Hmmm….How does that idiom go again?

When I first moved into my home, Home Depot was my go-to resource for every appliance, fixture, hardware and tool for my home. We knew enough not to buy super cheap, so we invested one or two tiers up…mid-ranged cheap.

Living in New England, we knew we needed a snow blower. So I bought a model at Home Depot for around $200. It wasn’t super cheap, but it wasn’t expensive either. That snowblower lasted about two seasons. Then I bought another, this time investing $250. Surely this will last I thought. Sadly, I was wrong again. I bought one more snow blower, again at $250, hoping that it was just bad luck and third times a charm.

Boy, how wrong I was. I finally had enough. I needed a good snow blower that would last. So, I did my homework. I talked with some neighbors. And I shelled out $1000 at a shop that specializes in tractors and mowers and snowblowers. You know what? That was 10 years ago, and that same snow blower still works as well today as it did when I first purchased it.

I learned a valuable lesson with snow blowers, grills, faucets, vacuum cleaners, appliances and just about everything else I’ve purchased over the years. You really do get what you pay for.

The same idiom applies in business…you get what you pay for. Businesses have many options when it comes to investing in their brand identity.  You don’t want to end up with the option that breaks after two years.  This article will explore those options, and more.

Contests may be ideal for hot dog eating. But not for logos.

The concept behind Crowdsourcing websites like 99designs that offer logo contests is simple. You submit your request to a crowd of designers who compete with one another to design a logo for your business. And, you only need to pay for the logo that you like. As for the other designers who entered the contest, well they don’t get paid. The whole idea of this is absolutely obscene.

Imagine you walked into a restaurant, and ordered 20 items off the menu. But you told the waiter that you would only pay for the food that you liked. As for the other 19 food items, well, you won’t pay for those. No restaurant would ever consider this. So, why should professional designers? In fact, there is no credible professional service, from lawyers, doctors, accountants and more, that would ever consider this as a viable source of income. And neither do credible professional designers.

Let’s think this through for a moment and return to the same analogy in the intro paragraph. One plumber put it the best. He said I can purchase any premium brand faucet I wanted (Kohler, Moen, Delta, American Standard), as long as I didn’t buy it at Home Depot. According to him, and many other contractors that I spoke with, Home Depot would purchase inferior goods and sell them at moderate prices.

Since many of those who participate in these contests do not actually get paid for their work, they are not, by definition, professionals.  Instead, these contests are littered with amateurs, hobbyists and students who will all too often not invest very much time in your logo at best, and at worse offer plagiarized logos or a vector downloaded from a free online resource in place of custom-designed solutions. For this reason, I am not even considering logo contests as a viable option.

Viable Low-end Solutions

Since we’ve eliminated logo contests as a viable option, there are other freelance marketplaces, such as Fivver, Upwork, and others, that allow you to place any budget that you would like. If using one of those online marketplaces, I offer these words of advice “tread very carefully.”  If you set your budget between $5 – $500, chances are pretty good that you will get the same pool of designers who will not invest very much time in your brand and would likely offer plagiarized logos.

To avoid this, be sure to ask about the logo designers process. Your logo design will be in good hands if the designer’s process includes a discovery session, research, ideation, and options in the first draft.  Aim to spend at least $1000 – $2500 to attract an experienced designer on a freelance marketplace who would provide a thoughtfully executed logo design. If you are investing that much, be absolutely sure the designer follows a process that includes getting to know you and your brand before diving right into design. This is your logo for your business, so you want it to be right.

Mid-range options

Experienced freelancers and small start-up independent agencies make up the low-to-mid-range pricing options. They would follow a tried-and-true process. Their discovery phase may be a bit more extensive, and may include more than one session with you and your stakeholders or colleagues. The more experienced the designer and the more time they spend with your logo, the more you should expect to pay.  Your cost would likely be start at $2500 and could be upwards of $5000 for just a logo. You will not have to worry about receiving a plagiarized logo, or a logo that didn’t have thought instilled in the execution.  For this spend, you should also expect to receive final files that include vector EPS files, transparent PNG files, as well as different layouts such as square, horizontal or vertical. These are very important for sending your logo to other vendors.  If you need more than just a logo, such as a brand identity book that included a color palette, typography and other elements, the cost could range from $5000 – $50,000.

High-End Pricing

Branding and renowned design agencies round out the high-end logo pricing options. Expect to pay at least $50,000 for just a logo, and up to $250,000 for an extensive brand discovery process and a large branding book. For companies that also need a brand strategy and global brand identity package, the price would likely be in the neighborhood of $150,000 – $500,000+.

Where does Creative Chain fit?

Creative Chain falls in the mid-range. We price our projects based on the project scope. As a frame of reference a brand identity might start at $3000 for a logo and basic brand guidelines document depending on your needs for each deliverable. Our services in brand identity are wide and varied, and it all starts with your goals. As an example, we can also work with one of our fully-vetted brand strategist partner, for a more extensive brand immersion exercise and extensive brand guidelines. Our experience includes interviewing internal stakeholders and external customers, and converting those discussions into meaningful briefs. We will discuss your challenge and deploy the right strategy, minds and skill sets to your project.

Want to learn more.  Reach out today.