My Thoughts On Client Pricing & Budgets for Freelance Logo Designers

I’m going to try to offer up a few pointers on the tricky matter of logo design pricing and budgets for freelance logo designers.

This is a text heavy article, so be prepared.

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 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 easier 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 logo design projects are unique, and require different strategies and constraints on your time. They should be not lumped into the same £XX plus revisions bracket mentality, this is a sure way to dilute the individuality that each project brings.

I’m certainly not saying one way is right and the wrong; this is my opinion and preference based after working and trying both methods.

My Preferred Method of Working

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 the client. We should of course help, and advise, with appropriate budgets if asked, or where we fill it’s required.

You can get a sense of how I present my prices by viewing my Preliminary Logo Brief, and my Detailed Logo Brief.

I have also tackled the subject of budgets in: Ask For A Budget-Try To Avoid Quoting Freely

How Much Should I Charge?

Simply: I recommend having a 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, reasonable and appropriate wage for your skills.

More often than not I think you will be pleasantly surprised: The pessimists may assume that a client will always choose the lowest price; my experience has been quite the opposite on many occasions.

A higher percentage of clients choose the mid – highest price bracket, 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?

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 a 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.

Again, personal experience has shown me that the client may 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 that comes your way.

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.

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 logo designs in my logo portfolio; I was also a complete unknown entity, with absolutely nothing to show anyone. So why would anyone hire me?

Starting all over again, with a blank slate, usually comes with bucket loads of 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.

Be Realistic, not Cocky

One needs to be realistic about pricing even if your own personal financial situation is dire.

If you have an unconvincing portfolio, with no real experience, then 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 Freelance Work Start To Grow

When I first stared The Logo Smith (back then I was called imjustcreativemy initial budget range was around £75-£300.

Frankly, this is a pitiful number, but 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 £50-£75 projects in a row IS totally disheartening, especially when you know you have the skill set AND experience.

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.

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. 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; ultimately meaning 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 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; 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, Pure Storage and Feedly. Both these logo and brand identity projects were a heart lifting moment for me, both personally and professionally.

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 don’t have an upper limit.

I’ve had some projects with budgets upwards of £12k, and a reasonable number around the £6k, and these are still mostly just for the logo design aspect, not the fuller brand identity design.

Really Stuck with Pricing?

It can be tricky to know how to charge one off logo designs, 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 (including myself sometimes), that they would rather not be doing the project they have taken on. In these cases, it would make sense, and fairer to the client, to be honest with 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 a sound platform.

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.

A Sound Figure

Sometimes a figure range just sounds right: I think for a relatively straight-forward logo design (as a UK designer), £750-£1500 seems to be the average budget clients will voluntarily put up. 

Anything less, and you are running close to creating a perception that you just don’t value yourself as a designer.

To Conclude

No doubt: pricing-up logo designs can be hard, but it does start to come together the more your confidence and portfolio grows.

If you opt for my method: 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 an easier option for both designer, and client. However, I also think it can be 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. I think this is an important aspect in the process, in terms of the general perception of value in logo design, and graphic design in general.

Although I have no upper limit I still have a budget option. Sometimes I like to take on quick and ‘easy’ jobs, that help break-up a larger and longer running project. This is more about keeping a fresh mind, rather than a need to always score a high paying project.

Still Stuck?

I’ll be happy to give any more pointers via Social Media, such as on Twitter, so please feel free to tap me up.


Unsplash Photo Credits: “empty workplace background” by Andrej Lišakov