Sunday, March 3, 2013

How Much for a Logo?

Tiffany posted a question on LinkedIn Group recently. How much do freelancers usually charge for a logo? The question triggered a lot of answers that were really more like guidelines than definitive rules. Unfortunately, the value of design can often be determined by what the market will bare.   

David Ogilvy did NOT say, it’s not creative unless it sells. The mantra actually originated with Benton & Bowles in the 1970s, but David Ogilvy, however, frequently quoted (or misquoted it as) if it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative. Either way, it is unfortunate to suggest design doesn’t have value unless someone is willing to pay for it. Some of the answers to Tiffany’s question seem to point to a pretty good range of challenges designers face, especially freelancers. Highlights of some of responses to Tiffany are offered here:  
A few factors used to determine a price: How easy or difficult is the client?  Is it a rushed job? or  Expected difficulty of project? Not every designer will be charging the same. Other factors: your experience level, your costs, your expertise, possibly your location, and most of all your ability.
This is a challenge for designers at every level. Look for the Graphic Artists Guild Ethical Pricing Guide, an invaluable tool. I wouldn't base identity design solely on time. The value of an identity should largely be based on the size of the organization and audience it will reach. Unlike other areas of design, identity includes a transfer of copyright which has value. As a baseline hourly rate, determine what you want to make annually and divide that by 2000 to determine your hourly rate.
A project retail price range depending on client budget, how many comps, how many versions of logo, etc. If Joe Blow wants a logo for his new bagel shop that's a lower rate. If a corporate entity wants a new logo, that's something entirely different. Also depends on where you're located. I'm just outside NYC where the rates are probably a little higher than say Oklahoma City. Generally speaking, if I retail a logo for $550, I will pay my freelancer $250-$350 depending on the number of comps. Some clients want 2-4 original comps. Then they pick the look they like and I do 2-4 variations of that. Then we nail it.

An hourly rate for design can be problematic. You develop a good feel for how long it will take and how much it should cost to do a given project. A good designer with specific instructions and sample logos as a guide can do a logo in 2-6 hours.
If you sell logos for $100 you will never be able to demand $500 somewhere down the line.  The design part of your job is 50%, the other more important 50% is being able to sell value.
If you are currently working as a freelance designer I would highly suggest becoming a member of AIGA. It is very affordable and would provide you with the information you need to be competitive.

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