Forget Those $5 Logos

Do a search for $5 logo and the results are pretty scary. There are dozens of websites that charge a measly $5 and promise a logo in a short turnaround.

It’s pretty enraging when you think about it. How quickly do you have to turn that project around just to make minimum wage? Less than 30 minutes?

But here’s the real problem: any time someone can buy a logo for $5, it devalues the work of every designer on every project. I recently had someone tell me that my rates were “unbelievable” because they could “get the same thing” online for $5. (I’m pretty sure it’s not the same thing.)

You Get What You Pay For

$5 logo

You are going to need to be ready for this conversation with clients. You need to be armed with a list of reasons that $5 just won’t cut it if they are looking for quality design.

Look at the image above. It is from a Google image search for $5 logo. Would you want any of these images to represent your brand? (Would you feel confident putting your name on any of these designs?)

It comes down to one idea: You get what you pay for. Here’s what a client often gets with a $5 logo:

  • A single design with no revisions. (Who has ever had a client that did not ask for revisions?
  • A raster format. (We all know what kind of problems this will cause.)
  • A “cheap” look with standard fonts. (Maybe even comic sans.)
  • An overdesigned look with odd gradients, shadows and shapes. (Probably built from default software settings.)
  • Forget the personal touch that comes with having a design meeting or conversation to create a concept the client loves.

We’ve Got to Earn a Living

If those arguments are not enough to help people understand why a $5 logo is a bad idea, there’s more. If you are dealing with this issue with clients, there’s a strong likelihood that you are doing a lot of freelance work. And there are plenty of costs that come with selling your designs short.

Most importantly, you need to actually earn a living. If you are losing money doing this, then why are you still designing? While design can be a fun job, it has to pay the bills. Clients should understand that concept. They would not sell their product or service for a fraction of the cost, would they?

Think about some of the costs that come with every project and that you need to account for these things when pricing work.

  • Taxes, insurance and business fees
  • Material costs and software
  • Time to complete a project
  • Additional wants of the client such as special typefaces etc.
  • Paying yourself a reasonable wage

Don’t De-Value Design

Personally, my issue with $5 logo claims is that it devalues the work every one of us does each day. Some clients might not be able to tell the difference between a $5 logo and $1,000 logo, but it’s there.

Design is both an art and a job. It takes time. It take patience. It takes skill to put together something that will last and serve a client well.

This is why you’ll never find me mass-producing $5 logos. I am worth more than that. My peers in the industry are too. And every time someone sells one of these cheap options, it makes it that much harder for a designer to get a fair price for work. Selling logos for $5 doesn’t just devalue the work of the person doing it, it devalues the design industry as a whole. (And we should not stand for it.)

What Logo Design Really Looks Like

Logo design takes a lot of work. While the process can be a little different for every designer, it probably looks a little like this (and surely takes more than 30 minutes).

  • It starts with a design concept meeting with the client. What are they trying to accomplish? What’s their visual style? Are there color, marks or words that have to be included in the project?
  • Brainstorm and sketch.
  • Create one or two rough drafts to connect with the client conceptually.
  • Pick an option and present to client.
  • Make appropriate revisions.
  • Package files for the client and deliver.

Conclusion

Take pride in your work. Create a portfolio that you don’t mind showing off. Earn a decent living.

I can’t do any of these things as a designer if I am pounding out $5 logos factory-style. Design is a process that takes planning, collaboration and time. Hopefully it is something clients will understand. (And if they are happy with a $5 logo, maybe it is a job you were better off not taking in the first place.)

Freelancing 101 is an occasional series to help the increasing number of freelancers in the market. Whether you are a designer, writer, developer or wear multiple hats, we will share tips, resources and ideas to help you make the most of your small business. Is there something in particular you want to know? Let me know at [email protected].

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