The Real Cost of That Bargain Logo

Oh what a sweet deal! Someone has designed you a logo for $5–50. This is amazing! Well, that’s what you might initially think. As a designer, I’m willing to bet your final cost is much higher than $50 and it will come with an extended lifespan of frustration.

We currently live in world where you can get a logo for $5 if you choose to navigate the murky waters of a service like Or better yet, maybe your fellow colleague has a nephew who is “creative” that can whip something up for you for about as much as a high-five and some recognition after you assure him additional business from the exposure. Please don’t do this. I beg you.

What are you really paying for?

More often than not what comes along with that low, low price tag are all the designer’s mistakes. These designers are often inexperienced and only on the hunt to expand their portfolio. You’re paying for that designer to earn his or her stripes on your project as it’s their time to learn from mistakes. In most cases this means they aren’t as experienced as you might hope, resulting in a subpar final product. So, despite obtaining a smashing deal — it’s typically coupled with future frustrations once you realize you may not receive exactly what you’re looking for. A large focus for many of these $5.00 logo designers (one would assume) is quantity over quality which raises a variety of concerns. In the end many clients end up hiring a professional designer to fix what’s been done. I know this because I’ve heard the stories first hand when tasked with recreating an existing logo.

Before deciding, consider this…

Having worked in the creative industry as an art director/designer now for over a decade I’ll fill you in on the typical design process of a professional to better educate this cautionary warning.

Below are the typical phases of a logo design project:

  1. A Creative Brief: A questionnaire or interview with the client to get the creative details to better understand exactly what the goal of the project/logotype is.
  2. Research: A dive into the industry in question, its history, competitors, trends and exposure to all the creative items that have been done (to death). These common ideas are usually the go-to idea of an inexperienced designer. A rule of thumb I like to follow is; usually your first idea — is your worst idea (because it’s everybody’s first idea!)
  3. Sketching & Concept Creation: With the design brief, research and industry experience in mind, a designer will start sketching out ideas for personal use/reflection. Taking breaks to come back to ideas to see if they still have legs is a nice check to see if your mind is right and the idea is still sound.
  4. Presentation: A crucial point in the process at which time a designer rationalizes the decisions that have been made. Typically a designer will generate various lockups and mockups, helping paint a picture of what the logo could look like in the real world.

After reading this insight I think you would likely agree, it’s a large pill to swallow to believe a professional designer would do this for a mere $5.00.

Looking for a logo design?

I am standing by. Actually I’m sitting in my swivel chair. But in said state of swivel, myself along with the fine folks at Code + Mortar would love to team up and collaborate with you and your team on your next logo project. Check out some of my recent personal creative ventures or visit our company website to find out more. Or, if you’re ready to talk now, feel free to contact us. We love meeting new people.

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