Want a cheap logo? Go and get some clip art then

So, moving on from my last post I Need a Logo Designed for Free”, on logo designers being asked to do ‘free’ logos, or in exchange for the never arriving skill swap for free fitted wardrobe units. Here is the next tier up or down, depending on your viewpoint.

“What are your rates, what do you charge for logo design?”

Seemingly harmless in itself and frankly on the surface a fair enough question. But lets open this up a little more.

I have stopped giving out hourly or fixed rates for logo projects,

Typically, I have moved on from offering up hourly rates or fixed rates when a potential client comes approaches me with the opening post question : “What are your rates, what do you charge for logo design?” The exception is for a budget logo package which ultimately is only suitable for website header graphics etc.

If you ask that question, if you are the client, dig a little deeper and actually stop to think about that what it is you are asking. You are asking a question that needs way more information before it can be ‘accurately’ answered.

In some cases this can put the designer in a pretty awkward position.

Cost, worth and budget

Ultimately, it comes down to how much the client is prepared to pay in relation to how important this project is for them, what their budget is.

It’s not for me to set a price ceiling for a clients logo or brand identity project.

Heck, I know nothing about them. I don’t even know at this point the name of their brand, let alone how much they should spend. Or more importantly, how serious and devoted they are to their own success. Do they understand that logo and brand identity design is a pretty complex and involved process? If not, we need to help, thats if they want the help of course.

To the client

You tell me how important this project is to you. You tell me how far this new identity of yours needs to penetrate. You tell me how many people it needs to touch. You tell me how many competitors you need to rise against. There will be many more questions, but we can make a start with some basics.

When you come to me and ask me what my costs are before I know even the slightest bit about you, you are asking me an impossible question.

  • It’s impossible if you want me to do the best job I possibly can for you.
  • It’s easy if you want me to do a cheap slap dash job.

And if it’s the latter, I can tell you know, I will refuse and suggest you find some clip art. Well, that’s a bit harsh, but I kinda mean it.

Only then can we make progress. Only then can we start working out figures before asking the client to commit.

The downside and what to do about it

Unfortunately, there are many clients who want a quick fix logo quote. The moment you say its not that simple, that they need to provide some informtion, you may not hear from them again. At this point it is up to you to decide if they are better off going elsewhere or if you feel they need a slight prod and a guiding hand.

Whenever I get ‘that’ question, I send them a nice email just outlining why it’s not so easy to just come up with a default rate. I summarize why, and the reasons. I try to put their mind at ease when the ‘budget’ question is asked. I let them know Im not going to take them to the cleaners. I implicitly tell them that I will not use up their generous budget if I don’t have to. They can help this by providing as much information as possible and answering all the questions on my initial quote form.

I will ask them again to fill in my online quote form which is a pretty easy bunch of questions for them to answer. (One client refused to fill in the form, and repeatedly asked me to just pluck a number from thin air.) Guess what I did.

You need to explain that if they are serious about the logo and identity then this WILL mean more investment. You can’t get away from that one. The old well abused and used cliché, “you get what you pay for” has never been so true and so appropriate.

But even after I send this email, I will sometimes not hear from them again. But this is OK. This pretty much tells me that they were either after something for nothing, or just not happy to work at working with me.

You must want to work ‘with’ me

Thats important to consider, if they are not happy to work to work with you for their own best interests, do you really want the stress of having them as a client? If filling out a quote form that has a few brief related questions is too much, kinda paints a picture about the client, does it not?

It takes work from both sides to complete a successful logo and brand identity project. It ‘just’ doesn’t happen without considerable input from the client and a big helping hand from the designer.

I know now that the clients that do stick with me through this initial process, are the ones that will be appreciative and understanding.


Written by: Graham Smith: The Logo Smith
1st Posted: 2009/05/01 & Post Updated: 2014/05/09
Filed In Categories: Brand Identity, Opinion

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