Logo Design Prices

July 26, 2010 by

I wanted to take a few minutes and attempt to shed some light on the confusion surrounding logo design, what the costs are, and why the prices you’ve been searching for online vary so greatly. That is if you can even find prices posted at all.

First and foremost I’m a professionally trained graphic designer, with both a four year bachelor degree in art, and a two year technical degree in commercial and technical design. I’ve been working as a graphic designer professionally for 7 years, with semi professional, and contract work before that… so I’d like to think I’ve gained a little insight into this topic.

So what should a logo cost? And why?

At 3plains we attempt to define an estimate for our clients based on time spent multiplied by our hourly rate for creative graphic design. Sounds like a simple enough formula. Its one used across many service industries.

For example, lets say you need transmission work done on your car. An estimate is given to you after a qualified mechanic, who’s fixed many transmissions, takes a closer look at yours. That estimate is of course based upon the time needed to fix the transmission, times their hourly rate, plus the cost of any replacement parts. The estimates don’t often vary much because the qualified mechanic has fixed transmissions before, and the problems, wear, and parts are common.

The difference between transmissions and logo design is that the outcome of each and every logo is different every time. Its a subjective process that starts with you and your idea, and ends with a customized image you can hang your hat and business on. It has no clear black and white, broken then fixed outcome. In the world of automobiles and transmissions, there are only so many different problems to have.

What if your mechanic had to fabricate a brand new transmission from scratch, utlizing parts on hand, ones he could readily find, and ones he had to make right there in his shop? What if every time a car came in to his shop the transmission was one he’d never seen before? These are the conditions a designer faces with every new logo.

The point I’m trying to make is that even a seasoned graphic designer has a very difficult time estimating the amount of time any given logo may take. Some of the very best logos in the world took just a few hours to create and approve… while others were pulled together over countless hours, and days of collaborating with the client. Much of what goes into designing a new logo is uncovering what it is you as a client may want. Sometimes thats a simple question to answer… and other times it takes many questions and conversations to uncover.

So what about the $99 logos we’ve all seen advertised online?

They’re everywhere, and we’ve all seen them. Some are even cheaper than that. Be wary of cheap design offers, ask questions, and be sure you know what you’re getting.

Some online vendors utilize canned clip art, or prefabricated templates to create discounted logos. If this is the case, any other company in the entire world could be using that very same piece of art, or worse, the exact same template logo you decided to purchase. Any design that utilizes this type of royalty free clip art, or existing templates cannot be copyrighted by you or anyone else. How would it affect your business if a company who purchased the same template logo as you happened to be in a similar industry, or in your general vicinity? What if their business became known for doing poor work, or offering an inferior product? Could this negatively effect your company’s image?

Does your new $99 logo look like someone elses out there? Can you copyright or trademark it? Generally speaking the saying that “you get what you pay for” holds true here. Most often these discount logos are made, whole or in part, in advance without any sort of interaction with you or your business.

Sometimes the worst part of that $99 prefab logo is that you’re often not sent all necessary files for output. Whats more, once your payment has cleared there’s no one available for any type of customer service.

What is a custom logo worth to you and your business?

Ask some of these companies…

All of these companies rely on their logo to be their number one advertiser and spokesperson.

I realize not every business out there is a fortune 500 company, but every single business should make it a priority to have a unique and specific logo that’s easily read, easy to recognize, and holds to the integrity of that business.

A good logo can be used for decades, if not the entire life of a business, and becomes highlighted on everything from business cards and websites to signs, vehicles, and buildings… not to mention the very products they attempt to represent.

In a way the logo is one of the most important pieces to your company’s entire ‘brand’ or identity. It should be created, and reproduced with this integrity in mind. It should go without saying that once your logo is created, it should be reproduced to the specifications of that original design each and every time.

So what is a fair price for a professional logo?

Again it can be very difficult to estimate time and price, because every logo designed contains a different set of circumstances, with a completely custom and unique outcome. Most standard design rates are based on a company’s size, how far reaching its clients are, and of course that original formula of time and resources used by the designer in creation of the logo multiplied by a standard hourly rate. In our market, an individual or small company with the most common logo needs and uses can expect to see ranges in price $500-$2000 for professional 100% custom logo design. This often depends greatly upon the length and number of revisions that need to be made before a final is approved, along with the complexity of your logo idea. As a client some great tips for managing costs and additional fees are;

    • Spend some time before contacting a designer brainstorming what you’d like in a logo. Reference existing logos, images, fonts, etc. and don’t be afraid to make sketches. Even the worst chicken scratch can be very useful to a good designer.
    • When speaking to the designer consider carefully the designer’s questions and answer them as honestly as you can. Think about why you like certain elements of existing logos or images you’re looking at. Be thoughtful and specific. As a designer, there's nothing worse than hearing "I don't know what I want, but I'll know it when I see it..."
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount, or negotiate paying a fair rate over time. At 3plains we understand being a new small business with a small budget. If you’re a start up company we can help be a part of your growth and success. We offer package discounts for clients with multiple design needs, and negotiating the payment of a fair rate over a period of time is often possible.

What should be included with the final logo.

Regardless of who designs your logo there are some deliverables you should insist upon. A professional designer should create for you appropriate files for both printing and online web use.

At 3plains we provide AI (Adobe Illustrator) files, and EPS (Encapsulated PostScrpt) files for professional printing. These files are provided in CMYK color format for printing and are vector art which means they can be reduced, and or enlarged to any size without losing any sharpness or clarity.

For online use and easy viewing we also provide jpeg, gif, and png files in RGB color format. (gif and png file types are required for any use of a transparency in a logo)

We also keep a library of all your files on-hand if you ever misplace or delete your logo files. It’s good practice to burn these files to a clearly labeled CD that can be easily copied to give to your local printer for any of your output needs.

Final Thoughts

Remember how important your business identity and brand are, or could be in the future. While your logo is only one piece of this complicated puzzle its an important piece, and one that everyone sees before they ever speak to you, or decide to utilize your products or services.

The more you know, and research on your own, the easier it will be for a designer to estimate how long it may take to create your new logo. Be wary of cheap logo packages that guarantee your satisfaction without ever taking the time necessary to get to know you and your business. Take time with your search, it can be a daunting project, but once you have the logo your business deserves, it can be one of the most rewarding design projects you ever take on.

Read more about 3plains Logo Design and view examples of our work.

Posted in: Logo Design, Branding


Reader Comments

3 Comments on Logo Design Prices


  • Thank you for this great blog post - written from the client's perspective, but very reasonable and well thought out. As a designer, I plan to refer clients to your site when they have questions about my pricing!

    Naomi Pierce April 20, 2012 12:00 AM

  • I recently was billed $2800 for design and was told the artwork has to be created for use in graphic programs and for production processes. The artwork is made up off tiny dots that follow the outline of the logo (time consuming), which is done basically by hand going around each little detail of the logo. This creates cells which allows colors to be applied,changed easily, and make usable for production processes. Is this accurate?

    Matt Pritchett August 5, 2012 12:00 AM

  • Matt - To answer your question I think you'd have to have a pretty specific output need for your logo to require any type of process you described in your comment. Creating vector based work in Adobe Illustrator allows us to open those files and change shapes of color with the click of a mouse. These files are usually .ai or .eps files. We can also easily scale individual elements within the logo to any size without loss of clarity or sharpness. That's why most vendors who reproduce logos prefer being provided these vector based formats if at all possible. None of this work in creating vector based files in Illustrator or similar graphics programs requires dots, or cells, or doing any overly time consuming grunt work.

    3plains Design Staff August 5, 2012 12:00 AM

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