Yes, it does seem crazy hard or expensive to get a really awesome logo.
It’s also terrifying because it’s gonna be all over your business materials and you want it to be absolutely perfect, and beautiful, and represents you and what you do. I know. I’ve been there.
Right off the bat…unless you’re a designer, I recommend using an experience graphics designer or 99designs.com. (And definitely not the cheap $50 logo sites or Fiverr.)
What is the logo creation process?
First, do you know what’s involved?
Because if you know what’s involved, then you’ll know where you can do the legwork to help shortcut your designer and come out with something better AND cheaper. Otherwise…they spend a lot of time (and your money) and you still won’t be happy.
Knowing what’s involved will also help you to set aside a realistic budget and to find good designers that aren’t offended by your budget.
Here’s the [professional] logo design process in a nutshell:
- Learn about the client’s business. What they offer. How they’re different.
- Go through ideas (and other logos) of what the client likes.
- Sketch out different concepts that tell a nice brand story.
- After client chooses one concept, refine it with a couple adjustments. (Or come up with more concepts if the client hates them all.)
- Prepare the logo for use in different formats (rectangle spacing, square spacing, tiny spacing). Also contrasting light on dark, and dark on light. Also swapping colors if need be.
- Provide color sheet and style guide (only ultra-professional companies do this).
As you can see, a totally comprehensive job like this will take a lot of time. And you must know that your designer will have to come up with at least 20-50 sketches just to create the best 3 to show you. Experienced non-celebrity logo designers will usually do it for around $1500-2000.
Some designers aren’t even true logo designers; they only do it for the money and won’t make too much effort. Others don’t like it and refuse to do it. Can you get a true logo designer to do it for less than $1500-2000? Errrr….sure, but you have to cut some things out. Like not being allowed to be so picky and demand more and more concepts. Not being allowed to override your designer’s taste. Quite often, designers are at odds with their clients. (And I’m sorry but I think most clients have bad taste and don’t really know what a professional logo should look like.)
If you can promise to yourself (and to your designer), that you won’t be picky…that you’ll give them more creative control…and won’t demand so many revisions…yes, you might be able to get it done professionally for cheaper.
Going the low-budget route ($500-1000)
You really can get a great logo for only $500. But trying to pay less often comes at an expense:
- Usually someone not so experienced – hopefully they make up for it with talent and/or wants to build their portfolio.
- Someone who doesn’t want to work hard – again, hope they have talent.
- Someone who needs money – hope they won’t rush it.
- Someone who knows you – family/friends discount.
- Someone who really knows your business/industry well – and “gets” it.
- Someone from a country with lower cost of living – convenient!
- Someone who plans to re-use a logo – be careful!
I think many folks who can do a solid job for $1500 to 2k. But if 99designs can totally work on $500 budget. What makes it quality is that you’re absolutely crystal clear on the vibe you want.
If you’re having a hard time finding a low-budget option, I really do think 99designs is a totally solid place at the $500 price-range.
Some tips for going the 99designs route:
- Offer $500 for the contest winner. I feel the $500 prize gets way better designs than only $250-300. I think it’s sooooo worth it!
- Focus your feedback time on the top designers – help make the good ones even better, rather than wasting time explaining to the mediocre designers.
- Don’t put too much weight on what your friends and family think (especially if they aren’t your target consumer). It is YOUR business and your industry, not theirs.
- Write an incredible brief. Make it so your logo requirement is crystal clear (not in the imagery, but in the way it should feel) and from there, let the designers do their magic.
You can also read my guide: How to Run a 99designs Contest
What affects the logo creation process?
1. Your attitude
I can’t stress enough how much this affects the end result. Don’t be frustrated when the designer is off the mark. Tell them it’s beautiful but you’re going for something different. Don’t lose patience. Help navigate them towards you want. Take responsibility for your brief. Everyone sees things differently. Be patient!
2. The designer’s enthusiasm
It’s important that your designer is genuinely excited about your logo and your business. If all you’re getting is a cold price quote and feel like they’re only shoving you alongside other projects, maybe now is not the time. It’s also important to get a vibe on your designers mood cycle. They’re creatives, remember? Sometimes they can be super creative and other times, just stressed and totally burned out.
3. Your [inherent] design skill
Unfortunately, a lot of the design has to do with your ability to visualize things. Quite often, I see clients overlook potentially great designs because they couldn’t see how good it would look when finished. With time and experience, you will learn how to adjust even really bad logos into good ones simply through visualization.
Don’t kill yourself trying to learn graphics design, but perhaps take lots of time looking at logos throughout your day. Which ones look good? Which one stand out? Which ones are memorable? Which ones are plain/bad but somehow still an incredibly successful business? Do your homework!
4. Offer to pay for extra time
The worst clients are the ones who care more about the cost than the quality. Sometimes, your logo needs just a few more rounds of adjustment to be that much more amazing. Why interrupt your eventual path to amazingness over a couple hundred dollars?
Don’t bully your designer into freebies, their silent resentment will be reflected in the logo. Be generous and they [hopefully] will return it in their design output.
5. Show the designer how the logos are used
It’s funny but it’s so true. Designers are often that much better when they can actually see how the logos are used. It makes the visualization process so much easier. And for that reason, redesigns are often much easier than creating a brand new brand. It’s because they can see how your old logo looks on your website, or packages, or promo materials, or products on a shelf, or printed out on stationary/flyers/banners.