Run, don’t walk away from a cheap logo design
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and start your new business. You’ve got your finances in order, your business plan written but now it’s time to get a logo design. Where do you start? How much is it going to cost? You will likely start with Google and search for terms like “hire a graphic designer”, “logo design cost”, or even “cheap logo”. But this would be a mistake.
Understandably, it’s hard to fork out the initial cash it takes to hire a professional logo designer but it goes back to the phrase “You have to spend money to make money”. You wouldn’t have a plumber fix your pipes for free- you would question the quality of his work and whether he may even do more harm than good. The same goes for hiring a designer. A good professional logo designer is a skilled craftsman, has received training and knows what it takes to get the job done right. If you brand your business on the cheap, you may end up paying more money down the road just to fix the damage the first graphic designer created. Not a good way to kick off your new business.
Your Logo Isn’t Worth $5
A well thought out logo takes time; hours, even days of ideas floating around in a designer’s head before the right idea clicks. If your logo costs you $5 and the turnaround time is less than 24 hours, you’re not getting a logo backed by strategy. Think about it–let’s assume they spent an hour of their time on your logo. Is a quality hour of your professional expertise worth $5? Definitely not and you can bet that the designer feels the same about their time. They’re either not paying attention to your project, or worse, you’re paying for an under qualified designer to create one of the most precious and fundamental components of your company.
Hiring a designer through Craigslist or Thumbtack also has it’s risks. Many designers lowball their offers in hopes of winning your business. They often have to crank out more projects just to make up for their low prices which equates to spending less time understanding your company. In the end, you may get a unique logo, but it may not be custom tailored to your business. They don’t know you and your logo design will reflect that.
Partnering with the Right Graphic Designer
Now that I’ve convinced you to hire a true professional, there are two different routes you can take: hire a freelancer or hire an agency. Both are great options and the pros and cons of each should be considered before you make a decision.
Hiring an Agency
Creative agencies come with a team of designers and strategists. It’s likely that multiple graphic designers will work on your project and that’s a very good thing. We’ve already established that one designer has the skills and ideas to deliver a good product but with a team of graphic designers working together, you get multiple perspectives, experience levels and graphic styles collaborating together to deliver more options.
The cons of hiring an agency are in the pricing. An agency has more expenses and higher overhead to contend with than a single freelance designer. In order to afford rent, software and payroll, an agency will charge clients higher rates. It’s also important to keep in mind that agencies juggle many clients at once and your immediate logo need may have to wait in line with the rest of their clients’ high priority projects.
Hiring a Freelance Designer
Freelance designers, being the entrepreneurs that they are, will be eager to earn your trust and keep your business. Partnering with the right graphic designer means you get your own personal creative strategist. Freelancers want to keep their clients and strengthen their relationship with you. They take the time to truly get to know your brand and will be constantly looking for new ways to improve their work with you. Because of the nature of your one-on-one relationship, they’ll feel comfortable enough to suggest new ideas that you never would have requested.
The cons in hiring a freelance graphic designer lie in finding someone with experience and high quality work. Anyone can say they’re a designer but the proof lies in their portfolio and experience working with other clients. Never hire a designer that doesn’t have a portfolio and always review their work before signing a contract.
So How Much Should It Cost?
Time equals money. Every designer has a different price but consider that many charge by the hour. A qualified logo designer will charge their worth which at minimum should be $50 an hour. If you do the math, you know that just 4 hours will get you a $200 logo. That may get you an okay logo but also remember the first round of logos they present will probably need some adjustments to fit your preferences. You want your designer to be engaged throughout the entire process even after they pitch their first ideas.
Good designers buffer in the extra time they will need to revise the logo until you’re completely happy with. You wouldn’t want a designer to dump their initial ideas on you and then walk away without polishing up the final product. Expect a designer to spend between 10-20 hours working with you to develop your logo design. This time will include their initial consultation getting to know your business, the time they need to brainstorm, design, revise, and finally, the time they need in order to put the finishing touches together.
A good designer will not only design a great logo, they’ll deliver the logo in all of the file formats necessary for you to get started advertising and printing for your business. As a bonus, you know you’ve got a gem of a designer if they promise to deliver a stylesheet that sets guidelines for your brand’s colors, fonts and arrangement. In fact, you should be asking for this if they don’t initially mention that they offer it.