Thoughts On Logo Design Pricing
In this article I try to offer up a few pointers with the tricky matter of how much to work out your logo design pricing. Although a very hard set of questions to give precise answers to I will cover a few pointers that will hopefully give you some things to consider.
Pinning down how much to charge really does depend on your own unique circumstances which could include: logo making experience, graphic design and industry experience, quality of portfolio, are you in demand and the sort of client you are typically attracting.
I'm not going to be able to offer up any precise direction on pricing as there is just too much to factor in but I will try and offer up a few pointers.
Fixed Logo Design Pricing Packages vs Flexible Range
I have never been a fan of fixed price packages where you get X amount of initial ideas with X revisions. Logo and identity design is rarely that straight forward and predictable, and I think it's a little wrong to create the impression that it is.
I know there is a place for quickly churned out logo designs but these are less about creating an identity and more about creating a logo minus a more rounded identity. If you want to churn out logo after logo then the fixed package option is easy to manage.
If you are looking to create something with a bit more soul and depth, and really want to explore the heart of a company then I believe there is no room for the churning out of design after design mentality.
Most projects are unique and require different strategies and constraints on your time. They should be not lumped into the same £XXX plus revisions bracket mentality, this is a sure way to dilute the individuality that each project brings.
Ultimately each to their own; it's whatever best suits your lifestyle and working practices. Certainly not saying one way is right and the wrong; this is my opinion and preference based after working and trying both methods.
This article, therefore, is based around my preferred method of working. Offering a budget range and putting the onus on the client to specify a budget. I don't feel it's for me to place an initial value on their needs or wants this should really come from them.
We should of course help and advise with appropriate budgets if asked or where required.
How Much Should I Charge?
I do recommend having this minimum and maximum price range, and leave it to the client to specify how much they are prepared to invest in your services. At first glance it may not seem as quick to sort out as the fixed price option but it is much more flexible if you are looking to earn a fair wage for your skills.
More often than not I think you will be pleasantly surprised. The pessimists will assume that a client will always choose the lowest price when in fact my experience has been quite the opposite.
A higher percentage of clients choose the mid to highest price rather than the lowest. This partly means you don't have to sweat it too much. If your portfolio rocks and you are a nice person then the work will surely come and it will come with an attractive pay cheque.
There are certainly times when the logo design brief has been filled in and the client has selected the lowest price range even thought their requirements are better suited to the higher range.
In these cases all you need to do is politely write back and explain that their brief is more suited to the £1000 budget, and not the £600. Personal experience has also shown me that the client will adjust if they are presented with valid reasons. Sometimes they just can't afford it, or other reasons, then it's down to you if you take the project on or not.
Worth remembering even though it's rather stating the obvious: it's always your choice in taking or leaving work.
All About Me
I think the best thing I can do in this first post on logo design pricing is to talk about my own experience over the last few years. The reason I think this will be useful is that I only started working for myself a few years back.
So until recently I was in the position of having no idea how much to charge because: although I had close to 25 years industry experience in commercial print, design and reprographics I had no experience in working for myself; I had zero designs in my logo portfolio; I was also a complete unknown entity with absolutely nothing to show anyone why they should hire me; starting all over agan with a blank slate usually comes with lack of confidence and trust in oneself.
Taking all this into account I knew that I could not hope to charge a barely reasonable fee, and by barely reasonable anything over a £200. So for some time I would take on logo projects for between £75 to £200 with the odd £300 if I was fortunate to find a cool and generous client.
One needs to be realistic about pricing even if your own personal financial situation is dire. If you have a crap portfolio with no real experience and skint this does not mean you can or should charge over the odds. You ideally need to work yourself up, prove to yourself and others that you are infact worth having money spent/invested in.
When Things Start To Grow
When I first stared The Logo Smith my initial budget range was around £75-£300. This is a pitiful number to look at yet you do have to start at the beginning. I had a mixed bag of clients in these early days with some happy to pay £200-£300 with others' intent on paying £75 to £150.
You just have to take it on the chin at this point but a number of £75 projects in a row IS totally disheartening.
In a relatively short period of time you can start thinking about raising your prices. After a few successful projects: which probably covered a span of 3-5 months, I raised my pricing from £75-£300 to around £150-£400.
Every time you feel you can raise the prices it gives you a boost of confidence and justification in what you are doing.
It is important that any time you play with the pricing you monitor the incoming inquiries. If you are still getting enquiries then you know the price is still reasonable and that people are prepared to pay. A few times enquiries would appear to drop off, not knowing if this was due to the rise or more coincidental reasons, so I would tinker with the pricing by lowering it back down a smidgen.
3-4 Months Later
After another 3 or 4 months I would revaluate the prices. With a healthier portfolio and self-confidence growing I would increase the budget range once again. In these early days of finding your feet it's just about being: flexible, realistic and fair to yourself and your clients with the end goal in site to keep you motivated.
I would have certain goals in terms of pricing and one of these was reaching £500. For me this was a pivotal moment in which there was a "this is starting to feel worth it" frame of mind.
There are a number of benefits to pricing yourself lower as well as pricing yourself higher but they both come with potential downsides. I'll likely tackle this in another article.
Don't Expect It To Be Easy
When you first start out you can't possibly be expected to get it right all of the time and there will be instances when you kick yourself for rejecting a job because it was not paying enough or you raised your prices too soon. It's all part of the process and you will in time get used to not really worrying to much about it.
Just be super flexible with your budget range and be prepared to drop down a level if work has slowed up then raise again once things return to a comfortable level.
The 2nd Year
In my 2nd year of working The Logo Smith I would adjust my base range a number of times but also incrementally rising the higest price every time. The more I was pleased with my own work the more my confidence in my abilities would grow which would ultimately mean being able to justify charging a little more.
I deliberately kept it a slow and methodical process.
I realise it's easy for me to say I had a £200-£500 budget range but this doesn't tell you the sort of work and effort that each project would require. Some projects would be quite easy and some would be challenging, and usually the latter would be a £200 project and not £500.
It was also in this 2nd year of The Logo Smith that I made the feel good shift up to £1000 as the highest rate. I didn't jump from £500-£100 but incrementally going from: £500-£600-£750-£850 and finally £1000. For some reason I skipped the £900 range altogether.
Feeling confident about being able to charge £1000 was a huge personal accomplishment.
Under no circumstances would I rush this process of, hope fully, becoming a logo designer of note. With a background in marketing and advertising I also knew that the best laid plans took time and patience to realise.
It's a slow burn up the ladder with no short-cuts.
In this 2nd year I scored a couple of significant projects which included Foehn & Hirsch. This project was an awesome catch and would change how I viewed myself in many many ways.
In The Now
Jump ahead a few months to right now and nothing much has changed with how I price up and quote. All that has really changed is that I now don't have an upper limit.
I could one day be asked to work on a project that could take months of hard hard work and this could easily end up costing upwards of £10k. I am now in that place mentally where I can consider this sort of work, and that having no high limit gives the perception that I will charge whatever I feel is fair and appropriate but safe to say a budget generally out of the reach of my usual clients.
It can be tricky to know how to charge one off logos if it's not something you do often. It will depend on what you are prepared to work for, how important the job could be to your portfolio and if you actually really want to do it.
Sometimes I get a sense from some people on Twitter that they would rather not be doing the logo they have taken on. In these cases it would make sense, and be fairer to the client, to be honest to yourself and the client and pass it along to someone who DOES want to do it. As much as you might need the money a logo often needs your full commitment and not a half hearted attempt.
I would hate to think that someone I hired and invested money in begrudgingly did the work. That really would not be cool.
If you do love designing logos but they just don't form a regular part of your working week then looking at the fixed price way of working will provide sound ideas. There are plenty of logo designers who work this way and looking on their websites will show you the price range they work to and also what the deliverables are.
Sometimes a figure just sounds right. I think for a relatively straight forward logo design £400-£500 is the magic number. It's an impossible figure to state as
Anything less and you are running close to the budget perception or that you just don't value yourself as a designer. Which when you are starting out is practically impossible to avoid unless you blog and Tweet a lot to demonstrate how dedicated you are to everything logo design. My willingness to expend so much energy on writing and social media has greatly increased my discoverability on Google etc so I will write more about this in another article.
No doubt that pricing up logo designs can be hard but it does start to come together and more quickly the more your confidence and portfolio grows.
If you opt for my method of showing a budget range rather than fixed a project package then you are allowing for much more flexibility as well as allowing the client a chance to voluntarily show how much they might value good design. A fixed package is the easy option for both designer and client and I also believe the least profitable for some projects.
With the method I employ the prices are there for all to see but also means the client has to think about costs and value which I think is important in terms of the general perception of value in design
Although I have no upper limit I still have a budget option as I do sometimes like to take on quick easy jobs that help break-up a larger longer running project. This is more about keeping a fresh mind rather than a need to always score a high paying project.
I'll be happy to give any more pointers in the comments below if you have any particular questions but please bear in mind it's not an exact science.
Useful Logo Resources
I also have a number of useful logo design resources that you may find helpful in creating logo design questionnaires, proposal templates, copyright templates and logo identnity guidelines and much more.
Pure Storage Identity Design
WordPress, Corrupt Databases And VaultPress Saving The Day
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The Logo Smith : Freelance Logo Designer, Brand Identity & Graphic Design Studio
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25 Years Experience in: Logo & Brand Identity Design, Graphic Design, Advertising, Marketing, and Commercial Print.