You have a new business – congratulations! Now you need a logo to become part of your company brand. You’ll use it on your website, business cards, invoices, brochures, t-shirts, advertisements, letterhead and more.
So what makes a good logo, and how do you get one? And how much is it going to cost? These are important questions most small business owners ask.
There are a number of great articles from marketing analysts, design gurus, and business advisors out there that you can reference, but here are some basic ideas you can count on. Logo design typically falls into three major categories: big agencies, impersonal budget options, and independent professional logo designers.
According to Inc. Magazine, at a big agency you might spend $25,000 – $50,000 or more on logo design. (It’s ok – I’ll wait while you get up off the floor.) What do you get for that price tag? Teams of people doing market research, design analysis, focus groups, beta tests, brainstorming sessions and a lot of design time working on scores of logo ideas. Will you get a great logo? Yes. Is that a realistic cost for start-ups and small businesses to pay? No. Can you get a great logo design for less? Yes.
But how much less? If you go all the way to the other end of the spectrum, you have people with varying degrees of experience and skill that you may never communicate with beyond filling out a form with your company name and a few colors you like who will put together a fast one size fits all design for a low price (less than $500.) They promise it fast so they can finish with you fast and work on the next one – volume turnover is key to their business model rather than personal attention to your brand or your market. Are you getting a great logo? Doubtful. But it might be passable.
What about an independent professional logo designer? I fall in this category. What can a small business expect to pay for a logo that they will love, designed specifically for them and to appeal to their target market? What kind of time and effort goes into logo design in this category?
I spend an average of 12 hours of professional design time working on these 10 Steps to Create a Unique Logo:
Initial client meeting to gather as much information as I can including a basic understanding of your business, the competition, your target market, colors you like and more.
Research into your market: what are your competitors doing with logos, what else relates to your industry and target market that I should consider in the design and impact of a logo for you?
Brainstorming: lots of free sketching, word association listing, and other creative techniques.
Studying Type: I fill several pages with different typefaces that might work for your logo.
Translate the top sketches to a computer design program in black and white artwork. I always start with black and white, because every logo should work and have impact that way. If it can’t manage it in b&w, it won’t be dynamic in color and the design is flawed.
Select the top 5 logo designs I have created.
Add color to each one.
I present them to my client and discuss each one.
Modify the winning design based on client requests & feedback.
Deliver the final design to the client in a variety of file formats – this is important because you need different formats based on the logo use and size.
In surveying other designers with a similar number of design hours and steps in logo creation, the average cost is $1,000 – $3,000, depending on how many logo choices are offered, years of experience, and turnaround time. That’s worlds away from the big agency fees but you still get a professional logo with thoughtful purpose to the design targeting your specific market.
A good logo furthers your brand, targets your market and creates a memorable feeling. Here’s the bottom line: you only get one shot at a first impression. When you make an investment in your brand image with a logo, the quality says a lot about your company and how serious you are about being in business. What is that worth to you?
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