Companies often wonder they should pay a tidy sum, when there are freelancers at online marketplaces who will design a logo for a paltry sum. There are agencies too, which offer logos for throwaway prices. It is a reasonable and valid question to ask why companies should spend a lot more on a professional logo designers, when they can get a similar service for a fraction of the cost. Only, ‘similar service’ isn’t so similar.
Here is what you need to remember:
• A logo is the face of your brand, and helps people to identify you amidst a million others and recognize you when they see you.
• A logo also implies that you are inherently superior to other brands and that your uniqueness and excellent quality is represented graphically.
• This distinction is achieved with a clever play of shapes, fonts, colors and images.
• There is as much science and marketing in logo designing as there are psychology and humanities.
• This clever overlapping of various subjects is not possible when you seek a logo for a throwaway price.
• A cheap logo is probably just a shape that looks great on paper, but achieves very little.
Before we jump to the differences between a cheap and an expensive designer, let us stress on the importance of a good designer.
1. Will a cheap designer that offers logos for $5 be a good designer? Most probably not.
2. Will an expensive designer who charges thousands of dollars be good enough? Who knows?
3. How then, do we compare cheap and expensive designers? You shouldn’t be doing this at all.
4. What must we do then? Understand the difference between cheap, affordable and expensive, and also understand that economic considerations while important, do not translate to a great logo.
• Cheap usually means something very inexpensive and quite shoddy in nature. This is something you should avoid at all costs
• Expensive design often is assumed to be great, but a lot of high profile branding work that cost a lot, such as Gap’s rebranding, tell us that expensive logo design does not automatically mean it is good. They could just be unethically fleecing you.
• Affordable designers may be good or bad, or just mediocre. You can never tell.
However, what we do know is that really good logo designers respect their work, and make it a point to help companies achieve success with their experience. They do not try to charge exorbitantly, but they value their work enough not to give away logos for just a few dollars. In the end, experienced and good logo designers may seem slightly pricey, but they probably won’t be exorbitant. They certainly won’t be ‘cheap’, but there are high chances they are affordable.
Now, let us take a look at why great logos can’t be cheap, and they do cost a tidy sum if not an exorbitant amount.
1. Logo designing is a process. Cheap logos skirt this path.
Designing a logo begins with a formal process. A client approaches the designer with a request, which the designer helps to convert to a creative brief. The creative brief incubates in the minds of designers, and slowly blossoms into a prototype. This further evolves into a proper logo. As you can see, you can’t just ask for a logo like you would ask for a pizza at a restaurant.
2. Logo designing requires formal training. Boring books, exams, thesis; you get the idea?
You thought you could get a logo on an obscure marketplace. Sweet. But remember, this logo may not be what will drive you to success, just like a house that is designed by someone whose hobby is to draw architectural plans. Logo designers study design, art, and practice thousands of hours of supervised logo making. There are formal exams and certifications they attain, and all this takes time and effort. A logo designer who offers a logo for the price of a coffee probably doesn’t have this level of training.
3. Design software costs money. And no, they can’t (or, shouldn’t) be downloaded off torrent websites.
Now, some really good designers probably may not charge you a lot for a logo. How do they do this? They probably do not use licensed software, which someday may come back to haunt you. Professional logo designers use licensed software tools which cost quite a bit. These tools are investments that logo designers make, and your invoice will probably consist of charges made for the same. Now really, you should be hiring designers who use the licensed software because it is the only right thing to do.
4. Designing a logo does not involve a designer’s personality. Well, not quite.
You probably met that hipster bloke at a bar who claimed that he could design a logo for free, just because he liked you a lot. You shouldn’t be accepting this genuine offer of comradeship. While he may be nice to you, his personality isn’t what matters when it comes to designing logos. It requires experience, talent, and skills. Professional logo designers do not necessarily bring their personality to your logo. Instead, they ensure your company’s personality is reflected in the final design.
5. Experience. Yes, it does matter.
Many people feel experience doesn’t matter. We all started to learn somewhere, didn’t we? When you are getting that one-time logo for your company, it is in your interest to choose an agency that has been around for a while, because it matters. Experience builds over time, and designers learn from their past mistakes and successes. All of this comes handy when they are developing your logo and branding.
6. A logo is the primary element of your branding
At the end of the day, the logo is what people see first, whenever they look at your website, your business card, or whatever else you are making visible to people. It is just basic marketing logic that you make the logo look good and memorable. As it is the primary element of your branding, it should take precedence over other things you might want to invest in. Logos are used in business cards, letterheads, websites, favicons, brochures, offline events, signboards, and just about everywhere.
7. Rebranding, reworking. Yes, continued support, after years.
Though you may have a good logo, and it was delivered to you for a low price, you may not be able to track down the designer if you want something changed. Sometimes, logos need to be reworked because your audience might change. A professional logo agency ensures that you will receive continued support for a price, but a price that is well worth it. In case you want to rebrand, they already know what is right for your company.
8. File extensions, formats, and all that jazz
There are times when that really nice cheap logo designer forgets to send you logos in the right format. One fine day when you want to use it on a large banner, you realize that it is not scalable. You may also realize that it was not web-ready. All these technicalities go into a logo that you should be trusting professionals to do the job. You really don’t want your one-time investment to go wrong, do you?
9. Testing. Yes, logos need to be tested too.
Logos need to be tested to check if they appear correctly on various screens, if they colors are all right, if the shape looks responsive enough, and they need to be tested for various other criteria. This helps to ensure that your logo dazzles your customers, and they will always remember it to be that perfect sign. Logo testing is a procedure that involves considerable time and effort. A cheap designer may not make the effort of making sure your logo passes all the tests.
10. A unique synthesis of science and art
Designing a logo is a combination of various sciences and artistic fields. This does not come naturally to novices. While not every experienced agency has an inclination toward art and science, professional logo designers know that designing a logo is neither a pure art nor a pure science. It is a combination of both, with a touch of marketing, psychology and various other subjects. This is why, you will probably never find a logo that is designed for the price of a baguette changing the world. To make sure that your logo not only saves your company’s face but gives it a makeover, hire an agency that has been around for a while, and knows how to weave science and art together.
So, cheap or expensive shouldn’t be the criteria
These 10 tips should tell you that hiring a cheap designer is not a wise decision. At the same time, this does not mean you should hire an expensive designer. All it means is, you need to consider various criteria before choosing your logo designer. The one that you finally choose, based on the above 10 criteria will mostly not be cheap. He or she may be affordable, but that is beside the point. Choose a logo design agency that suits your budget, but do be sure to consider all the 10 criteria we listed above!