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How much does a logo cost?

Mark Tomkins - Creative Director at Aubergine
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We get asked one question almost more than any other “How much does a logo cost?” So here we attempt to answer that question.

When asking about the price of logo design, fundamentally, it’s the same as asking “how much does a car cost?” Different sizes, makes, types, qualities, how it’s to be used, the country you are in, the colour you want – you name it, there’s a lot of things that contribute to how much that car costs. Imagine the different between a Mini and Ferrari – you aren’t comparing like-for-like.

A logo is like this. It might look simple, but here we’ll explain why there’s more to a logo than meets the eye.

In this article I will try and explain all the contributing factors that help determine what it would cost to design a logo for your business or organisation.The main points to consider are as follows:

  1. Understanding what a logo is and what you need for your business
  2. How is the logo going to be used?
  3. What else needs to accompany the logo – does it need a full branding guidelines to go with the logo?
  4. Tips for understanding what makes a good logo
  5. …and finally, the cost.

Understanding what a logo is and what you need

A logo is a graphical device that is used to help people identify your business or brand at a glance – as such, it’s basically a picture that represents your brand.

Logos are important because a symbol or simple graphical shape is easier for brains to process and remember than words. It also crosses language barriers so the business or organisation can be recognised across the world. Think McDonalds, Starbucks or Google. Even if you didn’t speak English, it’s inconceivable that you wouldn’t recognise what the building or web page was about when seeing the logo.

And don’t think that this is just the preserve of large global corporates, because it’s every bit as important for smaller businesses and organisations when building up a brand image and reputation.

There are many contributing factors that determine what sort of logo design service you need. As you might expect, it’s going to depend on:

  • business or organisation size and type
  • how and where the logo will be used
  • how much research is done to establish the right strategy for the logo and brand image.

While the first two are fairly obvious, the third point is often overlooked. But the reason it is important is that if you need a design for a large multi-national organisation, then the research, strategy and design processes will need more time and planning, than if you have, say, a local veterinary surgery. This is because the audience is bigger, the logo will be used in more places and on more things, and there are global marketplace factors to consider, too.

Regardless of the organisation’s size, before you brief a designer you’ll need to think carefully about whom your business’s customers and suppliers are and the corporate image you want to present to them. It can help to think about what you want the brand image to mean when someone sees it.
It also pays to look at your competition to make sure that your logo is positioned correctly in your marketplace, but at the same time that the image you want won’t get lost in other obvious cliché designs that are already out there.

Experienced graphic designers or brand consultancies should provide you with a questionnaire that asks all these fundamental questions. The answers to these questions should then be reviewed in a subsequent meeting to make sure the designers understand what you meant by your answers and can scope out a strategy of where the right starting point is.

How is the logo going to be used?

This will vary greatly from one business to the next. But as a general rule you’ll want to use it on your:

  • Website
  • Stationery
  • Marketing material – brochures, leaflets etc
  • Packaging
  • Vehicle livery
  • Signage
  • Clothing

With the above in mind, and any specific things you see the logo being applied to, make sure that the designer visualises your chosen designs on these things before the choice is finalised. Otherwise, you might end up with a logo that looks fantastic on a white homepage or business card, but terrible when embroidered onto workwear or on the side of a van or building.

Remember too that the logo needs to not only work in colour, but also in mono (a single colour, often white) as this is a common way for logos to be used.

Here’s the Aubergine logo versions as an example:

Coloured version:

 

White-out version:

Do you need brand identity guidelines too?

Creating a logo is one thing. But it’s important to consider the wider implications of the rest of the brand identity – the typefaces (or fonts as they’re often called), colours, the size and weight text and headlines in marketing material, alongside icons that represent certain aspects of your brand identity and image styling.

We recommend that, at the very least, a basic guidelines document is created once the logo design is completed so that you have a clear idea of how to move forward with the identity. If you limit it to just commissioning a logo, you’ll find it gets used with many different typefaces, colours and styles that won’t necessarily represent your business in the right way. Even if you’ve only got a small business, this is a usual way to ensure you keep your communications consistent in future (and consistency helps to build trust among your customers).

Brand guidelines are a working document and can be added to over time, but get the basics set out from the start.

Tips for understanding what makes a good logo

Design is subjective and what you like and what I like will obviously differ. However, regardless of personal choice, a good logo needs to meet a few, basic requirements:

  • Not too many colours – multi-coloured logos will be difficult to use, appear different when printed on different materials and will look more like a picture than a logo.
  • Typefaces must be legible, especially when the logo is small (as on a business card or label).
  • The logo must work in mono (a single colour) as well as any colours. These days, a white-out version is a vital for every brand identity.
  • It’s a logo, not an advert. Don’t mistake a logo for taglines and brand statements. Too many words will make the logo difficult to use and dilute its impact.
  • Get example uses. Ask the designer to show how a logo will look on a range of typical items before making your final choice – stationery, a website homepage mockup, clothing, van livery, mug. It’ll help demonstrate how usable the logo is in different places.
  • Aspect ratio is important. Having a logo that’s tall and thin (portrait) in shape will be really tricky to use in most places, especially on a website as the areas devoted to logos are often landscape in shape (ie. wider than they are tall). Landscape or square shapes are recommended. If you really do need a logo that’s portrait in shape, ensure the designer produces an alternative, landscape version as part of the identity you can use or you’ll face challenges in the future.

…and finally, the cost

As we said at the start, there isn’t a set price and there isn’t a price list. It’s all driven by your set of particular circumstances. If a designer offers you a price list, then you won’t be getting something that is truly bespoke with all the consideration required to properly research your marketplace before starting. Every graphic designer will have their own process by which they follow, but that process takes time ¬– and time = money.

If you want a rough guide to go by, then we’d say that for a new business startup, a logo and simple brand identity that includes typeface styles, colour palettes and general styling will set you back around £500-700 + VAT. Add to that another £500 + VAT for the creation of a brand identity guidelines.

The cost will go upwards from there, according to the number of elements you need for the brand identity to accompany the logo.

If you are looking to start a new business or redesign an existing logo, the best thing to do is to speak to a few designers, explain who you are and what you do and let them take you through the process. If they are half-decent, they will follow the above practices and you’ll end up with a great new logo and look for your business.

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