We can’t talk for every design agency / freelancer / designer / ‘friend who’s nifty with photoshop’, but this is a way of how to arrive at a logo cost. Let’s look at the time it takes from the moment you engage a designer until the end result of when you get the logo.
Where to begin? Well, from that first email enquiring about how much does a logo cost, these are certain to be some of the questions going around designer’s and agency’s brains:
- Do you want literally, just a logo?
- Just a logo and no other materials?
- A logo for a website?
- A logo and business card?
- A logo, business card and letterhead?
- Oh, maybe they mean an ‘identity’?
- Or perhaps a corporate identity?
- Hmmm, do they want a redesign of an existing corporate identity / brand with lots of internal research?
- Oh, maybe they are looking for a full ‘brand’ with logos, colours, typography guidelines, brand values, and a tagline
But, we’ve just got off the phone to you to find a little more information, and you are adamant you just want a logo for your brand new ‘thing’. Ok, that’s fine.
Let’s start the clock.
Prices aren’t made up, but an estimation of how much time goes into to creating a logo is required. Any reputable designer / design agency will never (hopefully) pick something straight off the shelf or from an online clipart catalogue, they will make it for you, and this takes time!
Estimates are based on experience with different sizes of companies and individuals and it’s usually quite apparent from initial conversations at how much time you are going to require. Every person / business / organisation is different: some people need continual communication, some need quick summaries, some want to be involved face-to-face at every step, some need to get critique and feedback from a committee.
All these scenarios are fine, but can effect time considerably.
A ‘GOOD’ SCENARIO
This is the cost for a logo allowing meeting time and 1 round of revisions to get it right, dealing with one person where everything is presented digitally and no travelling is expected!
- 30 mins – replying to email and asking a bit more info, and arranging meeting
- 1 hour – initial meeting
- 2 hours – research / inspiration / tea drinking
- 4 hours – initial scamp ideas / sketches
- 2 hours – application / refinement of ideas into a presentation document (its just a bit sloppy to send you a logo as a jpeg attachment)
- 1 hour – getting feedback, digesting, conjugation
- 2 hours – refinements to logo following feedback
- 1 hour – final logo presentation
- 1 hour – preparation of logo into all various formats (PDF, eps, jpeg rgb, jpeg cmyk, small jpeg/gif)
- 1 hours – additional correspondence time (phone / email)
total time: 15.5 hours
15.5 hours x hourly rate = your logo cost
And voila – you have the start of a logo cost equation.
Ok, in reality you may sometimes get the logo right first time, or you may find the client wants to meet at every iteration … but this is a good measure of time for the projects we’ve been involved in.
How much is an ‘hourly rate’
The hourly rate can be directly related or influenced by all or some of the following:
1. Time sensitivity – how quickly you need it
2. Professional status (graphics student, freelance, partnership, small agency, medium agency, large agency)
3. How the designer/agency is feeling that day
4. How much the designer/agency wants or needs your work
5. Size of design company
6. Desirability of agency/designer
7. Location (London WILL cost more than Cardiff and outsourcing to India will be cheaper than the UK)
In Cardiff, we know design agencies, freelancers and individuals who charge from £15 p.h. to £95 p.h. Some companies have fixed costs for logos and most people offer packages.
Licences are for TVs aren’t they?
Logos and licencing are a grey area, but very important in this ‘app frenzy’ marketplace where people are looking to buy / sell companies and create the next new awesome startup with a business plan of being bought by facebook. You need to ensure that you actually own what you sell!
Why? Well, alot of people don’t understand logos and licencing (designers and agencies included), seldom are they even thought about until its usually too late, and then they cause complications. If you want to own the copyright outright, make sure you specify this when engaging a designer.
Usually the cost of a logo is the cost for an ‘unlimited use’ – for you to use your logo however you want other than selling it. This is a standard copyright law, whereby the creator of the design has ownership.
It is important to understand that unless agreed otherwise, you do not own the copyright of the logo automatically, the designer/design agency does.
This is the same for much intellectual property-related material. If you want to own the copyright to the logo out-right, you will be more than likely quoted higher. Plus you need to make this clear when you commission a designer / agency.
Typically, to buy the copyright, it is 1.5 to 2 times higher than the standard cost. This will mean that you can then do whatever you want with the logo, including importantly, the sale of it.
In reality, all you can expect is a piece of paper signed by the agency / designer stating that they provide you will full copyright of the work.
This is just our understanding, and not providing irrevocable legal advice … if you do need to, get professional advice from a dedicated professional, or check the UK Government’s Intellectual Property Office website here.
But whatever you do, as a designer or as a person commissioning a designer/design agency – ensure you ask at the outset of a project so that you are clear. Do not leave until after the work is finished. This can make for a very unpleasant end to a project on both sides!
Lets do the maths
Yes, that’s right we’ve come up with an equation for how to calculate logo costs (or any design for that matter).
x(ab) + y = logo cost
a = time (hr)
b = price per hour (£)
x = co-efficient for copyright ownership
(by default this is 1 for unlimited licence, 1.5 for organisations/charities, 2 for companies / businesses, 3 – reserved for special cases)
y = additional costs (i.e. physical proofs if requested by client or additional rounds of proofing, travel costs if requested/specified)
Worked example 1: Standard licence, no additional costs:
[at £15ph] 1 x (15.5 x 15) + 0 = £232.50
[at £60ph] 1 x (15.5 x 60) + 0 = £930
[at £95ph] 1 x (15.5 x 95) + 0 = £1472.50
Worked example 2: Client wishing to buy copyright, no additional costs:
[at £15ph] 2 x (15.5 x 15) + 0 = £465
[at £60ph] 2 x (15.5 x 60) + 0 = £1860
[at £95ph] 2 x (15.5 x 95) + 0 = £2945
So your logo could cost anywhere between £230 and £1470 for an unlimited licence, and for you to own the copyright, somewhere between £460 and £2940. Keep in mind VAT at 20%.
Most agencies and designers will have packages for corporate identity. Typically these include business cards, letterhead, compliment slips, logo variations (black and white / colour). So be sure to ask early on as you may find that to get the whole package is just a few pounds / dollars / euros more than that of just a logo design alone.
Very few design firms will be comfortable to just design a logo, as the time considerations alone could make it uneconomical and as a result unattractive to enquirers. In addition, many agencies and designers know that a logo is just a very small part of your puzzle, and would probably be doing you a disservice by just providing ‘a logo’.
Final thoughts: When is just a logo not just a logo?
It has to be said, we very rarely design just logos.
‘WTF … you’ve just written this whole piece on the cost of a logo and you don’t even design them!!!!!!’
Yes, that is correct, well kinda. Usually what we ascertain early on is what you actually need. More often than not, you scarcely ever just need a logo. You require an identity, a corporate identity or a brand.
In brief, corporate identity is how your business visually looks/communicates across different media. This means that your website matches your business card, which matches your letterhead and compliment slip and maybe even your company van. It’s about creating a consistent communication medium. Same colours, typography, logo, etc. About half our logo-related our enquiries require this, (and the other half require branding). But we arrive at the costs in a similar way, but what you benefit from is that a very similar amount of research, design time is required compared to the base logo cost, you will only be paying an additional 5 – 10 hours.
Branding can be a different kettle of fish, yes it does involve a fair amount of corporate identity, but after a lot more research, concept and ‘voice’ considerations. A brand is not just about how a business looks, but how it communicates. From the way you answer the phone, the way you sign off your emails to how your website ‘speaks’ to visitors and the wording on your business card. Plus, re-branding an existing company can be quite a sizeable affair. Not only do you need to define the company, re-design the logo and develop a new tagline, but also then apply the new approach over all the existing internal and external marketing materials.
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