Hi there, if you have reached this page then my guess is that you are thinking of hiring a logo designer or logo design company and have probably done (or are currently doing) some initial research into how much should logo design cost? During that initial research it is my guess also that you have noticed the rather wide range of logo design prices on offer and you are now probably pretty confused about how much you should be paying a designer to have your logo designed.
I wrote this article because I have Google’d the question “How much should logo design cost?” myself and while there are articles out there covering the topic they still leave you with questions at the end or they seem to be written along the lines of “Well how long is a piece of string?” kind of answers as opposed to giving a real answer or practical advice which you can actually follow.
If you have come across a few of these yourself then rest assured this is not one of those articles and if you bare with me and keep reading this article you will hopefully have a much clearer idea of how much you should be looking to invest in your logo design and exactly what you are paying for by the end of it.
So how much should logo design cost?
The reason that this article is so long is that the answer to “How much should logo design cost?” is not straightforward there are many factors (all to be explained below) that you need to consider that you may not have even thought of; the first and most important of these is that you are currently asking the wrong question.
The right question is:
How much do I need to pay a logo designer or logo design company to create a logo that will help me achieve the goals I have set for my business identity?
This question is significantly different and more accurate, because the second thing you need to realise is that not all logos are created equally. Just like we as people are all different, businesses and brands are are all different too. Because each business is different with there own unique goals and challenges the price each individual company needs to pay to achieve its goals will differ, often greatly. Even companies operating in the same market will have their own individual challenges that will affect the amount they will need to invest in there logo or identity design. The goals the owners set for their business is another factor that will affect the level of investment required.
To illustrate how a companies individual goals and challenges can affect the cost of logo and identity creation lets use this simple example:
Part 1 – Bob
Bob has just set up a small plumbing company in a relatively small town suburban area. Bob is self employed he has no employees and has no intentions of employing anyone or expanding. Bob has a small van and works from home with no office or shop. Bob is not technologically savvy and is not interested in having a website designed or anything like that. In fact the first time Bob thought of having a logo was when his sign-writer (for the van) asked him if he had a logo to put on it.
So now Bob is looking around trying to find someone to design a logo for his business, Bob places no real value on design he is focused purely on getting a logo designed as cheaply as he can that will look “OK” on his business cards and van. Now there is nothing wrong with this, Bob has enough customers from his previous job and he is running adverts in the local newspaper that bring him more than enough work each month. However this stereotype when compared to the second one below goes a long way to explaining why logo design prices can vary so much and why different business need to invest different amounts (bare with me!).
So even from just this brief description above lets now list what we know about Bob’s logo design needs:
- Small local business.
- Rural or small town location.
- One or two similar local competitors.
- Not looking to expand.
- No website to consider where the logo will be used and not likely to be one in the future.
- Bob places no real value on design and shows no appreciation of how this could help differentiate him from his completion and win him more work.
- Bob is motivated by price alone and just wants a basic logo designed to put on his business card and van.
Now lets look at a second fictional business…
Part 2 – Peter
Peter has also just set up a small plumbing company in a large town with an even larger city nearby. Unlike Bob, Peter is ambitions and he plans to employ other plumbers and sub-contract work to them growing the business and expanding into new areas. Peter understands the importance of having a website and places a degree of value in good design, at the very least he appreciates that having a professional looking identity for his business will help differentiate him from his less astute competitors and help him build the brand he one day hopes to own (lets hope Peter doesn’t live too near Bob or Bob might find he has problems in the future!).
Peter also thinks that it would be a great idea to have his logo printed on a work uniform. Then he can give uniforms to all the plumbers he subcontracts work to and when he sends them on a job this will help build awareness for his brand and present a unified identity to customers (I like Peter he is very smart!). In addition to this Peter is going to reinforce his brand by making sure that his logo and identity is the same on all his customer facing promotional materials such as his website, his business card, his invoices and so on and so forth.
Now from the short description of Peters business lets summarise his logo design needs:
- Small local business but with ambitions to expand.
- Peter is setting up his business in a large busy town location with an even larger city nearby, this means more prospective customers but more competition as well.
- There are already probably 5+ established competitors with loyal customers already operating in Peters town and even more in the city.
- Peter will be getting a website designed so we need to consider that the logo needs to work in the digital space as well as for printing.
- Peter is pretty switched on when it comes to technology so before long he will probably realise that he can also leverage social media to his advantage as well as his website to generate more business. In which case we should consider that the logo needs be adaptable to work for social media icons as well.
- Besides just working for the website (and perhaps social media) this logo is going to need to work on business cards and all of Peters promotional material as well as his work clothing. If it is going to be embroidered onto the clothing rather than printed then we might need to make some considerations there as well.
Hopefully, now by looking at these two very similar business with very different goals, challenges and requirements you can see how my refined question above is more appropriate. In short Bob is looking for cheap and cheerful, any logo will do, he would be quite happy paying any logo company (probably the cheapest) to design a logo for his business and to be fair, given Bob’s ambitions, that is perfectly acceptable. Whereas Peter has more lofty goals and some appreciation of how great design can help him achieve them. Peter knows that a £50.00 cheap logo design will probably not be of sufficient quality to separate him from the existing established competition let alone have enough research and thought put into it to appeal to his target market and help him build his brand vision.
So… I hear you say if I am like Bob then I should be looking to pay about £50.00 but expect to pay more if I am ambitious like Peter? Unfortunately it is not quite as simple as that, I know you have had to read a lot already (I am sorry!) but there is an argument to be had that even Bob should be looking to invest more than £50.00 in his logo design and I will get to that as quick as I can but first there are other factors that need to be explained.
Lets now quickly address another separate but related question:
Why do different logo design companies prices vary so much?
I wanted to just answer this quick question close to the top of the article as it is relevant and the answer is related to what we have just discussed above. If you have read the two examples above (and not just scrolled to this question, cheater!) then you will have noted that in the logo design industry, just like any other market, there are different types of customers with completely different sets of requirements.
Lets use a simple analogy to explain this:
Buying a Drill? Some people will purchase the no frills cheapest option because they need it to hang a picture right now but don’t really care about the quality of it. Others will consider the purchase more and think “I need this now to hang a picture, but I am not going to buy the cheapest option because I will want to hang another picture in the future and it has many other uses as well”. Then other people (who have money to burn) will buy the Ferrari of drills just because they can and because it looks cool.
I know stereotyping again! But whatever works to get the message across huh?
As a result, because there are various types of clients, inevitably you get different kinds of logo design companies targeting them. Some of these companies are targeting the cheap and cheerful clients like Bob at £50.00 (or less!) a pop (for what I would describe as logo design in the loosest sense of the word) whilst others are targeting the Ferrari owners and then you have a whole myriad of pricing in-between.
Logo design pricing factors…
Right now that we understand why different logo design companies charge different amounts lets get back to the main question and try to work out specifically how much you need to invest in your logo design project. (And at the same time I will tackle the question of why Bob (above) should probably invest more than £50.00 in his company logo design).
In order to do this you need to consider a lot of factors some are probably quite obvious but others might not be. So I will list out below some of the things you should be considering, these are challenges and goals which will affect the level of investment you need to make in your logo and identity design.
FACTOR 1 – How competitive is your market?
This is a massive consideration and one you need to be realistic and honest with yourself about.
FACT: The more competitive your marketplace the harder your logo designer is going to have to work to create a logo and/or identity package for your business to help you stand out from the competition.
More competitors means more work for me to create something to help you stand out from the crowd, simple really. As your logo designer I need to know who your competitors are and I then need to look at how they position themselves in the marketplace. Then I need to use my creativity to come up with something that will help set you apart from them whilst still aligning to the rest of the brief.
This takes time and it is something that you will not find even mentioned in cheap and cheerful logo design packages.
FACTOR 2 (kind of) – What are your brand goals and ambitions?
This is to some extent linked to competitors above but the point I want to make here is that you need to consider if your competitors always stay the same? You might be a small business now, but in 12 months time are you planning on expanding into new markets? And if you are, when you do this, will the number and quality of the competitors you have change?
I would say in most cases the answer is going to be yes. So you need to be thinking about the long term vision of your brand right from the outset. Trust me it is far more difficult and expensive to re-brand and re-market later down the line. It is much better to invest properly in your logo and identity design at the start so that all the brand equity that you build up along the way to that expansion is not lost or diminished. Which it might be if you find that you have to change your company identity later to remain competitive in a larger and consequently more competitive market.
As demonstrated in the examples of Bob and Peter above we have seen that two very similar businesses in the same field can still have very different goals and ambitions. These goals and ambitions can and will influence the cost of a logo design so if you are ambitious (like Peter) and plan to grow your business then please consider who your competitors might be and how many of them you might have a few years down the line and use that figure from above instead when considering your investment.
Your logo shouldn’t just be designed to suit where your company is right now, it needs to be strong enough to stand up to any competitors you might encounter along the way and when your business is competing in your intended endgame market.
FACTOR 3 – What industry does your company operate within and who is your target audience?
I was going to split this into two sections but I think that I would end up repeating myself and this article is long enough without subjecting you to repetition as well. OK, moving on this is another really important factor for you to consider. What industry your company works in will definitely affect the level of investment you need to make into your logo or identity design as will who your target audience is for many of the same reasons. The main reason is because some businesses operate in industries that are what I like to call more aesthetically driven marketplaces.
What the heck does that mean?
What I mean by this is that a fashion brand, for instance, operates in a very design orientated and visually demanding industry as opposed to lets say a car mechanic. Consumers who are interested in fashion are design focused and far more image concious, when you buy a piece of clothing it is down to how it looks and feels and how you look and feel wearing it, in short it is an emotional purchase. When someone wants their car repaired they look at things more functionally, they need a service so they look at reviews and the reputation of the garage as well as prices. So a car mechanic logo would be more focused on conveying reliability, professionalism and building trust because that is what the consumer is looking for.
Yes they are very different but why does this affect the cost?
It will affect the cost because a logo design created for a visually driven industry where aesthetics are critical to consumer adoption requires a LOT more thought and development time in order to be successful. The consumers in this market place are very demanding and often whimsical. Brands fade in and out of fashion all the time and to create one that will stand the test of time and compete with other designer brands is a very big challenge indeed.
In contrast, whilst it is still important that the car mechanics logo looks great, their consumers are easier to predict and they are far less demanding. They are not looking for something they are going to walk around wearing on a t-shirt for example they are looking for a company that looks professional and reliable and whilst it is important to get this right in your visual communication when designing the logo, it is a very different and somewhat easier challenge.
This is probably the hardest factor to convey to a non designer, it is hard to explain the challenges that a logo designer faces but I hope that I have gone some way to getting this across. It is even more difficult to quantify and translate this for you into specific costs. Obviously I cannot list out here every different industry and just put a price against it. As we have discovered even designs in the same industry can differ greatly, however what I have done below is list out some examples of industries that are, in my opinion, more aesthetically driven or who have more athletically driven (and therefore more demanding) consumers. If your company operates in one of the more visually demeaning sectors, or something similar, then you should expect to pay more for your logo design.
Examples of aesthetically driven industries and consumers:
- Apparel and clothing such as sports or gym wear
- Design of any kind including interior designs and architects
- Hair dressers and salons
- Restaurants and Coffee shops the food and confectionery industry in general (people eat first with there eyes!)
- Cosmetics and perfume
- Motor industry (as in new car brands)
- Jewellery and anything that you wear
- Technology and Gadgets (Apple are the king of this)
- Music (it is all about image)
- Photography and Weddings
Expect to pay more, lets say a base price of around £1000 – £2000+ (but you need to factor in competition above and everything else below)
Examples of less aesthetically driven industries and consumers:
- Tradesmen (Plumber, electricians etc)
- Accountants and the financial sector (to a point)
- Butchers and Grocers that kind of retail and wholesale sector, though this is on the rise with many new eclectic consumers buying into organic high end brands over the last 20+ years.
Expect to pay less, lets say a base price of around £500 – £1000+ (but you need to factor in competition above and everything else below)
Honestly the lists are almost endless but hopefully these examples will help you identify if you are operating within a visually demanding industry.
FACTOR 4 – Where is your logo going to be used?
OK, moving on again we are now going to look at some of the more technical components of logo design and how these might affect your required level of investment. Referring back to my earlier examples of Bob and Peter, Bob had very few requirements he simply wanted a logo to be used on a business card and on the side of his van. Whereas Peter in contrast required his logo to be used on business cards and all his customer focusing material (such as invoices and brochures) a website, work clothing, van and so on and so forth. Now generally speaking some of these requirements are fundamental of course you want to be able to use your logo on a business card and a letterhead, I would even take it as written these days that the vast majority of logos are also going to be used on a website. That said a couple of things of note, just because something is expected it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still take time to make these considerations and as a result cost money.
So it is important that you understand that the more places that your logo is to be used, the more considerations your designer has to undertake when designing it. In addition the more diverse the intended uses of a logo are the more flexible it needs to be. So sometimes if you have a particularly large list of requirements this can add considerable time to the design process, as designers we can be smart and we can use intelligent design to solve most challenges but it still takes time to work out the best solution to a particular set of requirements.
Now I can’t put an exact figure on this because it is so varied, you might want to use your logo in 2-3 places and you might want to use it on the entire list of examples I have put below. Just be aware that the more requirements you have the more you will need to invest as it will take more time create a design that will work equally as well in all the environments you choose, it is a simple fact and just the way it is:
Examples of different logo uses:
- Business cards and Stationery
- Website and brochures
- Building and shop signs
- Clothing and apparel
- Equipment and vehicles
- Billboards and advertisements
- Marketing materials such as leaflets and flyers
- Videos and digital advertisements
- Social media
- Email signatures
- Products and Packaging
Again this list could go on almost endlessly logos are used everywhere these days and it is important that you let your logo designer know from the start all the places where you think your logo might be used so that they can consider this during the design process. Luckily logos these days, at least those crated by professionals, are usually created using scalable vector graphics (this is a whole other topic so I will just link that to Wikipedia for you) which means in the most basic terms that your logo can be scaled to any size without loss of definition. So basically you logo will look great quality both when used small on a business card or giant on a billboard. This technology has taken some of the donkey work out of creating multiple versions of your logo artwork for use at different resolutions so it helps keep the costs down.
Factor 5 – The experience of the designer or company you are looking to employ or hire.
This is a huge factor and you would be surprised at just how few people even consider it when selecting a logo designer or a logo design company. Experience is the one thing that really sets designers apart, as a designer you can only earn your stripes through years of practice and working within the industry. I have almost 20 years commercial experience as a designer at the time of writing this in 2015 and the experience that I bring to any logo and/or identity project is worth its weight in gold and crucially this is the bulk of what you are paying for when you hire me.
My time, expertise, skill, insight and experience in creating great designs, are assets that can only be earned serving many years as a professional creative. Experience is often undervalued in many industries but rarely more frequently than within the creative industries. I don’t know why, but I have always put it down to a few things: the first is that people generally don’t often have an appreciation of how great design can help them and as such they place little to no value upon it.
Secondly I think this is exasperated by the fact that unless you are having something printed there is no tangible product to hold at the end. It is not like going to a shop and buying a new TV. You don’t walk out holding a box containing your new pride and joy, you often just receive some digital files and for some reason people seem to think this makes it less valuable.
To get back on track what you need to understand is that when you hire a logo designer you are not just hiring someone to push a pencil around and knock out a few quick sketches and there you go. You are hiring them for their expertise and there insights. Over the years I have already made all the mistakes and done my best to learn from them, I have honed my craft and I have worked with more clients in more industries than I can even remember.
I could talk about this for hours, but I won’t. It is really important however that you understand that you are going to be paying a 20+ year veteran logo designer a lot more than you are a beginner. But that experience is invaluable and underestimating it has been the downfall of many of my clients who have turned to me only after already wasting a bunch of cash already on cheap and inexperienced logo designers.
Just to put my own prices into perspective here are examples of what some big brands paid for there logo designs in recent years:
- The Pepsi re-design in 2008 cost a cool $1,000,000
- The Australia and New Zealand Banking logo cost $15,000,000 in 2009
- And the Accenture re-branding project price tag was a whopping $100,000,000 back in 2000.
Factor 6 – Do you need additional identity work?
Logo design is just that, you will receive a final logo. If you require business stationery designed or any other supporting identity work then you will usually need to pay extra for that. Some companies do offer free stationery design in their logo design packages as an incentive but I would warn you that if you are paying less than £500 for your logo design in the first place then you are likely just going to get a pretty standard template based design back for your stationery. This might well be fine for some applications but if you want something unique then you could be disappointed so just keep this in mind.
Factor 7 – Do you need brand guidelines?
Most lower priced logo design packages do not include the creation of brand guideline documentation, my own included. Some companies offer a general one or two page brand guidelines document inclusive of a logo design package these are usually brief summaries including an indication of the main fonts used, colour values and sometimes positioning advice it is kind of a mini-brand guidelines document. For average uses this would probably be fine but if you want comprehensive guidelines that document specifically how to use the logo in most environments and advice on complimentary colours and fonts and how to use them with the logo then expect to pay upwards of £1000+. These documents take time to create and different companies can have different requirements so the creation of these is usually priced on a quote by quote basis.
So there you have it…
Firstly, if you have managed to read all of this article then I applaud your dedication, I know it was long but thank you for your time and I hope that it has given you some idea of how much you should be looking to invest into your logo design or identity project or at the very least given you some insights into exactly what you are paying for.
There is no calculator out there that can tally up exactly what you are going to pay because there are so many variables that can affect the cost and every client is unique, but this article is as close as I could write to give a prospective client a really good insight into what affects the costs associated with logo and identity design.
If you have found this article informative and helpful please consider sharing it below, as it might help others too.