How Much Should You Charge For a Logo?
Asking how much a logo costs is like asking how much a car costs. What kind of car? New or used? Is it a luxury sedan or an economical compact? Are you purchasing it from an authorized dealer or a classified ad? How much mileage does it have? What condition is it in? So on and so forth.
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Similarly, a logo design project comes with just as many variables.
How many different designs would the client like to choose from? What kind of style do they prefer, ie a sleek and simple wordmark or a detailed and elaborate character/mascot? How soon does it need to be completed? How much research will have to be done on the client’s market and target audience so you can get a feel for what kind of style will resonate best?
These are factors that determine how much time will have to go into a particular project.
Hourly or Fixed Rate?
I personally like to charge a fixed rate, as opposed to hourly. I think it works out best for both the client and myself (but that’s an entirely different blog post.) For the sake of this post, let’s assume we are approaching this from a fixed rate viewpoint.
In order to determine the cost of a given design project, you need to estimate roughly how many hours of work will need to be invested in it, then multiply that by how much you feel your time is worth, hourly.
Every project and every client is unique in their own distinct way, and they all deserve a tailored assessment of their needs. This is why you can’t put a universal, one-size-fits-all price for every logo you intend to create.
Let’s take a look at the (typical) logo design process, and how much time it can take…
Step 1: Research
We first need to identify the client’s market and who their target audience is, in order to get a feel for the industry and what tends to resonate best with consumers in this industry. This can take anywhere from 1-3 hours, but far more for larger projects.
Step 2: Brainstorming
This is when we take all of the information the client has given us, along with the impressions and knowledge we’ve soaked up from our research, then open up a fresh canvas and start brainstorming some design ideas.
Gauging how much time it takes to create a single logo can be tricky. It tends to differ for everyone. Sometimes I can come up with a great design in a matter of an hour, but sometimes it takes me 3+ hours to figure out one design.
That being said, let’s estimate that it takes roughly 2 hour for each design idea we come up with, and the client expects to see at least 3 different design ideas to start. That’s at least 6 hours.
Step 3: Revisions
Once your client has seen your initial designs, they’ll get back to you with some feedback regarding what they like, what they don’t like, what they’d like to see improved, as well as any suggestestions of their own.
Revisions are typically far less time-consuming than the initial design phase as it’s usually just a matter of trying on different fonts, color schemes, and minor tweaks to particular ideas. Each round of revisions, depending on how much needs to be amended, can be anywhere from 0.5 to 2 hours, and the typical logo design project (from my experience) requires an average of 3 rounds of revisions. So this phase of the project can take anywhere from 1.5 to 6 hours.
Step 4: Production
Once the client has decided on and selected a final design, it’s time to take that design and start preparing all of the files and formats they would ever need for their logo, then neatly package it up into a zipped folder, and I always include a PDF guide explaining what each individual format is and its practical use.
You client will need full color CMYK source vector formats, high resolution PNG format with a transparent background, a high resolution JPEG, and monotone variations of the aforementioned (one in black, and the other in white.)
Production is usually the quickest phase and usually doesn’t take me more than 1 hour.
With all four phases of the logo design process tallied up, a typical logo design project can take anywhere from 9.5 hours for a reasonable project, to 16+ hours for larger projects and more meticulous clients.
Obviously every project is different, and a mascot design would require far more time than a simple typeface design, so price every project according to its individual uniqueness. When a client reaches out to you with a project, it is up to you to determine roughly how long it will take, from start to finish.
From there, you can determine about how much your client’s logo will cost by multplying the estimated number of hours by whatever your hourly rate is.
What is your time worth?
It’s not up to me to tell you what your time is worth, and I’d rather not draw arbitrary lines around how much a graphic designer should expect to be paid. I couldn’t if I tried.
Much like any other profession, there’s various layers and pay grades. Someone who is more experienced can charge more than someone just starting out. Geography is also a factor. Designer rates will vary dramatically based on which country they’re located. Finally, let’s not forget the market and economy we’re competing in. If we’re participating in a micro-economy, such as a freelancing site, we have to keep our rates competitive.
What do you think your time, as a graphic designer, is worth? Bear in mind that design is a skilled and valuable profession that cannot be learned in a matter of days, nor can it be automated.
Don’t underestimate the value of your work. You are not an expendable laborer.
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Curious about the creative process that inspires me to come up with design ideas and how I go about executing them? Be sure to check out my logo design course for a look behind the scenes at my systematic approach to coming up with design ideas.
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Nick Saporito is a Philadelphia-based graphic designer who specializes in branding-specific design.All stories by: Nick