Just like any product that you pay for, the price and quality of a logo are closely related. There are situations where you can find high-quality logos for very low prices. And there are also situations where you end up overpaying for an underwhelming logo design.
A logo should cost what it’s worth. Now, what does that mean to you?
If you’re thinking that a logo should be easy to design and won’t really matter in the long run, then it won’t cost you much to find something appropriate. But if your goal is to attain something remarkable that will leave an impression on your customers for years to come, you’re on the right path.
You can see how those two statements drastically change your perceived value of a logo. So, let’s talk about the value of a logo.
In the logo “market” there’s a vast range of price points — almost any price you could imagine. The reason being, there are millions of designers and millions of clients with different budgets. The point is, the price of a logo is all situational. Time and money are not the only things that factor into the price of a logo. Let’s talk about a few examples.
Nike – $35
In 1971, Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight officially renamed their sports apparel company to Nike, Inc. The company had been around (as Blue Ribbon Sports) for nearly 8 years. The name change and the new logo in 1971 were all part of a rebranding effort.
That year, Carolyn Davidson, a freelance graphic designer who had built a good reputation with Knight, presented the iconic swoosh logo that we know so well today. The company was billed $35 for that logo.
It was the seventies, yet that still seems cheap for such a colossal company like Nike. But back then, they weren’t so big. Back then, they were nothing. And they paid the designer what they could afford — this was the logo’s value (at the time).
Pepsi – $1 million
In 2008, Pepsi went on a mission to redesign their old logo into something more contemporary. At the time, Pepsi was already a large and well-known company — the whole world knew about Pepsi. And so, this redesign called for a much greater sense of professionalism.
The Arnell Group, an ad agency, was hired to take on this task. There were months of research, travel, and discussions that went into the design of the new logo. In the end, the price of this redesign cost Pepsi upwards of $1 million.
It may sound crazy to charge or even pay this much for some colorful shapes. The reason being, the job required much more diligence by the designers and was much more valuable to the company.
And don’t forget, the creation of a logo is just half of the job. A great designer, especially for a large client, must eloquently present their design to a group of powerful people. It’s the designer’s job to cut through the bureaucracy and make the client envision this new brand identifier.
That’s a lot of pressure, especially for the big leagues.
One million dollars is a lot of money but this was how much Pepsi’s new logo was worth to them.
BP – $210 million
In the year 2000, the British oil company decided to change their 70-year-old logo into something new that presented them as less of an oil company and more of an energy company.
During this time, global climate change was being discussed and the public ridicule of oil companies was increasing. A dangerous industry for both employees and the environment, pretty much every oil company was spending big chunks of their budget on public relations.
The goal of this new logo was to broadcast the new face of BP to the world, as an environmentally conscious energy company. BP paid Landor Associates, a brand management company, around $210 million for their new logo.
It was a big investment, and it was very valuable to the company to be identified as something more than an oil company. They were paying for more than just the hours it took to design the logo. They were investing for the years of logo usage to come in their rebranding efforts.
Kapok Marketing – $500
The above examples are some extremes of well-known companies. As a small business, you should never expect to pay millions of dollars or even $35 for a good logo.
To give you a better idea, we’ll talk about our own logo, the Kapok Marketing logo. As a marketing company, we already had a good idea about our brand values. We also knew that our budget was not in the millions of dollars, like Pepsi or BP. We were starting a brand new marketing agency, so we wanted to play it a little safe in terms of our budget. There were so many moving pieces, and the future seemed very uncertain.
We had a concept for a Kapok tree, and we wanted a clean look. Since most of the branding information was already established for the company, the designer only had to focus on producing the logo.
This wasn’t a rebrand or redesign of an old logo, and we didn’t have any brand recognition at the time. So there wasn’t much pressure on the designer, like there was in the Pepsi or BP examples. We were given three options to choose from and ended up paying $500. This is what our logo was worth to us at that time.
Looking back, we probably should have spent more time and money on our logo. We should have asked for more revisions and paid closer attention to all the small details. We got lucky and the finished product turned out okay.
What to Look for as a Client
There are many ways to buy a logo design. You can buy a design that already exists online, or have one designed specifically for you. You can use the Internet to hire freelancers, or even ask your artistic friend to give it a shot.
Either way, here are some key things to look for in a logo designer:
When hiring anyone for a job, you want to look at their work history. Just like employers review a resume in order to hire new employees — you want to know the designer’s experience.
Take a look at their design portfolio. You can judge their previous work and style to see if it matches what you’re looking for. The number of samples also gives you an idea of the amount of time the designer has spent working in this field.
Remember, a logo that comes from a very experienced designer will cost more than a logo that comes from a less experienced designer. Which is not to say that you shouldn’t trust a novice to deliver you a great product. Price is not always set in stone, so the designer’s experience level should be used as a bargaining chip (from either side of the table).
If you find a designer with great testimonials and reviews, you’re on the right track. Be sure to read all of their testimonials to see what kind of designer they are and how easy they are to work with.
It’s just you doing your research. Again, the number of testimonials a designer has can be used to negotiate price.
When reviewing proposals, it’s important to understand the designer’s process. What do they need from you? Do they have a questionnaire for you to fill out? How long will it take to complete your logo?
These are a few questions you should be asking in order to gauge the professionalism of the designer. When you go into a logo project, it is a collaborative effort between the client and the designer. The efficiency of their process will dictate the price of the product.
What Are You Getting? (Deliverables)
A logo design can range from a single .png file to a whole manual of branding guidelines. It’s important to ask your designer what the final product will be.
A single file deliverable will cost much less than a multi-file package with a PDF document on your branding guidelines (color, typography/font, spacing and scaling information, etc.).
It is equally as important to know how many revisions you can ask for. Most designers will provide around three rounds of revisions, included in their package. Anything extra will cost extra.
As a small business, you want to make sure you’re receiving what you paid for and what you wanted in the first place. Every designer is different. If you don’t like your options, move on to the next proposal.
How Much Should a Logo Cost?
If you want to put specific numbers to it, the price of a basic logo generally starts at around $100. We’re talking about a professional logo created by a professional designer. It’s cheap, however, because it doesn’t take much time to produce. And the deliverables will be limited.
However, if you’d rather invest more into your brand, you can find more complex logos ranging from $300 to $1,000. These logos are curated more specifically for your brand. They may use custom fonts, intricate designs, etc. and the deliverables themselves will include more. For these projects, a designer will spend much more time on logo design and brand identity.
In the end, the price of a logo can’t be pinpointed exactly. Quality and price are very closely related but it’s more than that. There are designers out there willing to charge thousands of dollars for their logos. There are also clients willing to pay thousands of dollars for their logos. It’s all about finding your match. A logo should cost what it’s worth.
A logo can be very personal for a business owner. As Sheena Iyengar discusses in her book, The Art of Choosing, it can be very difficult to assign value to something you’re emotionally connected with (p. 234). So it’s important to ask the opinions of outside help when it comes to figuring out your logo’s budget and value.
Have you ever spent money on a logo? What did you pay and do you think it was a fair price? If you have any questions or comments, go ahead and submit them below.