoint on Spec work, Contests, and the absolute value in hiring a professional designer. I must disagree, however, in that this is a some uphill battle that can be ‘fixed’. There is a gradient of quality and development price evolving into a premium/economy tier system, like any other industry, and one doesn’t necessarily effect the other. In the scale-covered underbelly of the internet (craigslist), there are $50 logos bought and sold all day long, every day, and not one of those parties are in competition with or a potential client of mine.

    A recent prospect asked me before accepting my estimate what the advantages are to hiring me at $50 an hour over hiring an intern or art student. Rather than get offended at the notion, I saw that he honestly didn’t know the difference. The VALUE of a good logo isn’t instantly seen by the public the same way we designers see it, so the argument that a development process that is more involved and costs $4000+ is better than a $50 craigslist logo can seem rather arbitrary. Suddenly it was clear to me that this ‘battle’ with the lower-quality tier of design isn’t a battle at all, but a challenge to my own brand to make the quality of my work apparent to my prospects in an apparent and quantifiable way.

    None of you, or I, are in direct competition with any $5 logo developers, so why be so concerned with it? I’ve seen this debate at time seem almost as if some art student is taking money directly out of wallets. Just do what you do, do it well, and bad business decisions (hiring a $5 logo designer!) will work themselves out accordingly.

    Despite being HORRIBLE for you in every way, people go to McDonald’s for a reason. I doubt the premium steakhouse across the street loses any sleep at night.

  • Beaulys Reply

    Hello Jacob !

    Hey, you know, in France, that’s a problem too. More than a problem, that’s a battle.

    People don’t realize that graphic design is more than a little drawing made in few times for $5 (or 10€ yah ? :-) ), and with the “crowdsourcing” phenomena, now, some start-ups and societies sell design made by amateurs, who are not either engaged or paid (or only the “winner” is paid, well… er… paid $450 and the sellers take 30% of these $450).

    They don’t even know what author rights (That’s it, in English ? Copyrights and propriety stuffs ) are !

    I’m happy to see that denunciations are also made outside my country.

    Keep it up !

  • Doug C Reply

    A very important article and even more so for those wanting a logo design. I have encountered a gamut of situations when it comes to this subject. I believe the problem stems from the fact that graphics are basically intangible and so the majority of people can’t comprehend spending a lot of money for them. Now this attitude is especially prevalent with individuals who have no clue about the design process and/or respect for the designer involved. These type of people I tend to steer clear of. On the other hand a client who does understand the process and the work involved is not going to have an issue paying for it. Of course, these types of clients are rare (at least in my experience).

  • Vaughn Sanders Reply

    I really like the article. You gave a great explanation.

    I agree that $5 or even $35 is insulting to good/professional designers. However, a few years back when looking for a logo for my consulting business I wasn’t able to get one because of 1) The cost 2) Lack of Good Designer.

    I was quoted $500-$1000 for a logo. As, a non designer, I had no idea what to expect and this was an eye opener. It was much more than I could afford. A few designers had some pretty crappy portfolios too.

    On another note, I wouldn’t say that logos of popular companies are necessarily good. Most are recognizable because of their product and have been around for a long time. Not necessarily because their logo.

  • Steve O Reply

    This subject is always a popular one and I see from the comments that no contest entrants have trolled it yet. :) I put my feelings on this subject across on graphicPUSH’s post and I fall firmly on the side who would like to see competition sites disappear.
    I deal with bad logos every day, killing my soul producing work for estate agents as I do, and it hurts every time I have to compromise. Most of them are obviously designed in Word or using some of the WORST free fonts I have ever seen. New job… soon…

    You might be interested in this post and the one it links to.

  • Per Pettersson Reply

    Great post! Yet another reason why more should follow your blog.

    Cheers from Sweden!
    /Per

  • Darren Reply

    Loved the article and 100% agree with your opinions on the value of good, thoughtful, intelligent and and above all — creative Graphic Design, particularly when an Identity is concerned. I do think that thankfully the importance of a good logo identity is becoming more apparent in the world around us largely in part to the company’s behind the logo’s you used as reference and the designers that help brand and market them. I mean who here doesn’t like the print design that comes out of Starbucks and Nike. However, I did find it amusing that the Logo’s illustrated as “Professional Logo Design” whilst many millions of dollars have been spent on the branding and re-development of them, originally cost about $5.00 (Disney, Nike, Coke etc) I remember reading an article on Virgins’ Richard Branson saying he paid for the napkin the logo was drawn on. I guess it illustrates that sometimes good ideas come easy to some, but creativity is a gift and should come with a price especially in the business world and for us making a living as graphic designers.
    PS: As Your logo illustrates — long live the pencil and the ideas that flow through it.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Keith,
    No wonder I get so many emails from India.

    Scarab,
    Have you thought about raising your prices to see if they would pay it? If you sell your product and yourself then I am sure you will be able to double your money. Give it a shot.

    PublicRecordsGuy,
    Even DoshDosh has posted in Digital Point Forums before but the problem is not everyone knows the problem with it, so that is why I am posting about it. Good luck in the contest :) I am going through them all and giving them scores.

    Bryan,
    I don’t believe the battle can be fixed either and it is about where you target your market however many people do not know the difference and I am sure if they did know then they would make a more educated decision.

    “It isn’t a battle at all, but a challenge to my own brand to make the quality of my work apparent to my prospects in an apparent and quantifiable way.”

    Amen,however I do believe we are in competition with these cheap designers in some respect (much alike McDonalds and the Steakhouse) because some clients do not know the difference, where as in the food industry it is obvious. For example, not every one my readers are designers however they may be interested in what I write about and now that I have written this article they are now more likely to get a professionally designed logo than from a contest. Do you agree?

    Beaulys,
    I believe it is a problem internationally especially for designers who are just above the starting rate and not fully professional. They have to compete with both amateurs and the professionals and yeah copyright too.

    Doug,
    I agree with what you are saying and that is what I have tried to communicate here in my article however if you try to stay clear of these ‘types of people’ then they will most probably never learn.

    I see it is as our job to educate them. I often get emails from people wanting free logos or “tips” or “concepts” for their logos and I try to educate them on logo design process and now I can point them to this article and the great comments here.

    Vaughn,
    Bryan had a good point on this topic if you read his comment. In the end it is down to the client and their needs however we should be educating them to make a wiser decision.

    In most cases, I believe most popular business logos are quite well designed not just because they have been around a long time. Can you name some that are not well designed?

    Steve O.
    Thanks for those links, I have read them both before and I will add a link to them in my page now and I am with you regarding sites like that disappearing. Thanks.

    Per,
    Glad you enjoyed it. Share the love ;)

    Darren,
    Long live the pencil and yeah gotta love Starbucks and Nike’s design – and Apple. I never knew about Richard Branson and the napkin, pretty interesting. We had a small discussion in the comments regarding the Nike Design if you read about it?

  • kristarella Reply

    This is a lot of comments in a day!

    Good post. I agree, which is why I don’t have a logo. I don’t want to try to brand myself with something cheap or something I’m going to hate in a year. :P At least I don’t have a business that I’m trying to mark if I was trying to make money it would definitely be worth spending the money for a decent logo.

    Have you seen the Freelance Freedom comics on Freelance Switch?
    http://freelanceswitch.com/freelance-freedom/freelance-freedom-40/
    http://freelanceswitch.com/freelance-freedom/freelance-freedom-41/
    http://freelanceswitch.com/freelance-freedom/freelance-freedom-43/

    Fairly relevant to your dentist story.

    kristarellas last blog post..Tumblr, tweets and twizzles (for shizzle)

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Thanks Kristarella, I have updated the post with the comics, I always look at those comics, they are great! Thanks for the reminder.

    Your blog is fine for its purpose, it doesn’t need a logo. The nice typeface and illustration does the job.

  • Joram Oudenaarde Reply

    Darn those people who think we use Word bitmap images to make a logo. And darn those people who make these kind of $5,- logo’s and make clients believe it’s good :/

    But seriously, I really hope they someday, somehow, will see that we’re actually doing research and make a proper and fitting “good” logo for their companies.

  • Karen Swim Reply

    As a writer I face many of the same challenges so can totally relate. $5 logos are like $5 articles. You get output, but it will not be quality! I learned a lot from your post on the logo design process. I am certain that many people can use education in this area. In absence of understanding, people default to pricing comparisons. Jo Phillips dugg this post and I’m glad he did. Thank you for illuminating the design process and heightening the respect I have for what you do.

  • Bryan D. Hughes Reply

    Jacob,

    I agree with you completely on that:

    “… I do believe we are in competition with these cheap designers in some respect (much alike McDonalds and the Steakhouse) because some clients do not know the difference, where as in the food industry it is obvious.”

    The issue is awareness, not that the $5 logo contests exist. Some designers talk about Spec Work and Contests as if they’re something that could be stamped out, and that would somehow solve the issue of good design being a complex issue. I expect that if the collective energy of the designers raging against contests and spec work were applied to solving the problem via their own brand, the culture would be much more positively influenced.

  • Kate Reply

    Great post, and really timely for me… I just lost a client who got upset when I upped my logo prices versus what I charged six months ago… Given the seminars and classes and just basic time spent with the programs, $500 seems pretty fair, especially considering all the deadline slips, reconcepting, reformatting several times because he used a printer that I recommended against… Basically, a huge headache, so I’m not going to miss his particular business. I do wonder, though, how much more I could have gotten away with charging him. ;)

    Kates last blog post..Designs On Me 1: How I learned to stop worrying and love Command-Z.

  • Michael Reply

    The other side is the designers that want to be paid up front and then turn out shit. It goes both ways.

  • kristarella Reply

    Michael, I’d be wary of anyone asking you to pay upfront (what other businesses legitimately ask you to do something like that unless they have to fork out heaps for materials, e.g. building a house?).
    That’s also why you look at portfolios, recommendations etc, before approaching the designer, asking them what they can do for you and then telling them you want to shop around.
    There should also be an upfront agreement about the level of adjustment and revisions the designer is willing/obligated to do.
    However, all of those things are redundant if the customer is unwilling to accept the value of a professionally designed logo.

    kristarellas last blog post..Tumblr, tweets and twizzles (for shizzle)

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Karen,

    I am certain that many people can use education in this area. In absence of understanding, people default to pricing comparisons.

    I think that sums it up. Thanks to Jon for digging it, as always.

    Bryan,
    As you will have noticed in the comments from people reading the blog that people do appreciate the education. For example what Karen just said “Thank you for illuminating the design process and heightening the respect I have for what you do.” I also believe that designers need to find a line between education and speculation. For example, I do not charge thousands for a logo however there are many people that do, but it is not the target I am catering for so I must show the difference between what my business offers instead of the contests.

    Kate,
    Maybe if the article was written a little earlier you could have shown him and he would have changed his mind?

    Michael,
    The way around that is to get a deposit upfront, say 50%, and then the final 50% on completion. That way the client and the designer have control over the whole process. If the client doesn’t like the designs at first then they can pull out if they want to. What do you think?

    And as Kristarella said, you should be looking at their portfolio first to judge if their designs are going to work for you.

  • Kate Moon Reply

    “Maybe if the article was written a little earlier you could have shown him and he would have changed his mind?”

    I actually bookmarked it in case he refused to pay! I’ll be keeping it handy for sure.

    Kate Moons last blog post..Designs On Me 1: How I learned to stop worrying and love Command-Z.

  • kost Reply

    The nike logo was done by a design student, for 25$.. so you never know..

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Kost, have a read in the comments, we have been discussing the Nike logo if interested.

  • Mayhem Studios Reply

    If you guys like comics. You may find this little gif animation very funny.

    http://www.mayhemstudios.com/HOWIES/images/designer.gif

  • Mayhem Studios Reply

    Regarding Spec Work. Looks like 99 Designs and Sitepoint is at it again!

    99 Designs is sponsoring a free pdf version of the book, “The Photoshop Anthology: 101 Web Design Tips, Tricks & Techniques.”

    The book looks more like for newbies. This is their way of suckering newbie designers into their Spec Contest web site!

    In order for you to get the download link. You need to enter your email address. Yet another way to get you on their mailing list.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Thanks for the comic, I stumbled onto that a while back!

    Doesn’t look like it is going to end anytime soon regarding contests – it never will.

  • Mayhem Studios Reply

    Unfortunately, you’re correct! The thing that gets me is that, designers are adding to all the spec work and contest too. They don’t care unless it affects them.

    As a NoSpec committee member, I’m glad to see that NoSpec has done some good. Many companies have change their practices because of the No Spec campaigns.

    - Cal

  • Jesse Reply

    I couldn’t agree further.

    Just came across this article:
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.10/start.html?pg=13

  • Website Design Reply

    Great post! I think a lot of people don’t realize the time and effort that goes into things like website design, logo design / branding, etc. For many, they are unable to see it as a tangible item and have difficulty justifying any substantial cost.

  • modemlooper Reply

    This is a must! => Are these logos effective without colour?

    and less is more with logo design

    modemloopers last blog post..How To Optimize Your Blog Post Images For Mobile

  • J. Jeffryes Reply

    Does the Porsche dealer get upset when they see people paying $500 for a beat up used Station Wagon?

    Our challenge is that some potential Porsche buyers don’t know the difference between a Porsche and a Station Wagon. We need to educate them so they buy Porsches.

    Our other challenge is some designers don’t know the difference between someone that wants a Porsche and someone that wants a Station Wagon. We need to educate them so they stop trying to sell the wrong people Porsches.

  • Craig Reply

    Great article, I think one of the most import things with a logo is that it has to be one that can still represent the company if it gets switched to grey scale (without color). It also has to be memorable.

  • design snob Reply

    So, is a LOGO more valuable than a photograph or a font? Many of the same designers who are crying about spec work are downloading free fonts, stock photos, and design elements, dingbats, etc. Why should photographers and font designers get the short end of the stick. I enter these spec contests because its great practice to try and knock out a passable logo in under an hour. The design community tends to be whiny and self important it seems. Do you really think issues of branding and scalability mean anything to the guy starting out his business as a local cleaning company? He just needs a nice logo done quickly
    Doesn’t the guy with 3000 in startup money for his business deserve quality work? Designers seem to think the visual identity they are providing a company is more important than the company itself. Its really just window dressing ultimately, get over it.

  • Jeremy Delane Reply

    Excellent Post -
    I really enjoyed your comparison to visiting the dentist. I recently put in a brief bid on a job and the client asked if I would consider doing the job for free and in turn be allowed to use it in my portfolio. Interestingly the client was a small finance company? So after some contemplation I decided to respond by agreeing to do the work, if their company was interested in providing zero interest small business loans for an extended period of time. After what was apparently a brief period of laughter, they responded with “we’ll find someone to do it for free.” Unfortunately they will and this problem will continue.

    Jeremy Delanes last blog post..Providing Website Consulting and Evaluation to the Waukesha Area

  • Don Reply

    Great article, man. A ton of my clients are going to get this link. ;)

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    J. Jeffryes,
    A good analogy you have there. What do you think is the best way of educating clients / other designers?

    Craig,
    Some good points, did you read Jeff Fishers logo design interview? He actually mentioned never confine yourself to “rules”. It is a very interesting and educational interview indeed.

    Design Snob,
    Each to their own opinion they may say but have you read any of the articles that I posted in the article above? You may change your views if you do.

    “I enter these spec contests because its great practice to try and knock out a passable logo in under an hour.”

    I wonder how many of these start up business you are designing for last out for more than 3 years? Issues of branding will mean a lot to someone who has business sense however the problem we have is that not everyone does.

    A logo is “really just window dressing ultimately, get over it.” I wonder why Coca Cola’s brand is worth 8 Billion dollars then?

    Hope you come back to continue this discussion as you’re the first person in this discussion not to oppose Spec Work so far.

    Jeremy Delane,
    Haha, good on ya and yes it will continue but we can lessen it by educating people.

    Don,
    Cheers Don and thanks for the link out on your blog!

  • J. Jeffryes Reply

    @Jacob

    It’s very simple, really. When I was running my design studio, I was running a professional company. And I acted like it. My site, my card, my correspondence, all of it was done professionally. When I met clients, I informed them that projects required 50% up front. Anything more complicated than a logo or infographic required a separate (and separately paid for) discovery period before an estimate would be issued.

    Usually that was enough for clients to “get it.” Most of the designers they dealt with acted like desperate amateurs. I studied the businesspeople I worked with/for, and acted like they did, like a person worth the money they are being paid. A lawyer doesn’t haggle over prices, they tell you their rates, and when you balk, they walk away.

    Sure, there were times clients freaked out and told me they thought my rates were too high. When that happened I told them my rates were for top of the line work, and that if their company wasn’t successful enough to need that kind of work, I would be happy to recommend less experienced designers I knew that might be able to deliver a less polished product.

    More than once I had clients come back to me after I said that, after they had tried cheaper designers, and ask me to come back and redo the project for them. Sometimes for more than my original estimate. The ones that didn’t aren’t clients I would have wanted.

    You have to believe you have a premium product, and you have to make the client believe that. As long as you don’t believe you are worth more than a $50 logo, you never will be.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    J. Jeffreys,

    First off before you try to reply, there is something wrong with the comments field. I edited the post to add something in and once I saved it, the comments turned off and I went to turn them back on, (both trackbacks and comments) however it did not work so no one can leave comments except for me. This has happened to about 5 other articles of mine (all usually pretty popular articles with many comments) so not sure what is up, some bug I presume. Any idea?
    Fixed.

    Regarding your comment however that is a good way of looking at it… I was actually reading the How To Freelance Like A Rockstar eBook on the weekend about pricing yourself and they had a pretty good basic formula to follow as well and they mentioned some of the things you just said.”You have to believe you have a premium product, and you have to make the client believe that.”

  • Staniel Reply

    There have been many organizations that have paid a lot of money for poorly designed logos. The price you pay for a logo does not guarantee anything.

    I will agree that your chances for a great logo decrease greatly when you aim below the $20 mark or try to obtain a logo via an online contest. There have been many low budget logo contests and logo design portfolios that use stock photography or clip-art in their logos. These should obviously be avoided. Knowing what final files you will receive and if the designer will stand behind their design is very important as well.

    Logo design is no different than everything else in this world. If you look hard enough…you can find a great deal!

  • Jennifer Harris Reply

    I wrote a similar blog but not as indepth. it has a good little story to go with it…..

    http://keylimecreative.ca/2008/07/17/putting-a-price-on-your-logo/

    Jennifer Harris | Graphic Designer | Key Lime Creative

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Thanks Jennifer, another great article, it was more in depth than this one in my opinion. It took a different look on it anyway. Thank you.

  • Sergio Ordóñez Reply

    Hello Jacob, superb post :)

    In my experience most of those clients sell their sites, leave the project or change the concept of their sites in short time. They are webmasters with hundred of domains and the hope of fast money is higher than the hope of building a brand, no planning needed.

    What I mean is there is people with serious projects who are hoping to spend good money for good work and others who just want to reach the top in a few months, if they dont get it then the site is sold… so why to spend more than 5US$?.

    Cheers.

  • Jacob Cass Reply

    Hi Sergio,
    Thanks for the comment, I can see where you are coming from, and it is true in some respects but obviously not everyone has hundreds of domains so it depends on your background and plans I suppose. Also, love your work on SOS.

  • Justin Reply

    The only thing is that the Nike logo was not designed by some amazing firm, but by a student at Portland State University in 1971 charging $2 an hour and receiving $35 for the final design of the swoosh.
    http://www.dinesh.com/History_of_Logos/Miscellaneous_Logos_-_Design_and_History/Nike_Logo_-_Design_and_History/

  • Aleron Reply

    I do agree with most of this artical, but the point about the dentist was incorrect. In fact, if the work is not satisfactory, you do not legally have to pay, as they have violated their part of the agreement.
    If you went to a dentist and they did a bad job on your teeth you would not expect to pay, and in fact, if they had damaged your teeth, you would want compensation.

  • wallpapers Reply

    surely those professional logos have a higher impact because of the amount of exposure they’ve had over the years – had you never seen them before you might not think them so great

  • leou Reply

    very good!Great read
    my english is so bad.
    and,I translate this article to chinese.
    I think,Chinese designer must look this article more than the other designers!

    and ,this is the add of chinese version.
    http://i.yoho.cn/ileou/logview/1158514_1_0.html

  • Lewis Cuellar Reply

    Did you know I had a man willing to pay 40 bucks for a company logo that is well advertised? “giggle giggle..r u serious sir?” This guy was going to shoot me when I told him at least 400.00. CS4 only costs 1300.00. IMAC 2000.00. Illustrator like 4-600. HAHA..so excellent point about the money put in to a logo. Thanks for the read!

  • Lawrence Anderson Reply

    What a great post Jacob!

    We need more designers out there driving this point home. I hope that may be sites like IncSpring will offer a no-spec alternative to contest sites for young designers looking to build a portfolio.

    Keep up the great work,
    -Lawrence

  • JanSimpson Reply

    The reason people dont’ put much weight into Logos – is because the way you treat the “logo” – you treat it as a one shot deal this is how designers market the Logo design – “logo” means one – “one” means one-time deal -”one-time deal” means one payment – you are trying to get the “golden co” to make you instantly rich and reputable all in one shot. So you sell your logo cheaply – and then wonder why no one beleives it is about – now wait for it…

    Wonder why no one associates the logo with their brand – which is a life time of the company? even a small business owner doesn’t believe his business will go under – so sell it properly and you will will begin to get the respect you deserve – but that is all I am going to give you on this one.

  • Flo Reply

    I totally agree, most people don’t underestimate the importance of logos. At the end of the day the logo is (in many cases) the first point of contact between a company and their customers – and the first impression needs to be a good one…Spend the money and get it right the first time!

  • Graham Reply

    Jacob, this article is incredibly insightful. It certainly will help when justifying costing to clients.

    Great again!

  • jay k Reply

    That is very very true, I like the way you stated that.

    thanks man,

    keep up the hard work!

    Jay

  • costas voyatzis Reply

    For sure a logo doesn’t worth $5.00

    Thank you Jacob for sharing this article!! And be sure that all the Graphic designers in the world will really appreciate it!!!!!!!!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR

    Best regards

    Costas

    PS. by the way I would love to read your opinion about the “yatzer” logo!

  • prateek Reply

    Wow!
    my sentiments exactly! This is the first time i have read such an intelligent and sensible article on logo design. the importance of logo design must never be underrated..When people realise this, we will have more interesting companies floating around with a definitive goal..bad logo means no goal..simple. thanks dude for such an enlightenment..

    btw..nike got their logo designed for 25$ way back in 1972..hahah..irony or not but i think that the overall stature of a company and the kind of products that they make also helps in making a logo popular and worth remembering..

    after a long time have i commented so long on a blog post..wow!

  • Christian Reply

    Yeah, I completely understand where you’re coming from on this article.I see those generic logos all the time and IMO their fine for something like a small blog, or personal website. You know, something only a few people ever visit,but something like a company needs a professional logo and even small bussinesses need to step up and get them. Pay a little (relatively speaking) for it, you will thank yourself later.

  • Mohammad Afaq Reply

    Great artice, I just love it.

  • Daniel Reply

    Personally I feel that a logo doesn’t really mean a lot being a freelance designer myself. Don’t get me wrong, they need to be eye catching, but a logo won’t make a company successful, but a successful company will make a logo recognizable globally. The reason why those logos listed above are so recognizable is not because of the design itself, but because of how huge that company has become. If you consistently see a logo day in and day out, it will naturally stick to your mind no matter what design it is.

    Personally, the ‘Jeep’ logo is one of my favourites.

  • Web Design Rates Reply

    Logo is a “business card” of a website. That’s why it should be designed very well and should have unique concept. This is the reason why it costs so much.

  • Steve Constable Reply

    Those logos are so disparate in style. It’s hard to believe it was done by the same person. That’s not a bad thing. But most designers have one style.

    OK, my vote is for the Red, Black and Gray with the cool bent Piano keys. That rocks!!!

  • Mauricio Hernández Gonzalez Reply

    I completely agree with your article, here in my country Colombia, Southamerica are some called “graphic designers” who doesn’t know everything about desing and only know how to use CorelDraw as “the most professional tool” and they offer horrible services and products like: “your logo only in five minutes”. That’s why the profession of graphic designer is underestimated.

    Thanks.

  • Stanton Reply

    Great post, I wholeheartedly agree! I’ve been a graphic designer for years, and freelance when I can. But I also work at a retail print shop, and when I’m there, I HATE being asked to design a logo. The shop doesn’t charge enough, and what they do charge is for them, I get the paid the same no matter what I do. Bad.

    People who want cheap logos are not stupid, just ignorant. It’s up to us to educate them.

  • BenSky Reply

    Totally aggree, there’s always going to be a demand for people to churn out rubbish logos at silly costs because some people dont have the money to spend.. If they realised the impact and power the brand and logo can achieve, they’d most probably start saving.
    Clients are generally extremely undereducated in what they are buying as far as design goes, they see it as a logo is a logo, they’re all the same!
    I like to compare it to the difference between a Rolls Royce and a Ford, you generally get what you pay for!

  • w3logo Reply

    A corporate logo design should be highly instrumental in building your corporate identity and should successfully exude the company’s attitude. The viewers must have some idea about the disposition, character, or fundamental values of your company through your logo.

    Following certain basic principles can ensure that your corporate logo design is professional easy to remember and creates a great impact on its viewers while successfully expressing the nature of your business.

  • Debby Reply

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading the article and comments. Seems to come down to value. I admire those who ask for the value of their work. It is a reflection of who you are and your inner light.

    Jacob and others who are educating the uninitiated about logo design promote a worthy cause. Frustrating to have to compete against the out-sourcing and cheap labor.

    Continue your high quality designs and support each other in this community.

    blessings to all,
    Debby, CHOM http://twitter.com/DebbyBruck

  • rich Reply

    It is frustrating to see the logo contests all over the place and the emergence of the $5 logo design.I am amazed at how design has become such a commodity, the internet and access to low cost labor has been a primary cause of this trend is unlikely to stop anytime soon. As you state it is part of the professional designers job to educate the client and show them the value as your article does. Like anything in life you get what you pay for, people that are looking for a deal will go for the cheap logo contests and will probably not be in business for long. Clients that understand the value of their image and brand will pay for a professional to co create it with them. Thanks for the well written and illustrated examples between a $5 and professional logo.

  • Paris Vega Reply

    Hey Jacob,
    One of my design professors used to say that you should ask a client if they would be willing to rent a professional logo for $1 a day for year. This was used to set up a base price of at least $365.

    Of course, a logo / company brand is worth much more than that as you’ve done a great job of explaining.
    -Paris

  • Diana Evans Reply

    wonderful post…I agree with you totally!!!

  • Charlene Reply

    BRILLIANT! Thank you for writing this article.

  • Poodle Reply

    The problem with all this is – the majority of small businesses that need a logo WOULD be quite happy with a $5 effort. I see it all the time in my local area – small businesses with ‘logos’ which consist of nothing more than the business name in italics using two colours or the name initials in a circle or square.

    The thought of them spending $200+ on a ‘simple icon’ (their idea not mine) would be ridiculous. So on the flip side many graphic designers out price themselves for what is ultimately needed.

    There’s a balance needed.

  • Valentine's Gift Reply

    $5.00 only???hm…..that’s very cheap. Id companies really like to have quality logos they must provide big budgets…hehehe

  • Sebastian Fabara Reply

    Hello Jacob great article, here in Ecuador, South America, we have the same problem but even worst, Print Shops do it for free in order to catch the work…

    Well If you agree with me I will say that logos will also have to be reproduced in many other ways with out losing effectiveness, like embroidering, engraving, etc.

    Good luck!

  • Patience Reply

    Thanks for the informative article. I am starting a new business, and looking for custom logo design. I really cannot afford a $700 logo, and 300 is stretching it…what do you think someone like me should do? I understand the importance of a quality logo, and I am willing to pay what it is worth if I could afford it. Are there any designers who would except installments? Should I just use a text logo or cheap one to get the business off the ground then upgrade to a quality logo later?

    • Jacob Cass Reply

      Patience,
      Get quotes from the designers work that you like and see if any of them are around your budget… some designers may accept instalments however I am not entirely sure who does but I would say to get the logo up front rather than later.

  • Patience Reply

    Thanks for the advice…I have already tried 5 designers so far.. three said no-way (nicely) and two didn’t respond. So, I guess I will keep on searching. Thanks again for the article and the imput

  • Andy Reply

    Great post Jacob. It infuriates me when people just don’t understand logos or any graphic design takes time to do well, therefore justifying what we charge. One of the best quotes I’ve heard was from one of my uni lecturers: “Fast food is cheap and nasty. Restaurant food takes time and is pricey but well worth it in the end. The same applies to bad Graphic Design and great Graphic Design.” I’ve never been on the Deisgn Point forums but I’ve seen some doozeys on Logo Sauce competitions, it’s a good source of humour at times!

  • Ares Reply

    Anyone who buys a logo for $5 gets what they paid for. And you can trust that in the end they will have paid MUCH MORE THAN $5! They will lose thousands or more by projecting such an unprofessional, cheapskate image!

  • Nur Rachmat Reply

    great articles…

    I am browsing the net to have idea before having a Logo

    Thanks

  • How to make a website Reply

    Hi Jacob,

    I am very very impressed with your blog post.
    “Make a website and aslo create a logo brand for yourself so you are remembered.” Great post!

    You have impressed upon the right point of price we pay vis-a-vis the ultimate goal of creating a brand image so that people remember us. Great example to compare with the other market options.

    Best wishes

  • john - design northampton Reply

    The problem with logo design is clients always weigh up the finished product rather than the logic and work behind it. Logos are becoming more and more complex because of this and not having the desired effect. I wonder how much the owner of nike would be prepared pay for his tick now?

  • Brent Reply

    I agree that it has become very tough to get a logo designed and still make money. It is such a competitive space and a global industry. So many people are supplying everywhere.

    If you are good though you will be able to charge high rates, and still make money. Be sure to keep to your guns and don’t decrease your rates. Its important to go after the right customers.

  • Logo Design USA Reply

    Thanks, i was really search for a post where i could find all about logo design and it’s cost.

  • Chris Rosepapa Reply

    You are right on with your article. A good brand and logo takes hard work and research. And it withstands time. I hate to see young designers give their skills away. This is the only industry that seems to have to prove itself.

  • webwires Reply

    Sorry but you are so completely out of touch. The main difference with your list of good logos is that they are all big corporations that can afford your services.

    A vast majority of businesses struggle to afford many of the basic components to run a business. Perhaps if they survive after their first year, which 90% do not, then they might have some funds to re-design their logo which is a valid option.

  • Sebastian R. Reply

    Do u mind if i translate this article to spanish? for published on my tumblr.

  • Logo Design USA Reply

    Grate insight! thanks for sharing

  • Bruno Reply

    Awesome post, but, nowadays, we have to consider three points:

    1.We have a lot of designers professionals. And I know professionals who accept work for a cheap price. They work, a lot, just for passion, with hope about some day, make their companies grown.

    2.They need money. Linked with the first point, clients can cheap it. They can cheap because we have a lot of designer professionals.

    3.Clients don’t care between a professional design and just a good or an ‘ok’ design.

    How to solve this problems? I’m really trying hard to discover.

    Congrats for the post.

  • KoolDesigning USA Reply

    Nice article, thanks for posting here.

    I think quality of business logo is most important, it should be unique, custom, creative which represent our business or brand in front of customer or consumer.

  • Davidlevack Reply

    I think the ONLY solid reason anyone needs for not charging 5$, that cannot be refuted (reflection? sounds like an opportunity to milk money to the average joe.) for a logo, is that the designer is only paid once, where as the logo is used countless times with no royalties. A good example is SUPERMAN. Sold for something like 50 dollars and making DC comics millions upon millions.

    A logo equates money. Either from being recognizable so people use that service or company first, or can be commercialized and sold.

  • Bad Logo Reply

    Well, lets put it this way I work for a company that has a bad logo. A seriously bad logo. I’v worked a s designer so I mind. And apparently so do many of our would be customers.

    It has the following problems:

    You can’t get it to fit on most commercial slots without making it way too small to see. Not entirely the logo makers fault but could have been solved

    It uses a few very hard to print colors. Which amongst others are outside of the gamut of most printers.

    It sends a opposite message our marketing material says.

    It comes with a corporate look, with things such as in design templates for printed material. Which incidentally look like something done by person more familiar with word. Horror it has rules like type 6 enters between this and that. YOU SERIOUS, that’s whet the frigging styles are there for.

    Thing is they actually paid 15000$ for all of this. Me personally I’d thorwn it out.

    As for the other point here, if you charge for less then you deserve. You will soon notice that they don’t THINK you deserve.

  • Saikat Reply

    Your article is good but I feel it also does carry a bit of frustration and ego somewhere.

    But I am keen to know if there are really people out there making a logo for $5.

  • EricO Reply

    So, Jacob, I wondered in your design contest examples, which design DID win? You didn’t mention what the finalist design was, and though none are as memorable as NBA or Coke, I’m still curious!

  • ashley Reply

    i just thought id post my two cents for the opposite argument:

    1. most small businesses have a tiny tiny tiny budget and cannot afford ‘professional’ logo designs upwards of $500 or more. what they need is something that looks good, and works in a small variety of formats and colours. their local designers balk at such low prices (understandable, we all have bills to pay) so the business owner is forced to go on the internet looking for less expensive design that is still of decent quality.

    now a couple of scenarios can take place –

    a) the owner stumbles upon a site like design point and sees that people are getting ‘logos’ for $30, and thinks to himself, not bad, and posts up his own competition. what he gets, you will never know how high of a quality it will be, but at least its not so bad of a loss if the quality is shit and needs to be redone by a better designer.

    b) the owner stumbles onto a slightly better but still spec site like crowdspring, where the logo minimum is $200… thats not cheap (in the owners mind), but still far less for far more (quantity wise at least) than the local designers fees. he posts a project, and gets decent results. unfortunately, 99 out of the 100 designers didnt get paid for their work. but the owner isnt thinking about that, because his nephew could always pump something out of word in less than an hour and be passable (in his mind).

    c) he goes onto craigslist and posts a job for $50 and hires a student/starving artist. who knows, he may get great work or he may get crap. not too bad of a loss though, money wise if the logo is crap.

    why does this happen? logo contest sites fill a void, where the business owner is in need of something passable but has little to no budget. the internet is global, and to us westerners $50 might seem like nothing but to someone from a poor country it may be a months pay. the playing field is completely unlevel, and the design contest sites thrive off of that. also, with this great recession, some decent designers who could otherwise make well on their own are forced to find new ways to make money (again, we all have bills to pay) so they swallow their pride and join a contest site. or in my case, im in college, i need practice, and i need money (desperately, cause FASFA f’d me over again!). there are no design jobs for someone of my qualifications in my area (and i live close enough to NYC, thats how bad the economy is).. so i am forced to turn no where else. do i plan on doing spec work forever? no. i only work on projects i like, and thats it. ive actually been fairly successful on crowdspring, because i focus on t shirt design which isnt as over saturated as logo design (which im not as good at anyways).

    question – how do you feel about the immensely popular but technically spec work t shirt websites like threadless or design by humans (or a bunch of other sites)? many designers that did well on those sites have made themselves terrific careers designing, such as collisontheory, wotto, dchtwenty, members of the black rock collective, tom burns, and olly moss.. (and im probably forgetting a few)

  • Wicker Reply

    It’s not up to the client to estimate how valuable a designer’s work is, it’s up to the designer to make the client understand why their work is so valuable.

    Or, you can always aim your services at the high-end of the market so that you’ll only have clients who a) do understand that value or b) who falsely claim to do so but have the money to make it worth your while to educate them.

  • Roberto Blake Reply

    This was very well said sir, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Spec work is responsible for the mediocrity we see all too often in the industry right now. As much as the phrase “Your Reputation is Everything,” gets thrown around you would think people would understand your “Brand” is your “Name”, and that they should really think about who they want to make that investment with.

  • Nick Chiechi Reply

    I know what it takes to create a logo. On average it could take 13 hours to fully develop a logo. Many times even more. Consider to following calculations on time spent. Meet with client (1), research competitors (1) , explore design options (6), present to client (1), make client revisions (2), and finalize and prepare final artwork (2). In addition to the point about software and hardware costs, consider the years spent in design school. Do the math.

    I know there is a market for the cheapo logo design just like cheapo everything else. But the adage “you get what you pay for” usually prevails. Many times an inferior logo just has to be recreated eventually. A business’ visual identity will be established with its customers good or bad. And to have a logo redesigned is no easy task that can set a company’s brand image back to square one. This can create confusion and unfamiliarity when the new logo is launched.

    A well-designed logo is an essential component for building a successful visual brand. It is a vital first impression and can play a critical role in establishing credibility for a company.

  • akrokdesign Reply

    being cheap has a higher price, later on!

  • Ashutosh Reply

    I would pay more for logo design because it is the identity of a site and it should attract peoples attention in just one glimpse.

  • micka|services Reply

    As a graphic designer and web developer here in the Philippines I find your article very helpful for me to decide how much would I charge for a logo design but on deep thoughts when money is involve specially on $=Php it comes a major turn around, shall I charge in $ on in Pesos? thats the big questioned every new designer has to answer.

    “I want to change the world but I dont have the password”

  • Mauricio Reply

    Hi i just want to ask for your permission to translate this article to Spanish, and maybe publish it on some design blogs in spanish, off course ill give all credits to the writter.

    by the way thanks for doing this great content

  • David Reply

    That is one helluva an case man. Tell ‘em. You weep when you go cheap!

  • Tim Heffley Reply

    I recently paid $99 for a logo. It’s not too bad, considering the cost. But it leaves me with kind of an empty feeling when I look at it. This logo doesn’t truly represent my website; instead it looks like I found a sticker in a Cracker Jack box that was close enough and slapped it on there. I hate to lose the $99 but I don’t think this will last very long.

  • design traveller Reply

    Great article! Being a real designer means you have to learn to fight for the quality, not only for pleasing the clients. Somehow everyone thinks that they have a sublime taste :)
    But it takes years to learn about aestethics.

  • Joshua Reply

    I’ll admit, I agree with everything you’ve said here. I’m more curious as to how to break into the market of mid to high-dollar logo design. It’s no easy task.

  • asks Reply

    great article! can you help me how to set the logo price? i mean is the price just fixed or depend on client’s background (well established/new company) ?

  • Harprabhjot Paul Chandhoke Reply

    Well said. Loved this article. Clients tend to behave in a rather unusual way when it comes to the payment of services, which we as designers, are completely entitled to. Its a disgrace to them as well as to our profession.

  • John Mayer Reply

    ar-lock on May 23, 2008 said: scalable? a 5 minute design can be scalable.. is it even a logo if its not an svg? no its not. its a picture..

    Well, I guess coca-cola doesn’t have a logo, then, since their logo, and countless others, were done long before there was such a thing as an SVG.

  • Vicki Lovegrove Reply

    FINALLY!!!! Someone who is talking sense.

    It drives me mad, why people would think that paying buttons for a logo would get them something that would represent their company for many years to come.

    We pride ourselves on designing logos that last and are constantly turning away work because people don’t want to pay us for it. People value other professions such as law, accountants, but design is looked down on just because they have a package on their computer that uses pretty colours.

  • Outsourcing to Pakistan Reply

    Really, I like this post too much. thanks for sharing and I think this article is too important for designer as well for business owners.

    Thanks again for this great informative post.

  • Eagle Imagery Reply

    Not all of those ‘famous’ logos you show are actually all that good. They’re instantly recognisable, sure, but *only* through years and years of branding. Logos don’t ‘just do it’ on their own and the sooner graphic designers realise this, the better.

  • Doug C. Reply

    I always get emails from people wanting design work from me either for free or next to nothing. This is quite an insult, since I am a professional designer. Personally I think a lot of people really don’t understand what a graphic designer does, because what we produce isn’t a tangible object you can hold in your hands (like say groceries or a new HDTV) and so it’s easy to assume that it doesn’t have much value or that it’s easy to do. My hope is that people will read Jacob’s article and come away with a better understanding of the designing process and the people who make such designs.

  • Eagle Imagery Reply

    Doug C. Next time you get one of those, send them this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

    Required viewing for all moochers.

    ;-)

  • Doug C. Reply

    Mark, that’s awesome. And I love Harlan Ellison. One of the best sci-fi writers around. I remember reading his stories as a kid – Jefty is Five, I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream, The Tick-Toc Man. Great stuff.

  • Doug C. Reply

    Oh, and by the way – Jacob I love what you did with the NO!SPEC logo. Should offer that to NO!SPEC. They might use it.

  • Eagle Imagery Reply

    Glad you liked it. I often watch that vid – cheers me up no end!!!

  • Andy Green Reply

    Good post Jacob, unfortunately it is something that will never change. Just like with several other areas on the web (web design, programming, writing, etc), the logo design market is driven by demand. The fact is that there is just such a high demand for quick and cheap logo’s that the supply automatically turns up to fulfil these requests such as those on Digital Point.

    Not every web site owner cares about their brand or whether the logo is scalable or not. They probably only spent $15 putting the rest of the site together so they are unlikely to spend anything on the logo.

    Sad, but unfortunately true.

  • Jo Holloway Reply

    Well, it’s a good article and lots of good comments, but I’m going to throw in another point of view here – not only re logo design as such but also graphic work and artist’s illustrations generally. As a purchaser, I have been bitten several times, badly, by seeing an artist’s work online, being sent samples of their work that prove they are a fit for what I am requesting – contracting and giving downpayments, and then getting work that is totally wrong. I contracted an logo/graphic designer to give me 6 different sketches to choose from, before he finished the logo I chose. They were all totally wrong for our brand, but he had to be paid anyway – and he wasn’t cheap. I’ve had book illustrators send me samples of specific types that were perfect style, but when the work itself finally arrived it was nothing like the samples they’s sent – but I had to pay, and then in the disasterously short time left before deadline had to find another artist to do the job.

    Just saying … another perspective. If the artist doesn’t at least submit a few initial sketch ideas to be sure he/she is on the same thought path as the buyer, anything can happen, and the buyer gets burned as often as not. :-)

    And, by the way, spec work is very common in all forms of the arts, though I feel that if you are actually wanting a commission for a specific job, you should be willing to at least put out a bit of what you’re offering. That’s what TENDERS are all about, too. So – sorry, I think although you make some good points here, you might be being just a little bit precious and self-absorbed. LOL! I mean that in the NICEST possible way, of course.

  • Eagle Imagery Reply

    Jo, perhaps you seek designers with a guarantee and… reputation.

    :)

  • Jo Holloway Reply

    LOL! Eagle: They burn ya too! :-) And there’s no guarantee they’re going to “see” what you’re seeing. The only way to KNOW they are, is to see initial sketches.

    Point is though, there are systems of checks and balances right through most professions. Even when you are commissioned to write, say, a screenplay, they can dump you if they don’t like what you’re producing. Why not graphic designers?

    Writers have to do it, not to mention a whole range of other artistes, and other professions right through to building contractors, film makers, etc.

    But if you mean I should only employ the Spielbergs of the design world: yeah, when I win the lottery. LOL! And even then, it’s my money I’m taking a chance with. And even Spielberg has had quite a few bombs. :-)

  • Douglas Bonneville Reply

    Spec work on the big-time level is expected. It’s part of the budget of doing business. But for the small-fry graphic designer, spec work is bad. It’s just getting ripped off when time is valuable. The spec work involved in a big sales pitch leads to huge contracts that last long times and generate huge amounts of sales, set in motion long term relationships, affect other businesses, etc. But for the little graphic designer, if all the work is done up front and the client doesn’t like that, you are just out of luck. Imagine making a sandwich for a customer who says “Nope, no good” and walks out. That’s different than presenting the sandwich to the frozen food distributor who says “Nah” or might say “Yes! Now can you make 10,000 of these a month?”

  • Glen Ryan Reply

    In the U.K. as it seems everywhere else in the world we have the same problem of businesses under valuing the work done by graphic designers in producing logos and corporate identities. I often get told by clients wanting a logo what they are willing to pay when they come through the door. In a lot of cases it is laughable and I politely show them the door and inform them that they have come to the wrong place and advice them to purchase a clipart disc or get a family member to do it for the figure they have in mind. In a lot of cases they return realising that it can’t be done well for such a small sum. The problem is that there are a lot of so called ‘designers’ out there who just won’t turn away work no matter how much out of pocket they are by the end of it. I spoke to a designer who charged under £60.00 for a logo and laughed when I asked why he charged so little. He said that he hated turning down work. I would rather charge £600.00 per job and lose 9 out of 10 of them at the quoting stage than do 10 out of 10 jobs and still only make £600.00, if you set your prices so low to start then you are only going to attract the kind of clients who will never pay the going rate for well designed logos, identities, websites or literature.

  • JulienK Reply

    Hi Glen,
    You’re so right. I do exaclty the same as you. I prefer to loose 10 contracts for getting just one well payed. I earn much more money each month by applying this. As I am still news to graphic design I actually charge around 400€ for a logo creation and it’s way better for every body to do like this. By the way I’m still cheap because a friend of mine charge 2 000€ for a logo design and he started at 500€ a few years ago. Now he design for great international companies.

  • Wiredworx Reply

    This is a great article and certainly opened up my eyes. I can see why people do “scrimp” when looking for a logo but it really isn’t saving much in the long run!

  • Jonathan Howell Reply

    I just wanted to let you know that I am a 20 year old graphic designer college student and you are my inspiration/hero. Keep it, you are a great role model

  • Smestaj Sokobanja Reply

    he he 5 euros, thats how red bull and vodka costs. I would not do for 5 euros a scratch… Good text

  • Gary Reply

    To add a different thread to the discussion; I don’t find your examples of professional designs convincing because all of the companies examples you have given have spent millions branding and positioning their product or service. It is a big mistake for small companies to try to imitate large corporations; they don’t have the millions to market their brand.
    I believe people are turning away from the old corporate professional image because they don’t trust companies, governments or big corporations. People want to deal with people. Someone they feel that they can sit down and have a drink with. Someone that has a human face, somebody they can trust. Logos and slogans are not important for the vast majority of companies. People ask haven’t changed they keep on asking ‘What in it for me?’ and make a decision whether they like you or can trust you. The new wave of ‘reality marketing’ is already here, don’t hide behind an old corporate image. Those of you who repeat the old mistake of putting their name first by worrying about logo designs will just end up creating fancy tombstones!

  • francis Reply

    “A designer should not have to invest time and resources with no guarantee of payment much alike a dentist or any other professional.”

    I disagree with this analogy completely. The dentist “has” the right to refuse to operate on the patient if he does not choose to pay upfront. The same as the designer “has” that same exact right.

    That iss a terrible analogy in itself. Really, A dentist or doctor is a profession that requires years and years of experience to get a degree also to build the trust and credential. They take care of our health, which, to everyone should be a necessity. People dont trust just anyone to give a triple bypass surgery, i know i wouldnt.

    But a logo? Logos are still only commodities as well they should be seen as them. You might be more experience as well as educated but what does that mean in terms of profession that is still considered an art. Some people are willing to sell their “art” in form of logos for a lesser price then your. And the buyer are satisfied with them. Therefore i don’t see the problem. Its basic business.

    Im not a dentist or doctor, or a logo designer, but I am an artist. I am a photographer.

    I take photos for wedding, engagements etc. Ive seen photographer charge $10,000 for a wedding as well as Ive seen them charge $100. Ive seen complaints on both as well as I heard praises for both.

    All in all, it may be a big deal to you and not to other. Are you resentful that people who are making $5 logos are competing with your $3000+ by producing logo that “cheap” and satisfying their customer? Many people are satisfied with their logos and even though they might have paid $5.00. Some big name company i.e pepsi cola has even changed there numerous time over the last decade (and im sure they’re paying their logo artist hundreds, thousands, millions even, and even there pepsi cola isnt even satisfied.

  • jack Reply

    Umm.. one wrong thing.. The original Nike Swoosh was created in a Logo contest. The winner was paid $500 bucks. Need to get your information correct before you post it to back your sales pitch.

  • Eagle Imagery Reply

    Jack – I think *you* need to get your facts straight: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike_logo

    $500? Logo contest? Are you kidding?….

  • Stanley Reply

    Im not sure how much the designer got paid for the Nike logo but on the subject of Nike.. check out the Anti Nike campaign that im running on my blog. http://www.ibuylogos.com/store/2009/09/anti-nike-campaign/ please feel free to leave any comments

    Thanks for great post mate.

  • roof Reply

    I totally agree with you
    I also will write about this in my language. I USA i think client ar used to this becouse of contests where one winner gets cash prise and client can choose from a lot of designs. Clients ar ungovernable a theese times and also speculating on crisis in my opinion.

  • Narkath Reply

    I am one of those guys who has no training in graphic design whatsoever. Some people seem to appreciate my design work regardless if I use standard fonts or not.

    I have a problem with this article in that, as has been mentioned before, most people don’t notice the difference between these uber designers and a guy who can make something pretty for a few bucks. Don’t hate because they are banking without breaking too much sweat. I think it’s more a case of jealousy here than anything else.

    …and it’s art snobbery. I had this art teacher in high school who would go on about these hideous excuses for art because they were clever. So Salvidor Dali painted melting clocks. Who gives a crap. Surreal art, gallery snobs who convince themselves they see value in garbage and designers who think there ass smells better than the next guy…get over yourselves. Bottom line. If you need art training to see the value of a piece, then this so called specialized design world is a fake economic environment, created for and by designers. End.

    Look, whatever, just keep what you’re doing, do it to the best of your ability and charge what you like. If people really like what they see, they’ll pay. If not, boo-bloody-hoo.

  • Richie Reply

    I agree and disagree with you on this article. I don’t think there’s much out there worth $5. I find the creativity that many designers have very impressive. Every skill has a value. With that being said, there were some thing I disagree with. First of all, your comparisons from the amateur piano logos against the professional logos is not a very valid argument. There are some amateur logos that can be considered better looking than the pro logos, design wise. The FedEx and ABC logos are definitely not breathtaking. And they look like free, standard fonts to me. If Disney was a new company, many people would mistake them for Disnep from that logo. And the Nike and Virgin logos have already been talked about.
    If I’m a business owner who is just starting out (which I am), I am going to put my limited resources where I will see results. I can get a fairly simple yet professional logo (one such as Fedex, for example), and put my money in delivering an exceptional product. That is what makes a logo like FedEx so noticeable. If you are a designer offering your services, you need to be aware of what people are looking for and change to their needs, not hope they will change to yours. If everybody in your market is happy with cheaper logos, than you either need to move to a different market which will appreciate your services, or change your business model to meet your current markets needs. They may not need you to spend hours conducting research, they just need a drawing made up. We live in a world of adaptation. You must adapt to your surroundings or you will fall behind.

  • Rajaram Reply

    I am a webdesigner from india. I really like your way for handling the designs and your creative. especially this article attracts me more!!

  • Md. Sajibul Islam Reply

    most of da people doesn’t know, what they want…

  • Janette Reply

    Thank You! I feel like you just stuck up for all of us under-appreciated graphic designers who work with clueless salespeople every day. You are a breath of fresh air today. Bless you.

  • vacation trip Reply

    Thanks Jacob…This is good article!

  • Derick Oleo Reply

    I agree! I am a huge fan of fiverr.tk, but I see a lot of people offer to create a logo for $5. I just don’t see a quality logo being produced for $5.

  • Noodles Reply

    While I completely agree with the tone of this article, pretty much every designer talking about such things forgets to mention the reality of scale.

    A small town local business after a logo will NOT want to spend more than around £50 (if they even decide they want one at all) and they’ll usually be happy with a few bright shapes and colours with their name slapped underneath. They neither want, need or have the budget for a slick logo which a designer has spent 30 hours creating and will bill them £1000+ for the effort.

    The logos like Nike, Coke, Disney, McDonald’s etc are not a practical comparison for most of the designers who talk about them or even a good argument to make against cheap logos.

    Its crazy to compare Mr Jones Fish shop in the high street who just wants a logo for a few business cards and a sign to million dollar companies like the above mentioned. Even if the logo for Coke was a ‘brown dot’, the money and marketing behind implanting that image into peoples minds would be the REAL reason it would be memorable NOT the design or effort gone into it.

    When we realise that the large majority of us designers will NEVER have logos even 1% as memorable as the most well known, we can stop beating our selves up about it and work to levels we CAN realistically reach.

    Logo design does not cost $5, but for most of us and for most businesses its does not and should not cost hundreds or even thousands either…

  • Eagle Imagery Reply

    Fair point, Noodles, but charging £000′s for a logo isn’t *just* about its design attributes or even its promised potency in the market.

    Some designers themselves have become a highly desirable ‘brand’ and if people want their time, skills and ***experience*** they’ll have to stump-up the requisite cash in order to hire them….

  • GameRumble Reply

    Man, this totally hit me! And I seriously thought logos would cost around $5 to $10… No disrespect intended… I was just not educated at that… Now I’m paying artists more respect!

  • graphicdesignbytara Reply

    Wonderful article, reminds me of my logo design class and why an avatar is not a logo! Keep up the fantastic work.

  • rosa Reply

    Thank you for the good article. I have done some freelancing job, and some of my clients don’t understand the importance of a logo.
    When I try to explain to them that it is importan for their brand identity, they just go “what? huh? oh, well, now, how much do you charge for making a company profile, etc. I can do the logo on my own, with corel draw”.

  • Justin Reply

    Excellent article. I find that when approached for a logo, I have to educate each client about what is involved, and when I prepare a proposal I break down each part of that process for them.
    Companies need to realize that when tehy pay for design services they are not only paying for creative, they are paying for knowledge,
    experience and technical skill.

  • Jennifer L Reply

    It’s thought-provoking for me also, as my husband has started his own graphic design business while I am the copywriter. I just never see anyone object to a great looking refreshed logo at a fair price – between $150 and $200. My husband thinks its fair to show three versions for their chosing (at his desk) and they are never left feeling dissatisifed. I also help with my opinion on what I think looks the best in the initial design phase.
    Collaboration is the only way to go.

  • Ann Reply

    The old adage is true–you get what you pay for. I’m not a logo designer or any sort of designer at all, but I have PS. I could slap down some sort of graphic and use a font and call it a logo. But you know, so could the person paying the $5, frankly–they may as well save that money and do it at home with MS Paint or something.

  • Elliot Ross Reply

    Do people seriously think this is “art snobbery”?! This is about making a solid, usable product that does it’s job well, and not saying that all cheap logos look nasty and amateur (tho they often do).

    It just shows that you get what you pay for – your logo is a shorthand icon that represents your brand, your company and it’s values. One that looks cheap and badly thought out will only reflect badly on your business.

    Believe it or not, the “average Joe” is more perceptive than you think to these kind of things.

  • 5DollarGraphics.com Reply

    But it also depends upon which economy are the designers living. I found this website does just that after reading this article and seem to do what I need very well.

  • articles Reply

    I will paid 200 dollars for an awsome logo, but for me still to much :)

  • Barnabas Nagy Reply

    You are very right. But I have not found a client who would spend a normal budget for anything. I’m thinking to leave this profession. It is totally devalued.

  • Sammy Reply

    Jacob, can you suggest what to tell stubborn clients which you KNOW will gasp at anything more than $200 for a logo. Perhaps suggest what I can reinforce in writing as to WHY my fee may be higher than this for a logo I am proposing so they can at least have a good idea as to WHY it is that much. Basically educating a client before they open their mouth to complain about the price?

    Thanks!!!

  • Tony Aubé Reply

    Actually, the nike logo was from a design contest. If im right, the person who designed it received 35$.

  • Bob Reply

    There are 3 major points that I see wrong with your post.

    Firstly, you assume that cheap logos are always bad and expensive ones good, this is not the case. Eg. 2012 Olympic logo was very expensive and is terrible.

    Secondly you assume that a good logo is vital, also not the case. For startups getting a sustainable product is by far more critical. Marketing becomes more important later but by that time they can afford to move to more expensive branding.

    A dentist provides a clearly defined service. Of course you would take your money back if they messed it up completely but your satisfaction of the work is less subjective. I wouldn’t go and buy a car unless I could see what it looked like and it’s performance beforehand so why would people want to pay you in advance to design a logo that they might not even like? The rest of the world works on the basis of making products and then selling them to people, why is it so absurd for logo design to work on the same basis?

    To me SPEC work has become so popular, not because you get something cheap but because of the reduced risk of paying for something that you don’t want or can’t use.

  • Maria R Laureti Reply

    I agree…as argentinean designer I share that current rates are CRAZY rates! it is not easy that clients understand that… as pro, we invested a lot of time & moneay to study … thanks for this article!!

  • Alex Cooper Reply

    A good logo is worth its weight in gold.

  • Sokobanja Reply

    They would like the logo and ad for your business to get for peanuts or not to pay anything, but there will be a time that everyone will have to pay if they want an ad

  • Zach Reply

    Actually, the Nike logo cost $20 to make, just FYI.

  • Eagle Imagery Reply

    @Zach

    And how much is $20 in *todays* money?

    FYI…..

  • Zach Reply

    Okay that was $20 years ago, so about $50.00- $100 for the logo. Yet he’s saying we should pay $500-$10,000 for a logo. Not ALL cheap logos are bad, some are REALLY good. I think you guys need to get your facts straight before you start dissing.

  • Eagle Imagery Reply

    Sure, *some* £20 logos are good – but the odds of a $20 logo being even remotely passable are very much stacked against the client.

    Anyway, let’s see some of your work, ‘Zach’. Walk the walk instead of talking the talk…

  • Chiu Reply

    Wasn’t Nike done for $35? After adjusting for inflation it should still be in the $5-200 range. Coca-Cola and Walt Disney logos are just the founders’ own handwriting right?

  • Sam Reply

    I totally agree with your post and the reason you defined that why a logo couldn’t be design in $5.00 its truly incredible.

  • How To Make A Website Reply

    Hi Jacob,

    What would you advice a small business which has limited budget to do? Sometimes they are not able to hire professional designer that charges more than $100 to work on the design. Or even worse, they don’t even know whether their business would work in the first place.

    Next, I think the professional designer also ought to sell themselves well otherwise we won’t be able to know whether what kind of services they would provide in the first place. At least, most of the time, when I’m trying to hire, I can’t figure out who is the better one even he is one with so many competitors.

    George

  • Shandy Reply

    “Isn’t it about time you invested in a professional logo design? You can can get a free quote for a professional logo design…”

    I’d say it’s about time you invested in a good copy-editor to double-check amateur errors like this (You can can…).

    I think it’s rather disconnected to compare those piano logos to corporate logos. That’s like comparing an every-day cook to a master chef. Of course these designers don’t know what they are doing… they are offering their time away for free in the hopes to please some random business who is too lazy to approach his logo design the proper and professional way. It’s people like that and fly-by-night “designers” who are killing the freelance design market. I’ve read Photoshop forums in which people say “hey, I just got a gig for $2,000. Could someone tell me how to install a font?” Some people have absolutely NO business in presenting themselves as a reputable and experienced designer.

    One can throw all these fancy and technical terms around about the process of a successful logo, but the first thing people need to learn is common sense – on both sides (client and designer). I come across clients asking for a design, and don’t have one bit of idea what they want – I throw them fishies back in the water and tell them to get back to me when they have a clue… of course I say it a little nicer…

    Small businesses today want to throw nothing at you (as far as ideas), pay little to nothing, want it yesterday, and expect some miraculous design to come out of your ‘you know what’. It just frustrates me that so many no-nothing designers are flooding the market to where real designers are having a harder time sorting through the pond of reputable clients versus someone looking for a freebie.

    I don’t think it’s really fair to insinuate a good logo is going to cost hundreds of dollars and/or if a designer doesn’t charge that much, it means the logo (or the designer) is no good. It’s all about market value – it’s all about what the client will pay versus what the designer will do it for – nothing else. I don’t believe in giving logo design a price range. I’ve done plenty of professional logos within 2 hours (including 3-4 edits). Unless you have to waste time in figuring out what you are going to do (unless you are really slow designing), logo design is really a simple matter of matching the taste of the client.

  • montreal website design company Reply

    Logo is the brand and web identity for any company so it should captivating, concise and legible. Well, i as far as logo cost is concern i believe there is no limit because cost depends upon creativity. more creative more cost, less creative less cost

  • DJ Headphones Reply

    I actually think a few of the piano logos are pretty good.

    Yes, the huge corporate logos below are more memorable, but those companies rely a lot more on branding than a local mom and pop business — big companies can also afford the repetition of an image. Anyway, your point is still well taken that you $5 won’t get you a worthwhile logo!

  • M6.net Reply

    hi,

    The cost for the logo may depend on its quality. Are the popular companies paid only $5 for their logos like Coca cola, Disney? It depends on the standard of the logo.

    Ahsima

  • Matt Reply

    I realized early on, the only people that were reading my website for information like this were other inept designers who then used it to create their own businesses! I can see your website alone keeps you busy. I have leaned more from doing than you’ll ever read in a book or online, and once someone finds out you really know what you’re doing, you become successful, because they won’t leave you alone.

  • Paul Hassing Reply

    As a copywriter, I have two things to say about this post:
    1. The content is true.
    2. The writing is beautiful.
    Damn fine work, Jacob; you’ve impressed me!
    Best regards, P. :)

  • Francesco Reply

    A really interesting article.

    Although, isn’t it practicing the only way to learn how to create a good design?

    I understand that among all the people that apply to online design competitions there are also people who do believe they are professional designers and they have their own business and ruin the market to professional designers. However, I am one of those young people trying to apply the principles of design experimenting and I do make mistakes because I am still unexperienced.
    I don’t think it’s that terrible if the owner of the bakery in your neighborhood asks you to design something for their business and you keep the price low. Because you have no experience.

    I agree a logo shouldn’t cost 5$. But I wouldn’t be so hard on design competitions and young designers working for cheap…We are trying to grow!

    I agree with you if we are talking about big companies and people that CAN afford good design. They are completely unexcused.

  • Graphic Design leeds Reply

    A good strong logo is a must for any business.

  • Sokobanja spa in Serbia Reply

    Each logo cost profi done much, but more often we find a copied logo signs, and very rarely to be seen a unique logo. Thanks for this presentation, it is useful :)

  • Jennifer Reply

    Great article! I have been sharing the information with my friends who are designers. It’s especially thought-provoking in light of the recent GAP logo fiasco!

  • Derek Reply

    This is a great post. One thing that I would like to mention on the point of why a logo should cost more than $5 is the simple fact that a well designed logo can positively impact the financial gain of a company for decades (Nike, McDonald’s and Volkswagen to name a few). A good logo has value therefore it should not only cost $5. You can’t get a diamond ring for $5 because that ring has value… logo’s should be viewed the same way.

    Further more the type of person that has this kind of $5 logo mentality deserves to get nowhere in life if they want to undervalue the work of others in such a manner. It’s these kind of people that are usually trying to over value the crap they are trying to peddle while under valuing everyone else.

    Posts like these are great. I would love to know if a post like this has ever helped someone see the light on the subject of the value of logo design.

  • Selina Reply

    Hi,

    I’m a young designer just starting out in this competitive world but it is so inspiring to read blogs from such established and respected designers as yourself. When I am designing logos and I get to the final stage I often think that it can look so sleek and often minimalist but powerful, that clients will take a typical client view and think it doesn’t look like its worth the money. Its like they always want to cram in as much as possible into a logo to get their moneys worth! Then to top it off they reckon they are doing us a favor by making those ‘helpful’ pointers because their sister’s niece just decorated her front room and so has some real design insight and they would like her to cast her eye over it. Thanks for the blog, cant wait to read the others on your site!

  • Christine Donnelly Reply

    Interesting post, and what great comments!

    Re Bob’s comment: “The rest of the world works on the basis of making products and then selling them to people, why is it so absurd for logo design to work on the same basis?”

    Products work this way, Bob. Pre-fabricated products. Your example was a car- so let’s use that one. Yes, you can test it and see it before purchase. It’s a product. Imagine now, that the product itself would make or break the image of your company. Imagine that product touched every aspect of marketing – I would imagine, that a competitive business owner would want a custom car to stand out from the crowd.

    As with anything that is custom, there is a creative fee attached to the custom work. Your custom car is not something that you could try and test before paying any money. How much would you pay up front?
    30% ? 50%? Expect to pay the same up-front costs with any professional providing you with custom services. Perhaps you are only willing to pay for the stock car – that’s fine. Expect stock returns on your investment. In design and marketing, as in anything in life, you really do get what you pay for.

  • Mary Reply

    Great read. Thanks for simply stating what I deal with everyday:)

  • Ali Hitch Reply

    Top article as usual. Couldn’t agree more with you – well all of you really, it looks like the designers are looking to take a stand!.

    I particularly love one of your quotes I read the other day, ‘I can’t lower the quality of my work so unfortunately I can’t lower the price’.

  • lieb Reply

    Nice to see your article still getting linked too. I know I’ve read this before.
    While I do not dispute anything you say here, I can’t help but wonder, in the examples of well known professionally designed logos you show, which comes first, the logo or the brand. Some of the logos, especially the Toyota and Nike, would be meaningless if you did not already know the brand. They convey no information about the brand. They are only good examples of successful logos because the brand is successful. How many logos, of equal quality, do you suppose are useless because the brand never took off? Was it the fault of the logo?

  • David Lewis Reply

    Yes, but if course the peole buying $1 logos off Deskgn Point are not the kind of “clients” than any true professional would be seeking out anyway.

  • Chris Ford Reply

    You may want to remove that Nike logo from your “professional” examples, since Carolyn Davidson charged only $35 for it (Granted it was 1971, but still…) ;)

    That one may be the exception that proves the rule, lol!

  • Anonymous Reply

    I don’t want to be “that @$$h0le,” but please, please, please proof-read.

    It seems like you must have spent a couple of hours writing this post. It’s a respectable length. You have something important to say in it.

    But I can’t take you seriously because of the tone I hear when encountering run-on sentences and a lack of appropriate punctuation.

    Just…please. It’s not that you made a few mistakes, it’s that the entire article has been rendered in such a way that my mental image of you is of a very, very young person (VERY).

    For the same reasons your reader should respect their graphic designer, you *must* respect your reader. Take the same care with your articles as you believe a designer should take with a logo.

    Then maybe I’ll be able to pay attention to what you’re saying, rather than the amateurish way you’re saying it.

    I’m really trying not to sound like I’m flaming. Because I don’t mean to. However, there’s no truly tactful way of expressing myself.

  • george Reply

    The problem is that there are a lot of so called ‘designers’ out there who just won’t turn away work no matter how much out of pocket they are by the end of it. I spoke to a designer who charged under £60.00 for a logo and laughed when I asked why he charged so little. He said that he hated turning down work. I would rather charge £600.00 per job and lose 9 out of 10 of them at the quoting stage than do 10 out of 10 jobs and still only make ….

  • facebook emoticons Reply

    Thanks for the tips on logo design, I was having trouble in a design assignment.

    Nathan

  • www.websitemplates.bz Reply

    Thank you, good tips. I like you blog. It has good information

  • Illumifi Reply

    GREAT article! I love the dentist comparison. I’ve noticed in these tough economic times clients are getting that way with logos as well as other design services and websites, etc. They wouldn’t work their business for free, why should you? I agree it’s time for more education and realistic expectations! Thanks.

  • Dezinsekcija Reply

    This topic has been excellent, and I can say that is a great post, thanks a lot

  • Imran Reply

    i think all the low level companies are satisfied with 5$ logo but good companies & other clients if they understand what a good logo is would pay what you desire it’s always up to client (but people don’t think thy designer should have produced this logo in 2 minutes)

  • Majice Reply

    what is divide between “but it will look good on your portfolio” and “if you pay me professionally then you will get a professional”.

  • Banje Srbije Reply

    Very good post, I like it and I would like to say that I used a lot, and keep going!

  • Chris Hatcher Reply

    The old chinese brush painting story – a young boy sees a master paint a horse with just a couple of brush strokes.
    That was so quick the boy says.
    No said the mster – that horse took me 45 years to draw.
    Experience counts and costs!

  • celax Reply

    Yeah I agree, it’s a matter of cost vs quality issue actually. Nice article!

  • dk Reply

    I don’t completely agree with you. I DO agree that there is a serious difference between cheap logos and truly professionally researched and designed logos. But, not everyone has the same logo needs. If your a fortune 500 corporation that is going to be putting your logo on t-shirts, coffee cups or other tangible products then you NEED a real logo. If your Amazon.com or Ebay.com you need a real logo.
    But if your just some content site or online service – all you need is a basically appealing graphic. No one really cares about your logo – they primarily care about the content or service and you would be wasting your money to pay top dollar for something that you basically just don’t want to look ugly.
    Also the comparison you provided wasn’t really fair. I’ve worked with professional design services, and although the logos rocked they still didn’t compare to the top logos that you used (and I think 99% of the best logos are going to fall into that same grouping).

  • dk Reply

    Also, I might add the some of the “best” logos that everyone knows, like Disney or Coca cola actually pretty well suck as logos. The only thing that made them iconic was that the brand/product is so huge that the logo BECAME iconic in response. Other than maybe the color red, Coke could have had any typeface and it would have still become iconic when you look at it because the DRINK is so freaking good and you want to buy it and every time you drink it you see that logo.
    So I think allot of the credit that logos of the huge brands get is simply that the brands and products themselves are great and really nothing to do with the logo itself other than you see it so much that you think the logo is great.

  • Business Logo Reply

    You raise some really good points about why logo designs should be a relatively big ticket item, but I was wondering if you could give some indicators of what sort of prices a logo should go for.

    I did see that you put down a number of points about what you should factor into the price, but perhaps an article on how it should be broken down with some case study examples would be helpful to newcomers to the logo design industry.

    Thanks

  • mark Reply

    I think you should have a facebook share button… You have a good article here and I want to share it on my friends on facebook as well as twitter. Thanks!

  • Prolom Banja Reply

    I agree completely with you, and I put this post in the bookmarks, thank you

  • CEDRIC Reply

    the Nike logo was 20 dollars….how awesome is that. its funny how people refrence to already big established logos to point out how important a logo is….lets say if way back nike decided not to use the swoosh logo and went with the letter “N”…THE WHOLE SUBJECT WOULD be about the letter N…

  • Adam from Lemon Head Design Reply

    Nice article. O completely agree that spec work and contest is destroying the industry. I can hardly believe there are professionals out there offering their services at such criminal rates. I’ll tell you this article has made me think about re-evaluating my own logo. Any suggestions?

    Thanks, love your articles

  • Alex Greenwood Reply

    Well said. I have similar issues with prospective clients asking for what amounts to 90% of a complete PR plan on spec. Can’t do it, won’t do it. Giving it away is a mug’s game.

  • Dustin Reply

    A serious business needs a good logo. Companies spend millions on logo’s to represent their brand. They think it’s important, every business owner should too. Personally I like logo’s that are the company name. You show the Toyota logo above, everyone know it. Not very often do you see just the logo. Watch a NBA or college basketball game. logo+Toyota always. Still in their marketing they are trying to tie the two together. Then there’s Fedex. Their logo is their name and they have no extra work to make their logo and name be one. Just my two cents

  • Kokan i Sin Sokobanja Reply

    Earnings from making the logo is very small, and I do not know how it can be in today’s earnings when all copied from others and steal ideas.

  • Logos Reply

    “Now compare these professionally designed logos and answer the same questions as above….
    See the difference?”

    Erm, the Nike logo actually DID only cost them $35.

  • Concurs cosmetice Reply

    You are right, but not every one needs a $500 logo. Most of the logos are for sites that are not build for success. Sometimes 10 mediocre sites make up for a great single one :-)

  • carla Reply

    I agree, it happens all the time that the clients think that the logo is something that can be made in a matter of minutes, and that everybody can do one, without any research, and it’s very difficult to make them see the whole process behind the creation of a logo. Only after seeing all the research and sketching time from the point of view of the designer one can appreciate the value of a good logo.
    I learned a lot from this post, particularly what is needed to know if a logo is any good.

  • LaLainya Kruger Reply

    Dito to many of the comments! ;) Although, I’d wish you would change the title from $5 to $150! Very rarely is even $150 a realistic price. This is simply because of the research and discovery period plus legalities behind a companies logo. Not to mention the value of education, experience and talent when it comes to design and even font style appropriate for their over all brand.

    So please change it to $150. $5 makes it sound like $50 to even $200 is ok. The exaggerated point is a bit too exaggerated. My starting price for a logo is $500. I do go lower if the client is educated on the process and has done their research, plus has something in mind that is already a great start and something that has potential!

    Thank you!

  • Mark Reply

    It really annoys me how many times I’ve been asked to produce artwork for people and they think I’m charging too much for it. They don’t realise how much work actually goes into the research and creation of it and think that photoshop has an automated feature to produce something from scratch.

  • Soko Banja apartmani Reply

    Each honor you, good post there is nothing, keep it up, bravooooo

  • Cesar Rivera Reply

    Jacob,

    Nice post. Are you practicing what you preach? I find it strange that you would write about this subject and on the Carrot site—the company you work for—has a naming contest for the 2012 Ford Mustang V6 Performance Package. Isn’t this the same thing?

    Shouldn’t a trained writer or designer work with the client on naming the package? This contest looks to garner free work from several sources and then award a prize to the one that is chosen.

    I realize you probably don’t work on every project at the company you work for, I just find it curious that you have this post. Then, the company you work for has a naming contest. You, as a concerned designer, seem to be contradicting what you have written.

    I feel that design and ad companies need to lead by example. I can see a potential client going to a firm and saying, “Hey, Carrot Creative runs contests for creative work. Can we get the same thing in a logo or branding strategy?” There are several young designers out there that look to agencies in NYC as a leader of the design industry.

    Just so you know, I did not go looking for that example of work. I was curious about your work and this site led me to the Carrot site. I guess it is my nature to look into the sources I read.

    Sincerely,

    Cesar Rivera
    Graphic Designer

  • Cesar Rivera Reply

    Jacob,

    Allow me to apologize. I did not read your bio fully and realize that I’ve maid an error. I see now that you do not work for Carrot.

    My sincerest apologies.

    Respectfully,

    Cesar Rivera
    Graphic Designer

  • David Mittelberg Reply

    Hi,

    I am a Freelance Designer/Web Designer/Developer and I can safely say the reason spec work has become common in the design industry, is due to the designers with-in the industry themselves.

    If you don’t value your work, or have the “balls” to tell someone no, this is my fee, this is why ti cost this, etc… then it is your own fault.

    I refuse to do work without a contract, without a deposit, the deposit is only refundable with-in the first 30 days or before the completion of the project, which ever comes first.

    I always ask a persons budget and if they try to low-ball me, I don’t do the work. I would rather take one client that actually values quality professional work, than 10 that are looking to sham a schlub who doesn’t have the adversity to say, “hey, this is my value, my expertise are valuable, this is my price, take it, or find someone else.”

    I value my work, I value myself, I value my profession and I value my industry, if all designers were the same, we would be more respected abroad.

    I had a guy tell me he wouldn’t pay me more than $300.00 for a website. I told him, call me back after he gets a $300.00 website built and it does his business more harm than good, if the site even works at that.

    The minimum I charge for a website, basic HTML/CSS with minimal design runs around $1200.00-$1500.00.

    Larger sites can cost upwards of $10,000, easily.

    Logo’s, I charge upwards of $300.00 and that can go way up in price depending on the diversity of media the logo needs to be presented upon.

    VALUE YOUR INDUSTRY PEOPLE! VALUE YOURSELF!

  • Liarena Reply

    I understand all sides of this argument. I understand that spec work sucks, however I would NEVER blindly hire a logo designer without seeing if their creative process flows along side mine.

    Without seeing a sample of their ideas for my project, I can’t make that decision. I have no problem paying for quality work, but you need to show me that your interpretation of my needs will be worth my money. Simple as that.

    I have money to pay, you need to prove to me that you’re worth it. The dental scenario is entirely different. It’s not the dentist’s interpretation of what you want your teeth to look like that you’re buying. It’s a specific service with a specific set of rules.

  • Manoj Krishnan Reply

    hi JC

    I am Manoj krishnan (Graphic designer) from India now working in Dubai (UAE). This web and your works are fantastic. Wishing you all the best for your future carrier.

    regards
    manoj krishnan

  • Jenny Reply

    Thank you so much for the article I am a senior in collegg and as I do not understand it all I believe my work should cost more than $5.00 or $10.00. I work hard on my creation and I will get paid for it. Again thanks

  • liz Reply

    I’ve read a few different articles on the subject, I agree with some of the comments that pricing boils down to the experience and the design quality of the designer always keeping in mind that you get what you pay for. cheap= not the best quality time. I think clients might not all admit this but they know this is a true gauge to determine pricing.

  • Mach Reply

    For all the people talking about the little shops that can’t afford even a low-priced $150-$200 logo…
    Then they don’t get one. If they think typing up something in MS word is good enough for that point of their business, they can do that. Plenty of businesses start out without a logo, become moderately successful enough to afford the next step and then they -take it properly-. The problem is clients doing a startup are coming to designers on day one asking for a logo. They shouldn’t be asking yet. They should be asking after they’ve been running for a year successfully and now have the capital and the need for a real logo, because their customer base has plateaued due to a lack of good branding. If they don’t want to take the step up to a larger customer base, perhaps expanding to a website, opening another branch, (some mom & pops prefer not to) then they can stay where they are, and that’s fine. In the meantime, we shouldn’t feed them $25 logos, especially if they say things like “well my nephew could do it for free”. It just devalues the real logos they’ll try to get later on.

    Some jobs are worth turning down. Even coca-cola didn’t start out with their iconic logo – they just told newspapers to print their ads with block letters and after a year or two they decided to start using a real logo. That’s how it works. You don’t have a logo from day one unless you’re rich or a designer. It’s called “building a brand”, after all. The first blocks to get a business built does not include a logo.

    tl;dr Clients are asking for logos too early in a business’ life. Logos should come after a business has made enough capital to afford one (otherwise your business likely doesn’t deserve one)

  • Ath-m50 Reply

    You can get logos designed for $5 from fiver. There are lots of proffesional designers willing to design logos for as little as $5. This is the sad truth!

  • Fred Campbell Reply

    I think one of the major problems is client ignorance and this is compounded by there being a lot of cowboys out there.

  • Vicky Reply

    Maybe this article isn’t targetted for companies that are just getting started, but I think some idea would have been helpful. Obviously a good logo will cost a lot of money, but what else can a start-up do than try the $5 ones? I want a good logo because I understand and appreciate the importance of one. And while I may be willing to spend a few hundred dollars on one, I’m terrified that I will not be happy with what I get back. Like, 99 Designs only gives you so many designs for a certain amount. So I pay a couple hundred and get 10 designs that I don’t like. Then what? I’m right back where I started.

  • Virtual Agents Reply

    What you have paid for a logo design it is your choice. $5.00 is a cheap logo design that educate people to save compare with the professional logo design, the comparison is not the price but the exact presentation of the design demand by the customer which is important and valuable in their business.

  • Denim Geek Reply

    good article…. im sure most of my clients think a the going rate for a logo is £5…. that would get you about two lines.

  • Pokemon Reply

    Try deviantart for cheap and good logos.

  • Ricky Reply

    Why would you pay the designer (up front or entirely)?

    Because you gave him a job to do and it will take hours to do so. If you don’t like the end result, consult with your designer. He/she will try to make the customer happy. It’s part of the project.

    “But I can first look at a car before I buy it.”

    Yeah, but if you don’t buy it, the product is still sellable. Logo’s (in fact, most kinds of design) aren’t sellable to just the next person who comes by because they are custom build for one company.

    “I think a lot of $20 logo’s look just fine”

    It’s true! Of course there are nice $20 logo’s. Sometimes, the first thing that pops into your head is perfect. And indeed, Henry from around the corner doesn’t need a very expensive logo because his business is quite small.

    “And the Nike logo was very cheap”

    Yes, but try to find a shape now that is that simple and just as recognizable. Business has changed since then.

  • shallowpockets Reply

    Listen,

    I think the people replying to this ad are primarily Designers with an unrealistic vantage point. I am not a logo designer, but I am a MUA…so I do understand what it feels like to have people NOT understand the value of the artist.

    HOWEVER, I agree primarily with, Bryan D. Hughes. McDonalds is in NO WAY in competitions with Fogo de Chao or Ruth Chris or BONES. They are in competition with BURGER KING, and WENDYS… Having ANY dish at either of the High End places would IMMEDIATELY give me an appreciation for the higher quality. In like manner you ability to design a piece that adequately represents my vision as a business owner should IMMEDIATELY set you apart from the $5 artists.

    As an artist I have to do consultations and trials that are often free to win the client. Who is shopping around by the way! Best bang for the buck is the ONLY thing a customer is looking for, but once you get them in your chair or in your face THAT is the opportunity to set yourself apart.

    The reality is, as a small business owner with ZERO start up costs I DESPERATELY want and wanted a professional unique one of a kind design but could NOT afford one. It was not a matter of “being cheap/moocher” I literally could NOT afford it. While, I did NOT want to get a cookie cutter design, I had NO CHOICE… Now, that my business is growing and evolving I an setting aside funds that will enable me to TRULY brand myself…hell I may even need a new biz name, but to get myself started I HAD to go with the vista prints and the 99designs contests. So, in reality it wasn’t a matter of competition… it is ALL most of us small business owners can afford… I almost cried when I realized I couldn’t afford anything better to represent what I stand for… It was AWFUL to design a business card, and run into friends beginning in the industry to find that they had picked the EXACT same template as I had…UGH!!!! TRUST ME, MOST of us lower income small business owners are who are funding the spec/template/contest sites, and it is NOT because we don’t appreciate nor see the value in professional work…it is simply because we don’t have the means…LITERALLY!

    I hope that this helps you understand the other end, and there are A LOT more of us than there are of those trying to get over.

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  • Lucid Reply

    thanks for ths article its really true. Logo design should not (in my opinion) cost less that £100 in the UK. Yes! £100. Noone should be forced to work below minimum wage – especially not if they have a degree to backup their skills. Many people will push and push for as low a price as they can get, and there are people who will work for these utterly low prices. No, paying more does not mean you will get a good design. But those graphic designers charging less should be ashamed of themselves for a)putting themselves down to badly b)ruining everyone elses chance at affording basic commodities! Thanks for posting :)

  • Kenn Schroder Reply

    For giggles, I tried getting a logo for $5.

    Nightmare.

    It looked something like a captcha code.

    ;)

    Kenn Schroder

    Blog + Report + Free Chapter to help you get web design clients.

  • Ginger Jo Barreto Reply

    Very well said. You wrote the article 3 years ago, and people are still commenting. I will point people toward your blog if they question the cost of logo design. And still with all the work that goes into logo design, I would say that the average designer is still not compensated for what is entailed in the process. Many thanks for your time.

  • Web Design Reply

    Anyone wanting a logo for $5 do not deserve a logo. It is like ridiculing someones creativity.

  • Nate Reply

    Nice read. Thanks for the post.
    One of the ways that clients can help themselves out, is to sit down and write a comprehensive brief. I mean, if you are going to spend good money on a logo, you should have at least thought about the subject extensively yourself. Use emotive language when talking about your product or service, even to the point of describing it in heat, smell, taste and texture. A good designer should be able to pick up on these “vibes” and translate your wishes accordingly. As part of the commissioning process, also stipulate that they should be able to explain how their designs meet your criteria.

  • Houston Web Design Reply

    I agree many times those that spend money on a cheap logo will then go looking for someone to redo it in the future. This being said, many times, there are the smaller companies that do not need a very expensive logo and will do just fine with a cheaper logo to start. I do agree with the fact that it is hard to decipher the cost of a logo since not only do you need to include your design time, but you also need to include the time that you will be dealing with the client while they are making up their mind and all of the changes that they would like to make.

  • Soko Banja astma Reply

    Professional development for the company logo is very serious business and am a buyer and gentle that a good logo 50% of the seriousness of the company. Your post is great and how to explain what needs to be done. Thanks for the advice.

  • joanna Reply

    I completely agree with your article! It is great and so true!
    I just wanted to add that we also have studied a long time to have our profession and very often paid a lot of money for it!

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  • Business Logo Reply

    Absolutely agree with everyone. I also do not think that cheap logos are worth going for at all unless you are happy to redesign them some time later on. However, by then you could already have done the damage to your brand. Great post. Thank you

  • Stara Planina Reply

    I think that clients are completely outside the sphere of the event, and therefore should be nice to explain how development costs logo.

  • Alicia Reply

    Now I know. This is very much valuable information. No wonder! HAHAHAHA. Thanks!

  • Jack1987 Reply

    well, I have found a site that offers cheap logo design at $18…did a good job for me so not complaining..not much of a portfolio but very friendly..LOL

  • Daly Reply

    In the shortest possible – Logo is what represents you and you don’t want something cheap representing you. full stop!

  • Soko Banja Reply

    Each logo for a company or site, or any organization which has to be paid very much, because if it is a good logo and advertising 100% success.

  • Kiz Reply

    Or you can agree on the $5, but then make it a really bad logo. And when they complain, you can just say “Sorry, you only wanted to pay 5, well, thats a $5 dollar logo.

    And then get yourself a coffee at Starbucks or something. :D

  • New Gamer Nation Reply

    I totally agree, graphic artists are the most under appreciated and under paid people around

  • santosh kumar Reply

    i agree with u. there r logo designs that were cheap then, but memorable until now (nike). at the same time there r logos that were very expensive but failed utterly (olympics 2012). so, i think hiring a right professional is the key point. ya. pro is always expensive service.

    thanks, great article…

  • Logoswish Reply

    This article help me each time to describe to my clients why i am charging more than $10. Thank you.

  • Barbara Lee Reply

    Wow! Fabulous article about logo design for $5. May I quote you? Just had that question this morning, and was so glad to find your article. I was looking around to see what processes the brain has to go through to come up with a logo that eventually is “simple”! And the answer to that is why I think it can not cost $5. As you mentioned, it even takes breaks, so the thoughts can mature and develop, and so other ideas can occur. I know of graphic design studios that force their “designers” to come up with logos in two hours. Ugh! That would be a good reason not to work there. And forget learning how to use the software. Just put this one on your plate – Tennessee Valley Authority paid $28,000 for T V A. Don’t you love that?!

  • Theraisa K Reply

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only designer out there that values their hard work and the amount of effort that goes into a project (and charges/rates it accordingly). More clients need to read articles like this and understand that if they want their business to succeed on a visual front with their customers that they need to put more effort into their brand and marketing materials. That is by hiring a designer that doesn’t snitch clipart off of Google, slap it together and submit it as a “winning” design. So much more effort should be put into it.

  • ACH in GA Reply

    I agree with every word of this post. But honestly the sort of pervasive misunderstanding described here is one of the reasons I gave up freelance logo design altogether. I just couldn’t fight the ignorance any longer and didn’t enjoy it enough to put up with the b.s.

    I have since moved into book production (putting together books from manuscript through printing). As a book producer I NEVER, EVER have to convince a client that they need my professional services and that those services should be paid for. The very fact that we’re often dealing with 200, 300, or 400 pages at a time makes it immediately obvious that production is not something that’s going to happen for $5.

  • Philippe Blanc Reply

    Please note my reaction to this article in Inc., under the column:

    http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/create-a-logo-7-smart-design-tips.html?goback=.gmp_1807171.gde_1807171_member_108056569

    Desperate to see people supposed to promote Business topics calling for general impoverishment!

  • Dizon Reply

    Great Article! I’m going to show to this my clients and hopefully they “get it”!!! Thanks for writing this!!!

  • Emily Reply

    It’s so easy for a client to look at a slick logo in the completed stage, and assumed that it was dreamt up and created in under an hour. Even if that were the case, who wants only $5 for an hour of hard work? Regardless, Logos are a labor of love and a proper one can take weeks if not months to develop. All the various concepts and back and forth… This takes time my friends. Whenever I visit fiverr and I see people requesting logo work for $5, well I must say it really gets under my skin. This post is definitely the right step in that direction of educating clients on how to approach a logo development ; good job!

  • • pxlgirl • Reply

    A lot has been said on this matter, and your article sums it up perfectly. I better not come up with writing yet another one, but maybe an image (or two) would say more than a thousand words:

    http://www.designbypxlgirl.com/insights/how-much-is-the-fish/

  • Akvapark Sokobanja Reply

    Excellent post, but I have to admit I was delighted to have a nice presentation explaining the logo. Thanks and a big greeting for you.

  • Gabe Strong Reply

    This type of work is not confined to logo and graphic design.
    It is utterly FLOODING the video production world. The funny
    thing to me, is that many others in the creative fields, somehow
    think this is ‘OK’. I see professional photographers using
    the ‘video functions’ of their still cameras to offer
    ‘professional video production’ at cut rate prices. I see
    web developers offering ‘video editing services’ on spec.
    And yes, I see graphic designers offering video services
    as well. When I talked to one about it, he thought it was
    OK because ‘It’s not like you need any skill to do video
    anyways, just point the camera and hit record’. I know
    photographers who have decided to offer ‘graphic design’
    services because it ‘isn’t that hard’. We not only have others
    doing it to us, but we also do it to ourselves. The biggest
    thing a creative person needs to learn, is that if they
    want to run a business, stop treating it like a hobby!
    You need to make enough money to pay your salary, your retirement,
    your health insurance, your business expenses (new computers,
    software, cameras, or whatever you need for your business) and
    also pay both your half and your employers half of Social Security.
    And people wonder why we won’t work for $200 when:
    ‘my nephew’s friend has a camcorder and computer, he’ll make my
    video for $50, why can’t you get close to his price?’

  • Chris Prescott Reply

    I wish this article could be sent to any and all clients prospecting a new brand identity! The hardest thing for me being a graphic artist is when a client contacts me and lays on the guilt trip with such phrases as: “I’m just starting out, help me out here.” Or my favorite: “I need a simple logo, it shouldn’t take you that much time.” This is the hardship between client / designer. Great post regardless!

  • DM Reply

    Thanks for this great post. I’d love to be charging more.

  • Alex Reply

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  • Jen Reply

    If “Spela Piano” is supposed to be German, it should be spelled “Spiele”. That company is just trying to look bad.

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  • Aale Eimraan Reply

    Very good and useful article for beginner or intermediate level designer. It’s praiseworthy. But a point, “All comments are moderated by myself and I reserve the right to edit or not publish your comment.” Then what the need of readers’ comment? You could post yourself whatever you like!!

  • Pete Horam Reply

    Agreed. A large part of why customers choose one company over another if often simply down to branding and image, a big part of which, is determined by or reflected in the logo. Do people actually charge that little?

    One question though. How do you work out how much to charge so you get a fair price for all of your effort and work without pricing yourself out of the market and putting off clients?

    I imagine this is easier if you are a reputable established firm but if you are quite small or just starting out what should one do?

  • Ali Albimani Reply

    It’s really very big issues. In my country “Oman” some organisation in government advert to design a logo for it in competition. After they declares the winner we were shocked to the logo. its look like kidding design.. however, may any organisation pay more price for designing logo but they didn’t choose suitable one.

  • Saadullah Aleem Reply

    Logo Design is the face of any business and it helps the business to operate and grow. $5 is because of the countless freelance and spec work sites online that encourage people to design for this low.

  • Kamal Malinda Reply

    This is a nice post. Thanks.
    Actually a professional logo will be costs than $300. But for $5 it will be a crap…..

  • Cheap Logos Design Reply

    I agree with your points thanks for sharing the blog.

  • Robert Reply

    I’ve just wasted valuable time perusing these rather absurd comments. FIVE DOLLAR LOGOS? That is beyond insane, ;).

    According to the Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook (11th edition and quite outdated), logo designs are well into five figures…ranging from $2,000 to $7,500 for small clients, $3,000 to $8,000 for medium clients, and $5,000 to $20,000 for large client. They can go for far more… even into the millions for large international companies such as Pepsi. They also should be a result of a well researched and produced creative brief which considers the market situation, target audience definition, product positioning, unique selling proposition, etc. They generally include presentation of three to six “schematics.” They can involve many hours of production time AFTER the basic ideas are flushed out.

    – My two cents. fwiw.

  • Scott Reply

    This is like when I used to work in the restaurant business. I couldn’t believe how many managers and owners would give refunds when a customer did not like an item. I could understand a refund for it not being cooked properly, being poorly described, not staying consistent, etc. However just because someone does not like the dish doesn’t mean they deserve their money back.

    It’s like going to the movie theater, watching the film and then concluding you did not enjoy it. Is it ethical to ask for your money back? Or how about playing the lottery, do we ask for a refund when we don’t win?

    For logo design cash should be upfront and it should be expected if they are going to be doing all of the work it should be a lot more than $5.

    I had some success running a logo contest for my website logo (seen in the link). I ran a contest because as a hobby, web design is not a business for me yet. Most of my work I do for non-profits and pro bono. I could not afford a design from someone highly qualified.

    The contest was not hundreds of dollars, but definitely not $5! I got what I paid for. I wanted an original typeface with some kind of symbol that looked somewhat unique and good in print or online, color or black and white. That is what I got. It’s not the best and it may only be slightly memorable, but that was not important at the time. Maybe later, a redesign will.

  • Robert Reply

    I’m working on a logo project now. I asked for and got $750… probably should have asked for $1,500. Fortunately, they like my initial thumbnail rough…

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  • Jeremy Reply

    Great blog. You really have some great work as well. You are very talented indeed.
    Here is a fun game for you. I have uploaded an image showing logo designs from 2 different designers (names withheld to protect the innocent)
    As you look at the image, you will see that there are two VERY distinct differences in talent. Reply back with what you think a logo design costs from each designer.

    Here is the link: http://i1013.photobucket.com/albums/af251/otbg6785/sampledesigners_zps290eb7db.png?t=1368821142

    Anybody is wlecome to “play along”. I am curious to see what people think the value of the attached logos are.

    • Mark Reply

      Not sure on price but the top set are the amateur ones…

    • Jeremy Reply

      Since no one wants to play along, I’ll just say the costs of each.
      The top row (designer 1) are from a website that advertises logo design starting at $550.00.
      The bottom row (designer 2) are from a website that advertises logo design starting @ $125.00.

      Point being, price is not the deciding factor of quality. The original article implies that logos under $200.00 are trash and simply not worth it. I whole-heartily disagree. EVERY business has a set budget they can allow for logo design. MOST small business start ups don’t have thousands of dollars to put towards their logo. Will they get a great logo that is able to be trademarked from fiverr? More than likely not. Can that same business get a nice, completely customized logo that can be trademarked for under $200.00? Absolutely!
      The reason that the logos used in the article are so famous and easily recognized is because they have had Millions and millions of dollars worth of advertising money behind them, not just because “they are great logos”.

      • Robert Reply

        Nonsense. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. It is virtually impossible to design a quality logo based on a strategically correct design rationale for a few hundred dollars. The FIVE dollar premise of this thread is insane.

  • Ryan Reply

    Amen! Thanks for explaining how important a true professional logo design is

  • Rey Reply

    Hello all,

    I found this article very informative. I am actually in need of a logo myself and was wondering if anyone would be interested in working with me. It is a logo for a salsa band of about 13 musicians from all different parts of the world. Thanks for the article! cheers!

  • Phreda Reply

    Thanks for sharing this. I am a graphic designer in Ghana Africa, and i think businesses understand quite well how important a logo design is to their companies over here, except for a few that think they can get around it themselves by getting sample logos from online and then they realize they are using the same logo as another company. Thanks a bunch!..Now having a price on a logo would be much easier dealing with clients.

  • Neale Gilhooley Reply

    Nicely put article, I agree with all of your points. Recently I even saw an post on the well respected E-consultancy website apparently advocating $5 logo design (£3.46 back then), in it the author was roundly attacked and no wonder and the issue of who owns the copyright was one that had escaped him. http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/62355-how-to-get-a-professional-logo-for-3-46 that article fails to mention the brief, objectives, tone of voice etc. but it is worrying that a similar industry professional was happy with his purchase, albeit to prove a point not to build a business and brand.

    Great blog do feel free to visit or link to mine http://www.edinburghdesignconsultancy.co.uk where I try and touch on similar issues. I’ll be back :)

    Neale

  • Yousuf Reply

    Very useful article. love it!

    After I graduated from school as a graphic designer, I started taking freelance projects for very, very low prices. I remember I charged about $50.00 for few logos I designed back then.

    But after becoming more experienced in 2-3 years time in this field I started charging more. One logo I designed recently was for $1,160.00. Another one I am working on now will be $1,420.00 or more depending on few factors that we are discussing this week.

    I am happy that there are people who value the professional graphic design!

    Now I can confidently give a high price for any project and I do not have any hesitation in rejecting it because if I take it for a low price, this means I am destroying the market that involves me and thousands of other graphic designers from all over the world. We are graphic designers … This is our profession … This is how we make a living!

    Cheers!

  • creative graphic design blog Reply

    Helvetica as always in the first post….I usually use Helvetica in most of my works .

    Cheers

  • Bleeping Design Logos Reply

    Sites like fiverr etc has really lowered the price to a great extend. But people fail to notice the quality of a $5 logo. Digital Point has a lot of inexperienced designers.

    I never over charge from my clients but never compromise on quality.


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