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How to price a logo design

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So you were asked to give a price quote for a logo design. How hard can that be?, you wonder.

I’ll just look it up on the internet, you think.

Nope.

Searching Google for “how to price a logo design” is like dealing with my soap-opera-addict-93-year-old grandma after I turn off her TV and take away the remote.

It’s a don’t try this at home kind of experience.

I mean, many great posts were written on the subject, but most of them are more concerned with how to design a logo and not so much with the pricing part. So I decided to write my own guide for you, the designer who just wants to get this part over with and go look for cool logos to get inspired by.

I did it because I believe you should spend at least a few minutes on this. Otherwise, you won’t ask for enough money, and later on you’ll hate yourself for it. Also, you won’t know how to explain to your client why you’re asking for that amount of money, when they can simply go fetch a logo from Fiverr for $5.

Your client might not be able to tell the difference. It’s like someone who’s never eaten a burger: how would they tell the difference between a Big Mac and a super awesome, homemade burger?

“If you don’t ask for enough money for your work, you’ll hate yourself for it later on.”
HowToPriceALogoDesign.Inline_1

Well, it’s your job to educate them about the logo design process—and to show them the difference between those burgers.

So I’ve broken the process into the different milestones you need to take into account for your logo design work. In short: all the things you need a price for and will do for real later on.

“It’s your job to educate your client about the logo design process.”

I also created a simple tool to help you with this: you can try it now, but it’s better if you wait until after you finish reading this post.

Ready to know how to price a logo design? Here goes.

1. Creating a design brief

Before you get started with creating the concept for the logo, manage client expectations. You need to understand what it is exactly that they need the logo for.

What you’re going to do

You can find this out through an interview in a meeting (or via email), or with a questionnaire you let them fill in. The more detailed answers you get, the better. You have to understand their limitations, and be on the same page as your client regarding what exactly you’re going to do for them.

Here are the questions you want to get answers for:

  • What is the purpose of the logo, and where will it be presented/used?
  • What exactly is the product/service that this business is providing?
  • What is the company’s history?
  • What is the deadline for the logo to be ready?
  • Who’s the target audience?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • Are there any restrictions (e.g. PG-16 or NSFW)?
  • How many revisions/concepts would the client want to see before they approve the logo? 1? 3? More?*
  • What formats are required? Print or digital? Note sizes and file formats, too.

*You should suggest the number you think is the best, but your client needs to understand that the price changes with the number of revisions and/or concepts.

Here’s another tool I created for you. It’s an online questionnaire that you can copy, edit, and use with your clients.

If you want to create your own copy, go here. You’ll have to authorize my Google-script, and then you can add your own logo, change the questions, and use it with your clients.

No copyrights needed—just use it. Your clients will admire your professionalism.

Once you get everything answered, create a design brief and present it to the client. Never start working on a design until everything is clear. It’ll save tons of headaches and work—mainly on your end.

How long it’s going to take

It doesn’t matter if it’s via email or in a personal meeting—this part takes time, and you should charge for it. You’ll sometimes prefer to do this part before you close the deal, since only after getting those answers could you really know how to price this project. But even so, you still want to include these hours in the work total—just like any other work you’re doing for this client.

2-4 hours minimum.

Pro tip

Create a template of questions you can send the client, and reuse it for every client. Design it beautifully and add your brand logo. It’ll show the clients that they’re working with a professional, and that they’re about to go through a real and deep process.

“Creating a design brief takes time. Don’t forget to charge your client for it.”

Pro tip #2

When you’re asking these questions, it’s a great opportunity for you to create more work for yourself. Sometimes your client doesn’t even know how much design work they’re going to need done. For example, do they need a Facebook page? Who’s going to brand and design this page? Who’s going to design the business cards that the logo will appear on? And so on and so forth.

Once you spot something that’s missing, propose it to your clients as something you can do.

2. Research: study the business behind the logo

You might be creating a logo for an already-operating business that has clients and an existing brand. Or maybe you’ve been asked to create a logo for a whole new business that’s not open yet.

Either way, you need to do some research to better understand what it is you’re designing a logo for.

What you’re going to do

If your client has an existing business, that means they might already have clients and branding. It could be professional branding they hired another designer or agency to do for them, or branding that was created by the sum of the interactions of this business’s product and clients. The brand might already have some history and style that your client will want to preserve.

“Don’t assume your clients know all the answers.”

If this is a business-to-be, however, research is even more essential. You really need to know what your client has in their head and what their visions and dreams are. They might not even know how to put it into words—maybe they need your help as a designer for that.

In this phase you’ll want to understand who the business’s clients are: existing or potential ones. What the interactions are between them and the business. What style your client wants to convey.

But don’t assume your clients know all the answers. Read about the business online, try to better understand the product they’re selling—the business model behind it and the culture around it. You should even try to talk to different workers at the business—they might get you more ideas and new angles.

You also need to know who their competitors are and what the uniqueness of this specific business is so you can create a logo that stands out and emphasizes the right thing.

Finally, find references. Learn the current trends and styles that are related to this business and its product/service. Look at successful brands in this area and try to understand what works and what doesn’t with the logos they have.

How long it’s going to take

It’s hard to estimate or even limit research time. But remember: your client didn’t hire you for a full branding job (at least not yet). They hired you for a logo design. Someone needs to pay for these hours of research, so be kind and limit yourself. With time you’ll know how to do this research faster and faster (and also charge more for it).

Minimum 4-8 hours.

Pro tip

Ask your client to send you references to other logos they like, or to other businesses with logos they can connect to. It’ll save you some headaches and help you get into their minds.

3. Creating the concept

In this stage you’re going to be creating concepts around what you’ve learned from the design brief and from the research.

What you’re going to do

You’ll probably have a few ideas you could already start sketching to see what works and what doesn’t. You want to have a few ideas—not just one—that you can test with someone you trust or with someone from the target audience if possible.

Getting feedback takes time—don’t forget that. At this point I wouldn’t show the client the sketches. Most clients don’t have the required imagination needed to see how your sketch can turn into a beautifully designed logo.

HowToPriceALogoDesign.Inline_2

Most people can’t sit a million hours in a row sketching logos, so take into account that you’ll need some breaks—either to get inspired, or to procrastinate. (How many cats can one person play with? You’ll find out soon enough.)

If you have 15 mins to spare, take a look at how Aaron Draplin does his logo sketching. It’ll make you want to run and sketch at this very moment:

After you have a few versions you like, dig deeper and think of the ways in which this logo is going to be used: on a website, business cards, Facebook page, etc. Some logos might look awesome on a square but really bad when placed in landscape format.

Your client might need both sizes, so think about whether that’ll work with your idea.

How long it’s going to take

How much time is needed for getting inspired and providing sketches? You know your way the best.

Remember to include time for testing the sketches, getting feedback, and presenting to the client.

Minimum 4-8 hours.

Pro tip

Thanks to the internet, there are plenty of sources to steal—sorry, to get inspired by. You also have many other sources to help you with creating the logo in a methodical way. Here are just a few:

And if you’ve got all the time in the world to go and learn, here’s a bigger resource list: The Ultimate List of Logo Design Resources by Just Creative Design.

4. Client presentation and revisions

Now you’re getting ready to create a few versions of the logo and show them to your client to get feedback. As a nuSchooler, I must remind you that it’s your responsibility to explain and convince the client that what they see fits their needs (assuming you’ve done your job right).

What you’re going to do

Choose 1 or 2 directions with your client, go back home, and start working on more revisions.

There are 2 ways you can proceed after the revisions are ready. You could do the whole presentation again, or just send your client the new versions in email. It all depends on how the first meeting went.

HowToPriceALogoDesign.Inline_3

If the client is already in love with one of your ideas (and you are, too), then only small changes are needed and there’s no need for another big presentation again. But if they didn’t like any of your ideas and you’re back to square one, then I suggest you create a whole new presentation from scratch and pitch again.

How long it’s going to take

Depends on how many revisions you and your client have agreed on.

5. Providing the logo

After you and your client decide on the logo, make sure you provide it in all needed formats, shapes, and sizes.

“Never start working on a design until everything is clear.”

What you’re going to do

Confirm with your client where they’ll use this logo, and provide them with whatever they need, digital or printed.

Usually your clients don’t have a clue what formats and shapes they need. All they know is to say “I need it for my Facebook page,” or “I want it to appear on both the mobile and desktop version of the website,” or “I need to put it on a green menu,” etc.

So don’t be a jerk. Help them with this, but also remember that it takes extra time to figure out these things.

How long it’s going to take

2-4 hours minimum.

Let’s sum it up

This is everything you’ll do when you work on your next logo. Hopefully you’ll now be able to estimate how many hours you need to finish a project, and, just as important, how to explain your work process to your client—and why you need more than $50 to do the work.

This post was originally published on The nuSchool.

Author

Lior Frenkel, CEO at The nuSchool
Lior is Head of Fun and CEO at The nuSchool. He thinks doing business as a freelancer can be fun—he's a mentor at the Designer's Pricing Class and the author of Value For Money.

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