It’s obvious, isn’t it, that when you give me an answer to that question, I’m going to say, ‘That’s not enough!’ And when I answer it, you’ll say, ‘That’s way too much!’ But once you’ve had time to consider , you’ll begin to realise why going for the cheaper option could actually cost your business money in the long term.
I’m not going to talk figures
If you’re reading this article hoping for a definitive answer – you should pay £642.39 for a good logo – then I’m sorry, but you’ll be disappointed. I can’t tell you exactly how much you should pay for a logotype because there are so many different factors that need to be taken into account. The prices for logos vary depending on geography, on whether it’s a simple logo design or a full corporate branding exercise, on the experience of the designer and so on.
But what matters is understanding the value of a logotype to your business.
Why do I need to spend money on a corporate logo?
The internet is awash with people offering to design your logos for £10 or $20. They’ll get it back to you in less than an hour. A small, colourful combination of shapes and letters that’s supposed to sum up everything your company means and stands for. And if you believe a corporate logotype is nothing more than a pretty picture, then maybe these are the guys for you.
But I happen to believe a company branding is a whole lot more. Name the biggest company you can think off. Coca-Cola? McDonalds? Mercedes? Whoever it is, I’ll bet that their logo sprang into your mind immediately. Don’t you want your clients to think of your brand in an instant? A company logotype must be memorable, adaptable for use over a wide range of media and needs to ‘broadcast’ your company message. Think of how the Nike ‘swoosh’ indicates motion or how the FedEx’s design contains a hidden arrow.
These subliminal messages don’t happen by accident. And you won’t get one by spending £10 or running a logo design competition. You might get ten logos designed on spec – meaning you’ll only pay for one if you like it – but, please believe me, you won’t get a good one. Google ‘cheap logos’ and take a look at some of the portfolios that you’ll find. These are not logos that are going to stick in your memory. Or your clients’.
Design competitions and crowd-sourcing are in effect asking designers to work for free. It devalues their work and it devalues our profession as a whole. I’m sure you wouldn’t work without the expectation of getting paid. Furthermore, settling for a £10 logo devalues your own company. Your logotype will frequently be the first point of contact between your business and potential new customers. So you need to put your best face forward.
What’s the difference with a professional?
When a professional and experienced designer charges you what I would call a more realistic price for their work, it’s to pay for a comprehensive design process. A good designer will spend more time discussing the brief with you than a spec designer will spend on the whole job. He or she will make sure that they find out all about your business and your expectations for the logo, how and where it will be used and what your corporate message is.
Back in the studio, a good designer doesn’t simply sit at the computer waiting for inspiration to strike. There’s a lot of research involved – they’ll look at your competitors’ logos and analyse the most successful players in the industry. Early concepts will materialise – sketches, ideas for shapes and colours, a selection of typefaces. At this stage, the client will be given a first look and his comments will be taken on board as the design goes forward. Final mock-ups of the best designs will result in another round of collaboration with the client. Once amendments have been made, a formal presentation of the logo and other elements of the project will be put forward for final approval.
It’s a long process and it’s more intellectual than you might have expected. Your logo will be your most visual identifier for years to come. So make the investment your company’s worth.