Graphic Design is a very unique profession. It requires not only technical skill and knowledge, but also creativity and some level of artistic talent. It also usually requires a fairly hefty investment in terms of professional hardware and software, in addition to font libraries, vector assets, plugins, stock photos etc.
This makes it very difficult sometimes to qualify the value of a Graphic Designer or a project they will be producing for a client. There are a lot of different business models used by Graphic Designers and Creative Agencies. Some use billable hours, some use flat rates, others use estimates, some use a their own method for determining rates.
With that in mind one would think no reasonable person would expect a logo for $5.00 but they do.
If you want to watch a very informative but entertaining Rant by me about Fivver and Logo Design, you can watch this video.
Below however you can read some interesting information that will help you become more educated about Logo Design and the time cost and resources associated with getting a professional logo created.
I personally feel that it is a lack of understanding what a Logo Design, a professional Logo Design actually is and what the process behind a real logo involves, that leads people to seek “cheap logo design”. In truth some people honestly believe that a logo is just words and clip art they or someone else could put together in Microsoft Word or Publisher. They have no idea that by making some very common logo design mistakes they are ruining the image of their brand.
The Logo Design Process and Why It Isn’t Cheap
- GETTING THE LOGO DESIGN PROJECT STARTED 1-5 HOURS.
Client Inquiry, Meeting (In person, Skype, Phone, Email). Proposal. Design Brief. Contract. Deposit. 1-5 HRS.
Getting a client to communicate everything you need to determine what their project is, develop a design proposal, brief and contract or having the conversations that constitute that can take anywhere from 1 to 5 hours of a Designer’s time. That is time they are not marketing themselves, running their business, getting new clients, working for existing clients. In short it’s time they are not making money, so they are starting the relationship at an expense. If they are smart their price margins account for this.
- LOGO DESIGN RESEARCH 2-10 Hours
Once you know what the project is there is likely going to be some research involved, especially if you are less familiar with the brand and it’s industry. Just drawing up sketches off of what the client told you is not the smart way to go, you need to understand the market they are competing in and what the customers expectations would be.
- SKETCHING AND THUMBNAIL CONCEPTS 2-5 Hours
Visual Exploration is an important part of the design process and something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Too often designers are ready to jump in the computer without having brain storming sessions and working out their most basic ideas on paper first to save time before committing to something only to have to start over.
- DIGITAL DESIGN AND REVISIONS 2-10 Hours
Depending on the complexity of the design and the number of variations involved this process can take more or less time. When being done correctly a logo design will be developed in a vector program like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. Professionals use industry standard software like this and invested time into learning how to use it properly to produce quality results. Added to this a client may have changes or revisions that add additional time to this.
- PRODUCTION AND FILE PACKAGING 1-5 Hours
Delivering a JPEG is not delivering a finished logo, many clients fail to realize this. There are logo assets they need for print that will be very different files than the ones they need for web. Also they should get some notes on the logo design, the fonts utilized and the colors to match them consistently though their branding. This is something that gets overlooked quite often but shouldn’t. A finished logo design might have 5-10 files associated with it, or it may have 50. It all depends on the overall branding and variants.
Professional Logo Design in an Investment
As you can see logo design is an investment of time for a designer, a considerable amount of time somewhere between 8-40 hours potentially. With that in mind a designer has to charge in such a way that if a client were to back out, terminate the project or be struck by lightning they are not at loss for that time and effort. No practical business person want’s to operate at a loss, but clients often don’t necessarily view designers as business people, they view them as artist being paid for a hobby.
If a designer were to reasonably estimate that a project could take up to 20 hours with a client, even if they valued themselves at $15/hour which is below the standard for even an entry level designer in the United States, they would have need to price a project at $600 in order to insure a $300 non-refundable deposit once they take on the work, just to be compensated for their time.
This is not even taking into account the argument that one is not paying for time but rather for the value of a result. Which leads to why many people don’t want to invest in professional logo design, they are not invested in what they want the design for.
Money is Commitment
Despite the excuses made, most of the time it is as simple as a client not having that in their budget, or that the business is not something they are prepared to value at that price in order to represent or promote it. Money is commitment. If a client is not putting considerable money or time into advertising a business it is reasonable to question how committed or invested they are in it. Actions speak very clearly.
This is part of the reason for a deposit, both the client and designer have an incentive, they skin the game and something to gain by moving forward. They are invested at this point. Incentive usually means that communication is frequent, details don’t get overlook and quality is a priority in the process. When this is not the case it nearly impossible to guarantee or even expect a worthwhile result.
Excuses Used For Wanting Cheap Logos
- I don’t think it should cost that much just for a logo! (Irrelevant.)
- I already drew it you just need to make it digital… (Doesn’t necessarily reduce the work.)
- It doesn’t have to be anything complicated or fancy. (Irrelevant.)
- The logo is just type and a graphic! It’s not anything difficult. (Does not reflect knowledge of design.)
- The logo is only going on my website and business card. (Irrelevant.)
The bottom line is that you get what you pay for. If you have a small budget, you have to set your expectations and goals to align with the amount you have to invest in it. As the old saying goes, No Investment, No Return.
Designers, don’t feel compelled to undervalue yourself just to compete in the global economy, good work trumps everything and you are not losing clients by not charging less, those were not going t be your clients because they were not going to invest in your work, learn from Apple in this regard, if you want to be a premium brand, charge a premium price and people who value what you offer will afford it.
To those looking for a Logo Designer, consider what your goals are and what the experience you want is in working with someone. You can get cheaper prices abroad, but are you willing to deal with the hassle of the language and cultural barrier and being 1 of 100 projects in a chop shop? Is that worth saving money, or do you want to build a relationship with someone who will value your brand almost as much as you do, who has a vested interest in seeing you succeed and offering them more work?