That’s not an easy question to answer. For companies that have a deep understanding of how design can drive business, the choice of how much to spend and whom to hire is easier than for a small company minding a small budget.
One story making the rounds is this one on the cost of some famous logos. It’s not exactly instructive. Some famous brands spent $0 and others spent $100 million.
How then do you decide what to invest in a logo design?
After all, a logo doesn’t make or break a business. Designers don’t often admit that. Your logo is important but maybe not in the way you’re thinking. In developing a logo, you are necessarily discovering and shaping the important facets of your business that make you remarkable. Maybe these were never brought to the surface. Maybe they were set among a confusing array of services or products. Maybe they weren’t consistently communicated.
That discovery process doesn’t only drive a logo design, it informs all other aspects of your brand. In other words, you’re not just investing in a teeny drawing, you’re investing in a whole story, the logo being one paragraph.
It’s the process of a logo design that has legs, not the logo itself. Then the logo kicks in and helps carry your message forward along with its pals: your key messaging, a tagline, consistent usage or placement of the logo, consistent fonts and color palette, your personality or culture. This travel of your logo over time is the reason a logo can’t and shouldn’t include every aspect of your business.
A logo’s strength is in its consistent, long-term application and how, over time, it becomes associated with you and what you represent. This takes time. And it requires you to be a steward of your own logo.
What to consider when pricing a logo
Don’t ask for a simple logo
The best logos have nothing more to add and nothing more to take away. The goal isn’t necessarily simple for simplicity’s sake, but for clarity. Also, it’s easier to do a complicated, confusing logo than a simple one. Something to keep in mind when hoping simple will cost you less.
Beware the lure of the $199 logo
A good designer thinks ahead and creates a logo that will be flexible and versatile. That $199 logo might sound appealing but you could end up with wrong file formats, a design that can’t be scaled for a banner or be simplified to stitch on a cap. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Clip art and stolen ideas proliferate on those sites and it takes time to pour over hundreds of ideas. Too much choice cripples and leads to bad decisions.
Know why you really want a logo
What’s not working about your current one? Is the decision tied to real strategies? Will it help you seize new opportunities? If you don’t have a clear idea on this, you will think any price is too high. The stronger your position, the better able you are to hire the right person and know what to spend.
Look inside and outside for guidance
To consider how much to invest, first look inside at what you spend on your business: travel, telecommunications, supplies, rent, hardware and software, professional development. How often are these costs incurred over a year, two years, five years and how do you value them? Now imagine your core identity will sustain you for several years, maybe 10 even. You might tweak your brand elements but logos tend to last longer than the overall look and feel of a brand. Now $2000 or $5000 or $10,000 doesn’t sound so high in this context.
Next, look outside to businesses whose logo you admire. Talk to them. Really, do it! But don’t just ask how much they spent, ask what was included and what they learned. They’ll be happy to talk about it. When comparing designers, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. The only way to do this is to be curious about their process, ask what they need from you and go in knowing what success looks like.
Armed with this knowledge, you’ll have a better idea of what your logo is really worth to you.