Ask 10 people to design a logo for you and they’ll all charge you a different price.
Twitter paid iStock $15 for their logo. Nike paid a graphic design student $35 for their logo. BP paid $211,000,000 to a design agency.
How can this ambiguity help prepare companies who are trying to budget for creating a logo?
There is no one logo designer that all companies go to, meaning that there’s no one price for a logo. The frustration here is valid because all of these designers are essentially providing the same thing: a logo.
The ambiguity of logo design cost
Why isn’t there a set price, or even a standard range of prices for logo designs?
The simple reason is that designers aren’t just providing a product; they’re providing a service, too.
Every company that needs a logo has different requests and different applications that they want to apply their logo to. Every designer has a different amount of experience, a different method of billing, and a different level of commitment to their projects.
Understanding this fluctuation in both the client and the designer will help to give the client a better idea of how they can budget for a logo design.
Part 1: the factors that impact logo design cost
As a business begins developing a budget for their new company or for a rebrand, designing or redesigning a logo is essential. Some designers offer to do this for free, while others will charge hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you have a great idea in mind and a little artistic ability, don’t forget that you always have the option to design your logo on your own. Getting your hands on some free graphic design software means that you can have that logo design look exactly as you imagined it for no price at all.
Let’s look at some of the factors that impact how much a logo will cost your company if you choose to go with a graphic designer.
Reputation of the designer
The client’s ultimate goal is to have a logo that perfectly represents their brand, but not all designers are created equally.
Some designers might have a great work ethic, charge a low price, and give clients something that looks awful. Other designers have a poor work ethic and charge a large fee, but eventually come up with something great.
These qualities can be mixed and matched in many ways, and it’s not easy to know what kind of designer you’re going to get unless you do your research.
Because of the diversity of designers and their abilities, it’s crucial that companies do their research on the designer. This doesn’t just mean looking up their LinkedIn profile (although that’s not a bad idea). Also check out their graphic design portfolio and study the style of work that they do.
If you’re still interested in working with the agency or freelancer, get in touch with their references. A quick conversation can reveal a lot about what the designer was like to work with in the past and whether the client was happy with the overall experience.
Depth of research
A logo design done by an online logo generator is usually inexpensive because it was made before the client even signed in.
If someone is branding a new company or rebranding an already-existing business, it’s imperative that the designer knows exactly who their client is, inside and out.
Research is crucial and is considered to be a part of the logo design process. Skipping this step will result in a generic-looking logo that doesn’t tie directly back to the roots of the client’s company.
This step also takes a lot of time and dedication, and therefore becomes part of the service the client pays for. A good designer or agency will take the time to research not only their client’s company, but also their client’s competitors. The data collected will help the designer make decisions about the overall logo design.
Some designers will charge their clients by the hour. Other designers will have a fixed rate per project once they get a better understanding of the client’s needs. Clients should research and be aware of how the designer is planning on charging them so that they can financially prepare accordingly.
Concepts and revisions
The rate at which a designer charges may or may not include the amount of concepts and revisions that the designer will ultimately provide because those things are hard to predict. If a client asks their designer to provide them with two completely different logo design options, the designer will likely charge less than if the client had asked for five options.
Additionally, the revisions that you request of your designer may be included in the price. Many designers (if they’re smart) will put a limit on the amount of revisions included in the initial payment in their graphic design contract. If a designer permits three revisions and the client is not happy after that third one, the designer may charge the client to go over additional changes for a fourth time.
Applications and deliverables
Before sketching any ideas out, the client and the designer should have a mutual understanding of where this logo will be applied to and how it will end up in the clients hands.
One client may just want their logo design to go on uniforms and can be delivered in a few different file formats. Other clients may be expecting a few variations of their logo delivered to them in .JEP, .PNG, and .AI file formats and intends on those designs being placed on everything from business cards to billboards. The amount that the client will pay the designer will increase as the amount of challenges, variations of file formats, and applications rises or changes.
Part 2: the cost of a logo designer
Every designer comes with their own experience, specialities, and work ethic. These qualities rise and fall with the price that the designer charges. Below, we’ve split the most common sources for logo designers into three levels based on the anticipated price range that they’ll charge.
These options are sometimes the easiest way to get what you’re looking for – to a point. Logo designs that are low cost may look like a great deal, but they’re not always exactly what you’re looking for.
If you’ve just opened up an Etsy shop to sell your homemade spoon chandeliers or you’ve begun to hone in your botany skills to help your neighbors keep their gardens looking fresh, this could be the perfect option for you. By paying this amount of money, you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for: a logo.
Online logo maker
Online logo generators are websites that allow you to use predesigned templates which can be altered and customized to your preference.
These interfaces simply ask for your company name, preferred logo style, and a category such as “Floral” or “Retail”. This is all the information these generators need to produce a few different generic designs.
Where’s the process in that?
While some of the broad-spectrum logos from an online generator look nice, choosing to go with one of these is like choosing to buy your wedding dress at Target versus a bridal shop. They’re pretty, but they’ll never scream, I’m made just for you! Little (if any) thought is put into these, but they’re an inexpensive and sometimes effective route to take for a logo design if you’re not too worried about really making a statement with your business.
Online logo contests
This route is ideal for a freelancer or aspiring graphic designer looking to earn their keep. It’s great practice and there’s a chance they could win enough money for groceries (you know, starving artists and all). But these logo competitions are not always the best place for a company to post their creative brief for a logo design.
Sure, you might get lucky and end up with an ingenious design at a price that’s equivalent to a couple of cups of coffee. But you might not get lucky at all. Before you submit your request for a new logo to one of these contests, take a moment to think about this process from the perspective of the designer.
One of two things usually happens with these contests.
The first is that the designer will work their heart out for you to make sure every element is in place. There’s a chance that you might get a terrific result, but that designer is about to be grossly underpaid for their work ethic.
The second is that the designer is submitting their work to ten or fifteen of these contests a week in order to maximize their chances of winning a small sum of money. While there’s a small chance that the outcome will be magnificent, there’s a larger chance that the end result will be sloppy, rushed, and unoriginal due to the lack of time spent on the project.
One way or the other, someone’s not getting what they deserve. The former undervalues creativity and hard work. The latter overvalues unoriginal content. If you’re looking for a quick, even temporary solution to your lack of a logo, this route might be safe. Otherwise, steer clear.
Level 2: $500 - $50,000
The more you pay, the more you’ll get. Paying in this range will get you someone who is likely willing to go through the logo design process with you. The range on this varies so heavily because the price depends on the level of experience that the designer has and how they charge. Paying within this price range will get you a logo, sure. But you may also be receiving some variations of that logo, a small style guide, and potentially some additional brand assets to go along with your logo.
Freelancers can be great to work with because they’re often dedicated to getting you exactly what you need.
Remember the above factors and make sure you’re aware of how your freelance graphic designer charges you: per project or per hour?
Before you hire someone, always look into how much experience your freelancer has. Take a look at their portfolio and request some testimonials from previous clients. The amount of experience they have will likely affect the cost and quality of the final logo design.
Normally, the more experience your freelancer has, the higher their quote will be. But they’ll also be likely to provide you with a contract that entails the deliverables you’ll be getting in the end. With a less expensive and presumably less experienced freelance graphic designer, you’ll be getting someone who’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but may need more instruction, patience, and time than you’re able to give in order to produce a good result.
Small and mid-size agencies
Agencies are typically a little more expensive than freelancers, but also have more resources to design with. You’ll be working with people who were interviewed and hired to work at a place that specializes in brand identity and will take the time to understand yours. You’ll go through a standardized process and be in contact with either a middleman or directly with the designer(s).
The biggest downside to these agencies is the price. Some agencies have overhead prices that are high enough (and those don’t include the labor). The expenses can scare some companies away, but it’s important to remember what you’re really investing in: the face of your brand.
Level 3: $50,000+
Logos at this price point aren’t going to be done in a day. Often, paying this amount of money will get you a lot more than just a logo. Designers being paid this amount of money will typically provide you with multiple variations of your logo, a style guide, additional brand assets, and even a brand strategy.
It really is the full package.
Design agencies don’t usually just send you off with a logo; they send you off with everything. While smaller agencies may assign an individual to your project, a design agency will assign a specially trained team to your unique needs. They’re going to be thorough, do intensive research and extensive analysis. If you’re looking for a quick design, you’re not going to get that here. Sometimes, the logo design process with an agency can take months.
You’ll be provided with full-service branding from a logo to an entire style guide. You’ll be getting the best of the best, have multiple options given for you to choose from, and decisions made based on solid data done from research on your own business.
Price is process
When you’re paying for a logo, you’re paying for much more than that. You’re paying for the communication, cooperation, and compliance of your designer. You’re paying them for their time, their effort, their blood, sweat, and tears. Next time your logo needs an update, take all of this information into account and do a little research before taking the cheapest route.
Remember: what you give is often what you get.
Does your logo design need an update but you’re not sure which way to take it? Read all about 2019’s logo trends and get a little inspiration.
Daniella Alscher is a Brand Designer for G2. When she's not reading or writing, she's spending time with her dog, watching a true crime documentary on Netflix, or trying to learn something completely new. (she/her/hers)