There have been times when we quoted the price of a logo design and the client was shocked. If you’ve been in sales for a while, you’ve surely seen this before: Their eyes open, lips shut, and they become very timid and reserved for the remainder of the meeting.
What went wrong?
Well, first of all, the price we were quoting was well within reasonable industry norms. In fact it was a bargain for the amount of time, effort and skill that goes into the proper design of a logo and supporting files and documentation.
But the client didn’t have the same expectations or experience, and that is totally understandable. They don’t work in our industry, have likely never had a logo designed before, and did not expect it to cost as much as it does. After all, how long does it take to sketch a couple of ideas, right?
What do you pay for when you hire a great logo designer?
1. Years of skill and experience
We have been professional designers for years. We went through school as well as spent countless days, evenings and weekends learning our craft. And the learning never stops. We consistently work to learn about the latest techniques and trends in order to bring you the very best work we can.
Maybe it’s easiest to understand the value of this if we simply turn the table. Ask yourself if just anybody can do what you do? Surely you’ve spent years also honing some skill or craft that you are using to build your business. Whether you’re a financial planner or a plumber, you bring unique skills and experience to your clients that help them be more successful. You deserve to be paid fairly for that skill and expertise. And so do we.
Design companies who specialize in branding are focused on developing the best logo and brand identities they can. Their reputation as a company is staked on delivering the best logo design possible. If you get an IT guy to “throw in” a logo design with your network setup and web page, and they do a bad job, nobody will really blame them or care. They’re IT guys, not logo designers, after all. But if a design company who specializes in brandings does a poor job of a logo design, people will talk and it will hurt their business. This serves as insurance that they will always strive to work in your best interests.
3. Problem solving abilities
The difference between artists and designers is that artists paint from the heart and designers paint from the mind. In many ways, designers are more like engineers or architects. This is because they not only have to make something look good, but it also has to solve a business or communication problem.
When it comes to the design of a logo, this can be extremely difficult when you consider that:
- The logo must stand out, be unique and highly memorable
- The logo must look pleasing to the eye
- The logo must effectively communicate the business’ vision, brand and personality
- The logo must speak equally as well to the customers, owners and employees of the business
- The logo must be versatile enough to be used in virtually any medium, size or format
- The logo must have the proper supporting files and documentation
- The logo must be of the same graphical quality as the best logos in the world
In a nutshell: The logo needs to be nothing short of awesome. And all of this must be usually accomplished on an agreed upon budget and (often tight) deadline. This is no small task, even for an experienced designer. Anybody who cuts corners here is either selling you short or doesn’t know what they are doing.
4. Reliability and longevity
You have to remember that a design business is first and foremost a business—and businesses are expensive to run. The cost of office rent, staff, equipment, software and supplies adds up quickly. So while it may take only “a few minutes” to sketch some ideas, the fact is that the design shop needs to stay in business to be there in 10 years when you need help with your next big project.
Some people may view this as an argument not to work with a design shop. Why pay all that extra overhead, when the IT guy or nephew can do it practically for free? The answer is support and longevity. Once your logo is done, can you count on those people to carry your brand consistently through your website, brochures, ads and promotional items? Will they be around in 5 or 10 years when you are ready to grow your business and need to develop a new marketing campaign? What if they disappear before they even finish your logo?
If you look at it from this perspective, you will realize that you are not paying for “unnecessary overhead”, but paying for continuity in service and ongoing support when you need it. Having a reliable support system for your business is critical to become successful, and it’s worth spending a few extra dollars for that.
5. Local service & support
Sure, you can go online and find crowd-sourced logo designs for next to nothing. But good luck establishing a meaningful long-term relationship with any of these places. In many cases, most of the work is outsourced, so you can’t sit down face to face with the designer and communicate your vision and expectations. You can’t call them for help 3 months later because the person who did your logo is long gone and has wiped their hands clean of you. And you can’t get anything else designed to match the original logo because they don’t do anything else. Your business is left with no guidance in how to use the brand in its marketing or advertising efforts.
If you don’t want to call 1-800 numbers and wait 30 minutes to talk to a machine, you’ll see the value in paying a bit more to work with somebody local.
When justifying the cost of a logo design, ask yourself:
- What is your time worth?
- How much time and money would it cost you to acquire the skills to design a great logo yourself?
- How much time and frustration will you save by having a professional do it for you?
- How much money would you make if you spent the time you saved on selling to your customers or marketing your business?
- How important is the first impression your business makes on a customer?
- What is that first impression worth?
- How much money will a great first impression make you over the life of your business?
- Will a well-designed logo pay for itself?
- What will it cost your business to change your logo on everything you have in 1-3 years when you realize it doesn’t look professional enough to support your growth?
If you go through this process and be honest with yourself, you will realize that the fee most design agencies charge for a professional logo design are a tiny fraction of the logo’s true value. Remember: A logo is one of the greatest investments you can make in your business. Don’t cut corners to save a couple hundred bucks. It could end up costing you a fortune to fix the problem later, and you’ll be just that much further behind in achieving your business goals.