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Why High Quality Logo Design Doesn’t Cost $50

If you perform a Google search for “cheap logo design,” the first result you’ll get is from a service called Fiverr, wherein you can find myriad vendors purporting to provide quality logo design for as little as $5.

That’s right. Five bucks. So for the price of a few McCheezburgers, your business could have a logo that’s ready for primetime. Throw that baby on some window clings and bumper stickers and you’ll be off and running. Shoot, at this price point, $50 is highway robbery.

Clearly, something is amiss. To understand the problem, we have to first think about what a logo is, and why it has value.

Brand and web work we did for St. Cecilias

A logo is the most forward-facing representation of an organization’s brand and, therefore, of the organization. It’s the image most likely to trigger whatever opinions a person has formed regarding your organization. Moreover, people who see your logo know that you chose this image to represent your organization, which means that the logo itself has the capacity to affect those opinions.

Of course, the logo is not the only thing that has this capacity nor plays this role. A logo is part of a larger brand, which is effectively the sum total of everything that affects the perception of your organization. This can be anything from what your business card looks like to what one of your employees tweeted on his personal account last week. Whatever people think of you was formed by your brand (whether you intended it or not) and the thing that calls those thoughts forth is probably your logo.

If you don’t believe that what people think of your organization is valuable, then we’re probably not going to get off the ground with this conversation. But that seems unlikely since 1) you’re here and 2) it’s obvious.

Your brand affects how people view your organization, and your logo is the foremost component of your brand. In order for a logo to be effective, it has to meet certain criteria. It has to be unique. It has to be clear. It has to work across various media. It also has to convey a message that is consonant with your identity as an organization, i.e. it has to fit your brand.

Hours and days can go into an exploration of the art for your logo or brand

The most straightforward of those criteria is the need for it to work across media. Online, in print, in video, in color, in black and white, on a shirt, on a hat, in a box, with a fox, etc. But even this most straightforward component, which at its most basic involves the mostly mindless reproduction of a completed logo in various forms and formats, can and should take several hours. Again, this is not the creative part. I’m talking about nuts and bolts execution. If I go as fast as I can, and type and click as fast and as furious as my fingers will go, it will take me a few hours to crank through what amounts to tens if not hundreds of files of varying sizes, colors, and types if we’re talking about a professional organization.

And if I charged $5 for even that process, which begins AFTER the logo is “done,” I would have been better off flipping those McCheezburgers. By a lot. Like…500% better off.

And that doesn’t even include overhead. In order to produce a logo at all, you need a few things. Like a computer. Probably some sort of professional or semi-professional image software. You need a space to work. You need electricity. (Hey, at $5, even a few cents matter). Whether you’re a multi-billion dollar conglomerate or a freelancer, you have certain costs that you need to cover by working, just to break even. $5 is impossible. $50 is probably impossible.

And again, this isn’t for logo design. This is just for the finishing.

What should the actual process of creating a clear, unique, effective logo look like? It should involve research. It should involve some introspection. It should involve some testing. It should involve iterations. It should involve criticism. It should involve thought.

And it will definitely involve time.

It takes a special understanding of your company to create truly awesome brand work, and that takes time.

Good branding takes time, and branding deserves to have time invested based on its relative importance and capacity to affect your organization. The amount of time allotted by $50 is not enough to clean up after the hard work has been done on a logo, much less actually do the work. In short, the math simply doesn’t add up. It is in no way sustainable to need to do quality work in almost zero time, and do it multiple times a day, every day, ad infinitum. There aren’t enough clients for that. I’m not magical enough for that.

Not every logo design will be 6 months long and cost thousands of dollars. In fact, most of them should not. But your logo is worth more than 15 minutes. It’s worth more than a couple of hours. Bad branding can completely undermine if not kill an organization. Given that, your brand is worth everything.

Invest in it!