When starting a business, you know you need a logo. But most people wonder – how much does a logo cost? Or can’t I just create it on my own? I don’t have much money and can’t anyone put some type with some clip art?

Let’s first tackle the cost question. I read a great article “Company Logos for Less” the other day in Inc. magazine where a business owner evaluated 3 different logo websites that offer very cheap logo design (under $500). What type of work do you really end up with? Is it worth your time? The logo designs he was presented had a huge variety and while the end design looked ok, he didn’t really end up with a truly unique logo. As, Steven Heller, says  in the article “The one he chose is abstract enough that he can probably use it for anything. But a logo is supposed to be a mnemonic — something people will remember. Looking at these, there’s no sense of ‘aha!'”

Also, according to Inc., large agencies can charge between $25,000 – $50,000 for a logo design. Seriously? Yes, seriously. Did anyone fall off of their chair yet? Ok, get back up and read on. Let’s evaluate what an agency provides: They have a team of people doing market research, studying type, brainstorming and presenting logo design options. Is that a ridiculous amount for most small businesses and start-ups to fathom paying? Yes. Can you get a great design for much less? Definitely.

So, what if you went through a logo designer, such as myself? How much should a small business expect to pay for a great logo, that hits their target market and they love? Let’s first discuss what goes into the process of creating a logo. Is it just spending 30 minutes throwing a typeface with some clip art? Absolutely not. On average I spend at least 10-12 hours completing the following process:

1. Meeting with the client and having them answer around 20 questions about everything from color preference, target market, who are your competitors, etc.
2. Market Research: I look at your competitors logos, your target market and general logo research.
3. Brainstorming: Sketching and word association
4. Type study: I fill two 8.5 x 11 size documents with different type faces that might work.
5. Translate top sketches to computer in black and white artwork. Tip: If a logo doesn’t work in black and white, it won’t be dynamic in color.
6. Pair black and white artwork with typefaces.
7. Pick top 2-3
8. Add color
9. Present to client
10. Make any client requested modifications
11. Send the final files in a variety of file formats to the client.

So, after a designer puts in the time to do the above, I have found most designers I know charge between $1,000 – $3,000. Which in all honestly isn’t anywhere near an agency price, but you still end up with a professional logo that hits your target market. Specific pricing can depend on how many options you want (2 or 10?), your turnaround time (2 weeks or 1 day?) and how much experience a designer has (fresh out of school or +10 years experience?).

Want to know more about logo design? Read What makes a good logo? Or feel free to browse my logo design portfolio.