Logo Design Budgets – Freelance Designer or Client to Decide?


This post touches on a subject that pops up more then several times every week. A number of logo design quote requests I receive, usually end up with the client asking how much they should allocate for their budget.

For this article, I am assuming we are talking about typical freelancers, working from home. I am also basing this article on designers that don’t have fixed rate logo design packages. For obvious reasons, this is a less tricky route to take, but I personally feel fixed rate logo designs can cause some clients to get confused with prices. I am often asked why I can charge over £1000 for a logo design when they have seen a designer doing fixed rate logo designs for £300. (This I will tackle in my next post.)

Who’s call is it?

This is my opinion of course, it is based on my own thoughts and reasons. You may agree or disagree.

Simply, I believe that the client should make the overall decision as to the budget for any kind of logo and identity work they require.

It is not for the designer to determine the importance of the clients business. A designer cannot reasonably and accurately make that call. Unless significant consulting in both finances and business plan have been undertaken. Numerous factors dictate that the client is the only one who should determine the value they place and invest on any kind of identity and advertising work.

How important is the business to them, how critical is it that the business takes off with the right visual message. How crucial is it to the client that people take their brand and identity seriously? How much are they prepared to invest in catapulting their identity forwards? Do they really understand the importance of a solid logo and brand identity?

It may seem an obvious pitch, but the frequency of which I am asked how much the client should spend or invest is considerably high. It only takes a few words with the client usually to clear the situation, but I am sure many less experienced designers end up feeling pressured to make that call. If the less experienced designer is not totally aware of this, they could easily end up undervaluing the project.

The client will probably need a guiding hand as to what is an appropriate financial range, which can only be done once a adequate brief has been absorbed. But the ultimate decision should be left to the client.

Last minute logo design

It’s quite often the case that the logo design has been left to the very last minute, which is the worse possible situation. This usually means finances have been spent on web site development and other advertising costs. I think the assumption here is that the logo can be knocked out quickly and cheaply. Indeed, I know this to be the case, as I am the one often explaining to the client that their assumptions are quite incorrect.

The much used saying, ‘you get what you pay for’ is so very true.

Guide the client

The next time a client asks you what their budget should be, you need to guide the client down the right path. Explain that it’s not for a designer to make that decision. You don’t know anything about the business as this point, the clients financial situation, their knowledge or understanding of the value of a solid logo. Obtaining a solid brief will help determine the time needed, and you can use this to discuss with the client what realistic fee is.

You can help them look at the process involved and make a reasonable suggestion on time and costs. But make it clear you are guiding them only, it is their money, their business, their decision as to how much of their money they should put up.

This can be tricky for a designer if they are not experienced in negotiating fee’s or feel insecure about their own worth as a designer.

Upfront clients

Saying all that, there are a number of times when I see a new logo quote request, where the client has confidently allocated a realistic and sometimes generous budget. Relish the moment.

On occasion, the budget offered has exceeded what I would have initially quoted for, based on the information on the brief. On these occasions, try not to be greedy. Consistency is important. On these occasions I will explain that the budget is generous. I explain my appreciation to them for valuing the logo design process.

I then go on to explain that given the brief, the chances are the project could be done for less that the budget put up. That the client can expect a reduced invoice if the project is indeed completed in reasonable time and without any unexpected delays or or surprises. This helps instill trust and can help with your overall reputation further down the line.

There is a fine line between being greedy and undervaluing yourself.



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Written by: Graham Smith: The Logo Smith
1st Posted: 2009/10/26 & Post Updated: 2010/05/29
Filed In Categories: Brand Identity, Freelance, Opinion

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