What should I charge for a logo design?

A lot of students and beginning artists ask “What should I charge for a logo design?” This is one of the most difficult things to judge for an artist. We could spend a little time with the client mulling over ideas. Then a few hours sketching, reviewing with the client, refine the sketches, more meetings, and finally a good design is approved. The final is usually rendered in software such as Adobe Illustrator, a vector drawing program that doesn’t use pixels to create images. Instead, points called vectors are established on the page and the lines and curves connecting those points are based on trigonometric formulas. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know the math. But you do need to know how to use the pen tool. Color the shapes you’ve created and you have a logo that can be blown up to the size of a billboard and it won’t pixelate, perfect edges and resolution.

OK, so we’re back to the original question, what do you charge? A lot of times it’s based on the client’s financial situation. I wouldn’t charge $5,000 for a Mom and Pop grocery store logo, maybe not even $500. But if it’s for Apple, Pepsi, or 3M, there’s going to be a lot more involved than working through a few sketches. Larger companies will require a lot more work involving more than just one designer; expect test groups, studies, panel discussions, multiple meetings and multiple approvals. A lot more time and visual exploration will be involved. Then take the design and show how it will look on all kinds of packaging, products and promotional material. Now $5,000 is sounding pretty cheap. What do you charge? There’re just too many variables involved to conclusively say this amount or that.

How much did some of the most famous logos cost? According to an article on designtaxi.com (http://designtaxi.com/news/353253/Famous-Logos-And-The-Cost-Of-Designing-Them/) Coca Cola, with its distinctive script was designed in 1885 by a bookkeeper on hourly wages. Cost = $0. British Petroleum’s green sunburst cost the company $211,000,000 in 2008. This price covered more than just the graphic image that was created, it also covered the implementation of that design across all of BP’s network of products, vehicles, and advertising. The Nike swoosh was designed in 1975 for $35 and that WAS just for the graphic image. Later the company gave the designer 500 shares of Nike, now worth over $600,000.

My best advice is work with the client, find out what he can afford, and try to keep within his budget. Don’t spend hours of research and work if he can’t afford it. Do take the time to listen, take notes, sketch ideas and keep him involved. He will appreciate your work and hopefully love your design. But don’t undersell yourself, either. This is how you pay your bills and support your family. Maintain your professional integrity and do an honest job for honest pay.

And now for the disclaimer: None of the companies represented by the logos in this graphic paid for, approved, or even know of the posting. Thank you.