I get this question asked a lot by either fellow logo designers or clients looking for a custom logo.
In this article, I explain how much a custom logo design can actually cost you as a business owner.
PS. If you're a designer—check out my guide on pricing logo design.
You will learn why is that one logo can be drastically more expensive than the other.
I will also present you with the factors that can determine the cost of your logo.
Logo Design Cost:
- Logo design price factors
- Why is logo design so valuable?
- Logo design cost breakdown
- How to plan your budget
- Logo pricing: flat vs. hourly rate
- Who to hire for logo design?
- Why good logo ain't cheap
- The cost of famous logos
Next, I will also give you a simple cost breakdown, before you hire for you project—if you’re a business owner.
So that you can weigh-in the pros and cons of each option to make the right decision for you.
If you’re a graphic designer—this will also give you an idea of where do you stand in the market.
But if you want to cut to the chase—Here's a simple logo cost break-down for you:
- $5 on Fiverr—if you want a cheap/fast logo
- $500 on 99designs—if you want to run a contest
- $1,000 on Dribble—if you work with a young designer
- $10,000+ on Behance—if you hire an expert designer
- $50,000 and up—if you work with a small design firm
- $500,000 and up—if you hire an established agency
PS. Also check out this content on my YouTube channel.
How much does a logo cost?
A logo can cost you close to nothing if you hire a young designer on Fiverr (as low as $5) or it can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars—if you hire an agency like Pentagram.
Logo design is a creative service, the price depends on WHO designs your logo.
The cost of your logo depends very much on WHO do you choose you work with: a freelancer, or an agency?
And also how experienced they are, and where they are located?
Do they charge an hourly rate or is it going to be a fixed price project?
And if the latter, then how many revisions are included?
And of course, what’s the scope of work—what are the deliverables?
It’s rarely about just the logo itself—you will most likely need the whole brand identity, even if you’re a small business or a startup.
So as you can see, there are many factors that can determine the cost of your logo.
1. Logo design price factors
First, let’s talk about what determines the price of a logo—what are the factors that make up the price of a logo.
Two groups of price factors: (1) concerning the designer and (2) the job itself.
As mentioned above, the price of a logo will depend on the designer or design agency and their skill level or experience.
Apart from these factors, some designers and agencies will quote you a "value based fee".
So if you're a big business that will benefit greatly from the work (or there is a huge risk), then the agency will quote you accordingly as well.
Logo Design price factors:
- Experience—An experienced designer with a solid portfolio (with a specific style, or industry experience) will have a much higher rate than a fresh out of school graphic design graduate.
- Expertise—What’s the depth of research, and the extent to which they go in their process—this will affect the price greatly, but a solid strategy is the fundamental step in a every logo design process.
- Location—If you hire a designer that is based in a country where the cost of living is very low e.g. India, then the quote will be incomparable to those you'f receive from designers living e.g. in the US.
- Job type—Many designers and agencies charge per hour, but some charge a flat rate—They will usually prepare you a custom quote after the initial call, or once the scope of work is properly defined.
- Concepts—How many concepts do you want to be presented with? Most professionals will present you with 3 logo concepts and perhaps a round of revisions included.
- Deliverables—It’s rarely just about that one primary logo. You will most likely need that logo in different lockups, color versions, specifications on fonts on color scheme. You probably need the whole brand identity that comes with a style guide.
Understanding of these factors can help you weigh-in the cost of a logo design against the quality and value will get.
And this brings us closer to talking about the value of getting a quality logo and a brand identity system.
2. Why is logo design so valuable?
A logo is one of the most valuable brand assets of any company (besides its name) and is certainly the most visible one.
A logo is the most visible element of a brand—logos areliterally everywhere.
But even though, as you already know it’s rarely about the logo by itself, it’s usually about the whole identity system, and the strategy behind it.
So if you start a business, you naturally want to do everything you can, to give your brand a strong presence.
You need a unique, memorable logo that people can remember and associate a meaning to.
So that they will be able to navigate through your competition and identify your brand.
With a good branding you can really increase your chance of being successful in the marketplace.
And if you’re looking for a rebrand, meaning you already have a logo but you need to change it.
Well, then the value of a new logo is even greater, because you already know that you need something better.
You know that you need to create a brand that can help you communicate better, grow your business faster, and convert more!
So as you can see—logo design is NOT a 5 minute job like some people may think.
And yes, the best logos are simple in form and they might look like something easy to do, but believe me they’re not.
Logos look simple, but it's not easy to design a simple logo.
- Arek Dvornechuck
Logo design is an iterative process—we designers often brainstorm and sketch a ton of ideas.
Then we execute a few and tweak and refine them until we arrive on the final design.
So there’s a lot of thinking, designing, testing, failing and designing again.
The process can take long weeks or even months if you want a quality, original logo for your brand.
You see the challenge is to design something so simple, yet distinctive and appropriate, so that it can work for you for years and even decades.
Because a good logo should be timeless, so you basically get only one chance to get your logo right before you start pouring money into your marketing.
And this is especially true if you’re an established business already—it’s very costly to change your logo and rebrand later on.
This is because your logo is literally everywhere, it’s on your business cards, marketing collaterals, website, t-shirts, promotional items, you name it.
Your logo is basically the centerpiece of all brand communication — it is the most visible element of your brand.
And besides your brand name it is the most valuable asset of your branding.
3. Logo design cost breakdown
Since you already know what determines the price of a logo and why getting your logo right is extremely important—now let me give you a breakdown of the options you have out there to get your logo done.
Basically, we can group logo design service providers into the three buckets mentioned above.
So starting with the low cost or budget option.
1. Low-cost logo design
You might consider using some online logo makers where you can just generate some logos for free or for a few bucks—but NO serious business should do that!
Designers overseas charge less than $1,000
What’s the point of getting some mashup, generic and low quality graphics?—It's much better to hire a logo designer overseas.
Another option would be to use some DIY tools to design the logo yourself.
Business owners tend to be very creative, but the problem is that they lack the skills (using the software, principles of design etc.)
Non-designers usually don‘t know how to execute their idea in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, a skill that comes with experience.
That’s why you might be thinking about hiring a cheap designer on Fiverr—but this is another bad option for you.
I do NOT recommend hiring logo designers on Fiverr!
Think about it—$5 is NOT a lot considering how much effort a designer needs to put into creating something truly custom and original.
But if you decide to do so, then expect either some amateurish or generic designs or even some stolen graphics.
Not good for your brand—And besides: Would be comfortable knowing how important your logo is, yet paying only $5 for it?
Another option would be to run a contest on sites like 99designs and you’ve probably heard of that before.
I do NOT recommend running logo contests on 99 designs!
While it might sound quite good to you as a client—getting many ideas from different designers for just a few hundred bucks (it costs $599 to run a logo contest on 99designs).
However, know that no serious designer will truly invest their time participating in some contests knowing they have a really small chance to win and will most likely walk away with nothing.
So expect mediocre 99 designs, but ain’t one of them good!
2. Mid-range logo design
Now let’s talk about mid-range option and here we have all independent designers and small design studios, right?
Students charge around $1,000 while experts $10,000+
Now, those more experienced designers who specialize in branding (just like myself) will quote you at around $10k and up.
So if they’re experienced, then they have a good portfolio and this is what they do for a living!
So you will pay them and they will work with you directly and they will be fully dedicated to your project.
And this is probably the best way for most clients to get a quality logo and identity system within a reasonable budget.
And then depending on different factors, small agencies can charge you anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000+
And again it depends on the agency’s reputation, location, experience, your scope of work and so on.
But know that hiring a small design agency is not necessarily better than hiring a solo specialist.
Senior designers can usually work directly with you, execute faster and deliver more creative work.
3. High-end branding
This option goes well beyond just logo design—Here we consider renowned agencies like Pentagram (check out more top graphic design firms).
A top design agency will cost you $100,000+
Hiring an established agency can cost you hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars, but you will get the full brand identity system that often comes with brand strategy and more.
Top-notch agencies often conduct market research and competitor analysis to figure out how your brand can stand out in a good way.
They will employ creative teams that will approach your project from all angles, ensuring the work meets absolutely top standards.
This is usually a good option for more demanding clients, who need comprehensive branding services and don’t mind the price.
4. How to plan your budget
So since you’ve got some idea on what it takes to design a logo and how much it can cost—now let’s talk about planning your budget.
Define deliverables and your expectations accurately.
The best way to go about planning your logo budget is to precisely define the scope of work and then set aside some budget to see what different vendors can do for you within that budget.
Because when it comes to your brand, I'm sure you don't want to spend too much paying for just a logo, right?
But let me stop you here!—Because thinking about your logo as a COST is wrong in the first place!
You need to change your mindset and think about your logo as an INVESTMENT, not a cost.
It is an investment you make in creating something that is extremely important for the success of your business.
Think about it—is getting the lowest, best price more important?
Or is getting the best quality result more important?
And naturally you want to get the best logo you can for the money you spend.
The trick is to define your scope of work properly and think through all the deliverables—is it just the logo, or full a brand identity?
Do you need the design of business cards, stationery, a homepage?
Would you also benefit from brand strategy as well?
And how about creating a style guide?
Then find the branding work that you like, and based on that create a list of your expectations.
And that brings us to talking about paying for you logo a flat rate vs. an hourly rate.
5. Logo pricing: flat vs hourly rate
Projects can be unexpected, and clients often ask around for a simple logo design, but then they often realize that they need much more than that—so the scope of work changes and this can create frustration on both sides.
A flat rate for clearly defined deliverables is best for both: the brand & the designer.
If the designer is charging you per hour and for every revision, then it doesn’t matter how fast they work, or how fast hey want to work.
If you make an agreement as to the scope of work on the other hand—then you will pay a flat rate and the designer is not being punished for working fast.
That sounds much better for the client as well!—that way clients can estimate the total investment.
As a business owner you might have a certain budget set aside for this project.
And it also sounds good for creatives as they know they get paid for the results!
So then it’s up to them how fast they deliver on what they promised, right?
There’s more transparency here on both sides when it comes to charging a flat rate for logo design.
Or if you pay per hour, then have at least some agreement with the designer as to the scope of work that needs to be done in a specific timeline.
Because if you pay per hour ,then you want to know how long this project is going to take, so that way you can estimate the total cost.
For example: if the designer charges $100 per hour and says that based on your requirements...
Then the project can take about 2 weeks (which is roughly 100 hours) then the total cost would be around $10k
So naturally, if your budget is only $5k then you don’t want to have this project paused or got stuck in endless revisions that end up costing you a fortune.
And that’s why I charge per project (as many professional designer do) as it gives me and my client some clarity from the get go.
Since you know how to plan your budget well—let’s now talk about who should you hire for logo design.
6. Who to hire for logo design
Whether you are a startup or an existing company that needs a quality logo, then hiring an expert freelancer will get you a high quality logo for a fraction of the agency price.
For most startups and small businesses hiring a freelance expert is the best option.
An experienced designer who specializes in logo and branding work (just like myself) can provide you with quality designs but for much less that an established agency would charge you.
And this is especially true if the designer used to work at a reputable agency before — that’s pretty great deal!
They’d be handling your project if they still worked there—they’d be the one or one of the team who’s actually doing the work.
Without having to pay for agency overhead, the office, other employees etc.
So therefore hiring a freelancer, an expert in the field of branding is probably for most the best quality to price option.
You just need to consider the factors mentioned before — like the freelancer’s experience, their expertise, and their location and so on.
And as well as some factors concerning the job itself like your expectations to the amount of logo concepts & revisions and the deliverable of course.
And it’s not ONLY that you’re getting good agency quality for a much lower price, but a solo freelancer can also be actually more creative, dedicated to, and flexible about your project as well.
So now, let’s finally talk a bit about why good logo design is not cheap.
7. Why good logo ain't cheap
There are so many different brands and therefore many different logos out there—so it is increasingly more difficult to design something so simple, yet unique and memorable at the same time.
Logo design is an iterative process that can take long weeks and months.
Whoever is going to work on your custom logo, needs to interview you first (I run discovery workshops and develop strategy prior to design).
Serious designers need to learn about your business, research you competition, devise a problem and find a solution—and it all takes time.
Designers often have to go through many steps in their process before they arrive on that final logo that you love.
And then they go through the production phase to create the deliverables for you.
Because many business owners don’t actually realize that they need more than just a logo anyways.
You will often need that logo in multiple lockups and different color versions.
And you need this logo to be saved to multiple color spaces like RGB and CMYK and perhaps Pantone.
Then also many file formats need to be generated like AI, PDF, JPG, PNG, SVG and so on... both vector and raster files.
And you might also need a style guide that specifies on your fonts and color scheme and perhaps other supporting visuals.
So that your brand will look consistent and the logo is applied properly across many different applications.
So is it just the logo? or the whole brand identity? And do you need a style guide?
It’s really important to understand the logo design process and what you’re getting—or not getting—for the money you spend.
And as an interesting bonus I have prepared for you two stories about the cost of famous logos.
8. The cost of famous logos
You might be surprised by how much these logos actually cost—however, take it with a grain of salt.
Take it as interesting facts rather than a reference by any means.
Did you know that the Nike "Swoosh" is perhaps one of the most well-known "cheap" logos?
Back in 1971 Carolyn Davidson was commissioned to design the famous now logo for only $35 (she was a graphic design student at that time).
They asked Carolyn to design a logo for shoes that "had something to do with movement"—and that was the whole brief.
She presented five different designs, one of which was the Swoosh which resembles a wing and hints at Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.
And the best of all, the Nike founder Phil Knight didn’t really like it either, he said:
"I don't love it… but I think it will grow on me."
However, a few years later after huge success, Knight gave Carolyn a diamond ring with the swoosh engraved on it, and he also gave her shares in Nike stock that were worth back then a $1,000,000
Another interesting story about famous logo and their cost is the BP rebrand.
In 2001, the oil giant BP commissioned creative agency Landor Associates, and advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather (and their PR) to replace the "Green Shield" logo with the current helios symbol and create a surrounding identity and campaign.
The BP rebrand cost $4.6 M and the launch of that rebrand a whooping $211 million!
When it comes to the rebrand an established company, then the final price is usually a fraction of the total launch cost.
As you can see, the execution of a logo concept itself can cost you close to nothing.
What you pay for is the strategy—the discovery phase and creative thinking that precedes logo design.
It's all the toil and hard work of a designer or a team of designers that gather together to solve a big problem for your business.
Logo design is NOT a 5 minute job as some people might think—Yes, it does look simple, but it is NOT easy to get to that simple logo.
It takes time and effort to design a truly powerful logo.
When it comes to logo design, you really get what you pay for, but the best cost to value ratio for most startups would be to hire either a senior freelance designer or a small design agency.
This can cost you anywhere from just a few thousands to a few dozen of thousands for dollars.
But remember while it might seem expensive to you now—consider this rather as an invest in building a strong brand.
Something that will enable you grow your business grow faster with good, quality design.
So both: experienced designers and reputable small design agencies will have the skills to get you a quality logo, but without breaking the bank.
And if you’re looking for a custom logo—then just shoot me an email.