You get what you pay for, right? Well, there are plenty who do not agree with that sentiment or model, and aspire to provide quality and affordability. I’m a seasoned professional; I provide quality work; I don’t charge exorbitant fees; I’ve had hundreds of satisfied clients over the past decade, and have remained successfully self-employed throughout all that time.
Way back in 2008, I started a logo design service called needmyLOGO (which I later sold — then later bought back again [was never the same again though]), which became fairly popular, giving me a steady flow of logo design clients each month, but pissed off fellow designers. I received a lot of criticism for it, and someone even wrote a dedicated blog post on a popular site, chastising my “ruinous” model, which got plenty of comments.
The main focus of the criticism was concerning the price ($50). Through trial and error, I had discovered that $50 was the sweet spot price point for the average person in need of a logo. I later moved up to $100, which cut the flow of sign ups way down.
There was also some criticism pertaining to the quality of my work. While my skills have certainly greatly increased in the past decade, I’ve always provided work that my clients were happy with, and that I was happy with. I’ve never claimed to be, nor really even strived to be an award-winning designer. Good at many things, master of none. I’m okay with that and I own that.
That said, I care very much about attention to detail: typography, kerning, colors, clean design, etc. I like flat, minimalist design, and have created some logos over the years that I’m proud of. The biggest distinction in my work is that I’ve never really taken a psychological, branding approach to logo design. I design from a philosophy of making something that’s functional and looks nice.
That attitude was most likely shaped by my target demographic, individuals and small businesses. This comment that I made years ago to a designer who was upset with my methods sums up how I feel quite nicely, still to this day. In a nutshell, all logos aren’t created equally.
The flack I received most was that my low prices were degrading the industry. That logo design clients need to be paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for their logo. That by providing an affordable alternative, I was damaging those logo designers that deeply studied logo design to the levels of “How does it make you feel?” The problem is that the clients I appeal to were never going to pay those high prices to begin with.
There’s a difference between the needs of a starving artist and a corporation, and that should be reflected in the price as well. It shouldn’t be all or nothing. It shouldn’t be if you can’t pay $500, $1,000, or more to get it done “right,” that you’re simply out of luck. Nearly everything in life is on a scale, not simply a binary choice.
I won’t lie though, I have felt something along the lines of what others must have felt toward freelancers like myself who only charge between $50-$100 for logo design. There’s no doubt a frustration caused by the advent of $5 logos by services like Fiverr. I can’t, I won’t design a logo for that price. It’s just not sustainable.
However, if you can get a satisfactory logo for that price, good for you. Hell, if you can get a logo for free, win! Really, it all depends on what you need. And honestly, if you don’t have deep pockets, that money is better spent on food, bills, whatever. I’ll never join the bandwagon of price-shaming people.
And that’s okay. It might impact my ability to get clients like I used to, but I don’t resort to the pettiness of trying to demonize these services over that frustration. There are pros and cons to everything, but it matters to me what’s best for the actual client or potential client. Not everyone needs to hire their own personal professional, but for those clients I have that feel they need that extra special attention, I work hard to make them happy.
We’re unlikely to ever agree on what the “right” price is for logo design, so let’s just take a look at…
The Break-down of Logo Design Solutions and Pricing (as of 2019)
DIY (Do It Yourself) has become pretty big in the past couple of years. If you can snag a graphics creation/editing program and design your own logo that you’re happy with, awesome. More power to you. Also, there are free logo generators around that might be worth a try. freelogodesign.org and logocrisp.com look like they might get the job done well enough.
This would of course be possible due to micro-gig sites like Fiverr. It’s clear from some of the ratings on these gigs, that it is possible to get a satisfactory logo for that price.
This is the space that logo designers like myself live in. Freelancers that frequent gigs from places like craigslist. Certainly, I’ve charged less and charged more, but I generally charge $100 for logo design nowadays. I think I provide good work, and based on my satisfaction rate, most clients agree.
But, it’s important to note that I offer unlimited revisions. Others who are in my price range often only offer 2-3 revisions, which could make all the difference between a logo you have to live with or scrap and one you’re confident in.
This seems to be a very popular price point for dedicated logo design websites. These too, will be limited in the revisions that are offered, and hit and miss overall. You’re really going to have to do your research to choose the right service if you go this route.
This is the price range you’ll enter for crowdsourcing competition services like 99designs. Honestly, and even though this doesn’t really help my bottom line to say this, this is probably one of the best ways to get a logo designed, as you’ll have many designers all vying for you to pick their design.
If you have a bit more to spend and aren’t really sure what you want, having dozens of designs to choose from will really help you narrow it down quickly. It might not be great for designers, to sacrifice time and energy with no guarantee of payment (and may be an ethical gray area), but it’s a great option for those that need a logo.
I think this is really the area where you start to get more into design firms with an objective of deep meaning and suggestion in the designs they produce. Where someone is deeply researching and analyzing your business, the industry it’s in, and trends.
They’ll be looking at goals of design and color that make people hungry (if you’re a restaurant), making people relaxed (if you’re in the medical or therapy field), making people excited (if it’s an action movie), and so on. You get the idea.
When we’re talking about famous designers, huge Hollywood projects, etc., we of course get into an almost abstract place where huge fees might be paid without logic. Like fine art. Not much more to say about that. I doubt anyone at this level, whether client or professional, will ever graze this blog.
This is the place I’m at right now. I just want to design logos. I don’t know who I’m competing with, how, or why. I just want to design logos, and so
I’m attempting an experiment where those in need of a logo, tell me what they want to pay. GoLogo is a simple, one-page site that gets right to the point: fill out your logo details and then pay what you want (or can afford). Will the orders come in? Will it be sustainable? No idea. Certainly, it could backfire where everyone only pays $1, but I suspect enough people will pay a fair amount based on what they really can afford to offset that problem. If you’re in the market for a logo, all I can ask is to:
UPDATE — Not that I don’t think it’s still an interesting idea worthy of trying, I just never got enough traffic to adequately test the experiment, so I simplified everything and just went back to the simple days of NeedMyLogo.
If you think I’m hurting the industry, if you think I suck, I’m sorry you feel that way. I guess just let me know in the comments below, but nothing will ever dissuade me from doing my best and trying different things. I enjoy my work. :)