Tuesday, March 19, 2013

This is my first blog post, and is about the hard working logo.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about logos. 

This became evident to me when viewing the phenomenon craigslist. While looking through craigslist my curiosity gets me to stray from searching the boats or trucks posts and I look under the art/media/design list even though I know this is not where my creative services client demographic is likely to be found. 

A logo request follows where the craigslist poster appears to be grossly unaware of what it really takes to author a professional logo graphic design: “Graphic designer needed for a fairly simple project. This project is not complex at all, just will require your expertise in illustrator. This is not for those who charge ridiculous hourly rates. Email back with your recent work and price for 3 logos ”. 

What this person posting may think is “quick” or “easy” is not always. On the bright side at least they have some good judgement and know they need help of a graphic designer. Regardless of what you read about the drawing software or see advertised it is not as simple as pushing a few buttons to create a logo or other design today. The truth is a quality logo takes just as much hard work today as it did 30 years ago before computer drawing tools became available.

It’s “easy” to use terms like “this project is not complex at all” and “simple” when referring to a logo a project, but you may not be aware of all of the “behind the scenes” work that takes place for a logo graphic design project to happen, unless or until you have gone through the process.

Finished logos, or stationery with logo may look simple, clean, and straightforward as finished products, but they took more than just two to three hours or even days to create. Great logo design is accomplished with superlative collaborative work, and by utilizing and building on the standard tried and true design process:

Discovery-Research and Planning

Strategy Development

Design Development


Keep in mind these four phases require asking and answering many questions, then discussions, brainstorming, lots of sketching, drafts, revisions. Good designers are equipped with the talent and skills to work quickly and efficiently, so that by showing a client thumbnails, roughs, and tight sketch they can get a client to a good logo solution pretty fast. That tight logo sketch or a finished logo may look simple and obvious to you, but it is never simple, it took a lot of hard work. An expertise with Adobe Illustrator is important, but has less to do with a good logo design then the collaborative work and the designer craft skill and talent authoring the logo.

The modern design studio is expensive to maintain even a one person business. Professional designers don’t use free fonts they purchase font licenses along with licenses for graphic arts software they use. This licensing protects both designer and client, this has a cost. Graphic design studio equipment has cost too, a basic Colorimeter to ensure color accuracy across equipment (monitor, scanner, camera) and media has starting cost  of $1,200.00. The basic Computer graphic design workstation starts about $3,500, a drawing tablet another $1,500.00, a high quality color printer for proofing starts at $1,300.00. These are only some of the expenses and these items are updated or replaced constantly. These kinds of things factor into the project cost.

Graphic artist profession take special knowledge and training. Most graphic designer have bachelor degrees, plus the continuing education cost during the rest of their career like any other professional. The graphic designer of today has graphic arts expertise along with technical expertise in information technology, computer systems, computer graphics applications, modern printing media, television, film, web, advertising and marketing communications, they are adept at multiple disciplines. Graphic artist provide highly skilled services and occupy a very special place in business and economy. Authoring intellectual property such as a logo has a real value. 

So what is a ridiculous hourly rate for a professional to create a logo? Well guess what purchasing creative services and intellectual property is not like shopping at Wallmart.

Take these ideas and realities into consideration the next time you’re thinking of putting together a budget and timeline for a logo project. Most people know that it requires time, effort and skill to turn nothing into something good.

1 comment:

  1. When people ask me how much I charge for a logo I always respond the my "Mom & Pop" project minimum is $1,200. Should the party in question want to delve further I express that it's a full rights buy out license for logo work, and that has a price tag. I then describe the minimal amount of work I'm willing to do for a logo, the meetings, the thumbnail, comps, tights, revisions, file formatting and all the other little things that take time to complete. If they still show interest I remind them that this in my rock bottom minimum and that if they are not a mom and pop, or want more than the minimum amount of work, the price is going to go up - substantially. And if they are still on the phone I discuss payment plan options.

    I find this to be the most direct and easy way to get rid of clients who are looking for the low price logos. It has also been the best way I've found to gaining a client, rather than gaining a one-time project.