Here’s what a $5 logo really looks like…

Fiverr is a well known online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers. Sellers provide an array of digital services in exchange for $5.

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One of the best-selling services on Fiverr is logo design, and being a logo designer myself (who charges far more than $5,) I was curious about what kind of logo I could get for $5, so I ordered one.

I know, this already sounds like a smear campaign. I’m going to try to be as fair and objective as possible though, so please bear with me. I’m sure you’d be a little curious yourself if you found out a competitor of yours was providing a similar product or service for an astronomically cheaper rate, yeah?

Let the Search Begin

I think it would only be fair if I went about this experiment the same way any educated consumer would, so I browsed through several profiles on the site and made a hiring decision based on the following criteria:

  1. Experience
  2. Body of work
  3. Customer feedback
  4. Time frame

Once I made my selection, I paid them and sent in a design brief for a hypothetical concept:

Hi, I’m starting a blog called “Self-Employed Lifestyle” and the tagline is “my own way”. I don’t currently have any design preferences, so I’ll let you have creative control so you can do your thing. The target audience is people who want to work for themselves, or already work for themselves. Thanks, and can’t wait to see what you come up with!

The name and/or identity of the designer I chose will remain anonymous, as a courtesy to him/her. I think they actually did a good job, though. He/she was very responsive and delivered exactly what they said they would, and on-time.

However, I will be sharing the final design though, because I paid for it and it’s my property.

Here’s What a $5 Logo Looks Like…

Self-Employed Lifestyle logo DN

I’m not going to critique the design. Instead, I’m just going to draw comparisons between what you get when you hire on Fiverr versus spending more and hiring a freelancer.

For argument sake, let’s say we like this design and intend on using it. Here’s what paying $5 typically gets you:

1. One design choice, delivered within 7-10 days
2. Two rounds of revisions, returned within 48 hours
3. A single raster JPEG of the final design on a white background

Alternatively, here’s the standard protocol for most freelance graphic designers, including myself, when hired for a logo project you’ll be paying a lot more than $5 for:

1. At least 3 different design ideas to choose from, delivered within 48 hours
2. 10 rounds of revisions, returned with 24 hours
3. Deliverables of the final design include: JPEG, a PNG file with a transparent background, editable vector files (.svg, .ai, .eps, .pdf,) a layered Photoshop file (.psd,) and a favicon to use on your website
4. A branding guide PDF file, explaining what each individual format is and how it can be best utilized

So the real narrative here is not about the quality of the design (which is certainly a factor), but rather what you’re getting in return as far as service, choices, promptness, flexibility and final deliverables are concerned.

Not only that, but when you hire an independent freelancer to design your logo, and they’re being paid what they feel is a fair wage, they’re going to take their time, pay close attention to detail, and do the best job they can.

When you hire someone who’s working for a $5 wage, you’re hiring someone who mass-produces their work, meaning they’ll always feel compelled to sacrifice quality for time. It’s built in to their business model.

Fiverr: The Online Dollar Store

Now that I’ve had a firsthand experience of the Fiverr marketplace, I’ve come to the conclusion that Fiverr is, in essence, an online dollar store (which certainly isn’t a bad thing, mind you.)

I’m not worried about competing with Fiverr for the same reason an electronics retailer wouldn’t be worried about competing with a dollar store: we’re serving two different markets.

Why would I go to the retail store and buy headphones for $20 when I could go to the dollar store and get a pair for $1? Well, because the $1 headphones aren’t a practical solution for how I intend to use them.

I plan on using them every day and working out in them. I expect them to be durable, I expect them to last at least 6 months, and I expect the sound quality to be good.

You’re not going to get all of that for $1. You’re going to get a low-end product that sounds like garbage before falling apart in your hands.

$1 headphones have their place in the world, though.

If I were on my way to the airport for a 3 hour flight, forgot my headphones at home and only needed a pair for the flight so I could listen to a podcast or something, and the dollar store was the only place I had time to stop at, I’d buy them. So it’s all relative to what your needs are, and the same could be said about a logo design.

When is a $5 Logo Appropriate?

If you’re trying to establish a national brand and expect potential clients, customers, and investors to take you seriously, I don’t think placing a $5 logo on your collateral would be a very wise idea. Why would anyone invest in your business when YOU don’t even want to invest in your business?

However, not everyone who needs a logo made is trying to establish a global brand. Sometimes you just need a logo for a Facebook group, a gaming team, a Meetup group, an affiliate marketing website, a startup Youtube channel, or whatever. In these instances, a $5 logo is perfectly acceptable.

I really like Fiverr and I’m glad it exists. It adds another dimension to our industry by giving people, who otherwise couldn’t justify spending a ton of money on costly creative services, access to a cheaper alternative. I think that’s awesome. It suggests that our industry is growing and evolving.

Beware, though. You still get what you pay for, and although the design I purchased from Fiverr was indeed an original design, there have been countless stories of buyers being ripped off with clip art, stock graphics, and derivatives of other logos. If you try to trademark something you bought from Fiverr, you may end up sorely disappointed when your application is rejected or you’re served a cease and desist letter from an attorney.

Photo: m01229 on Flickr.  License here

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Nick

Nick Saporito is a Philadelphia-based graphic designer who specializes in branding-specific design.

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2 comments
  • Rod

    I have to be honest.

    I was always afraid of sites like Fiverr because I thought they were watering down the design industry. However, you make great points about sites like Fiverr having their place. At least it does give an option for those who need something quick and inexpensive. Maybe, that was the goal of websites like these all along.

    Your little experiment has given me a new perspective on the, as you coined, “The Online Dollar Store.”

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Nick

      Yeah the more I think about it the more I realize Fiverr isn’t really a threat to quality designers. It would be like a Nissan dealership worrying about some guy selling a used ’89 Sentra in the classifieds for $600. The person who buys that used car was not going to go buy a new car in the first place, so the dealership isn’t really losing out on anything. And the person who wants to buy a new Nissan has no interest in an old, used car. They’re both serving two completely different markets, and I think that’s what’s going on here. The people who hire me already know about Fiverr, but they come to me and pay me more because they want quality work. Actually, a lot of my clients bought a $5 logo from Fiverr before coming to me and weren’t happy with it, which made my rates more justifiable to them. Fiverr has actually been qualifying my leads for me. I may write a post about this soon.

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