Just like logos themselves, logo design services come in all shapes and sizes.
When presented with like-for-like logo design quotes, even incredibly similar companies might approach your project with a totally different outlook. Processes and standards of quality can differ wildly between different service providers too – so just how do you compare different providers?
Your logo is one of the most visible assets your business will ever own, so it’s important to invest well and choose a designer wisely. Your logo is the most hardworking part of your brand – the core of your business’s whole visual identity. Yet price is often the deciding factor when choosing between two logo design providers, as opposed to the quality of the finished product or the value received.
Why spend more on a logo?
Logos are incredibly important in business. Your logo goes wherever your business goes, acting as a beacon for your brand and portraying your whole company persona without speaking a word. Think of all of the places it’s currently used (or where you’re hoping it will be published in future). This might include your website, business cards, email signatures, social media profiles, vehicle livery, clothing/uniform, store fronts, packaging, products, and probably a lot more.
Your logo is the beating heart of your entire brand identity. When you choose your logo designer on price alone, it’s likely that your business will not be presented as well as it possibly can. Your company may therefore be perceived as having a lower value within your marketplace.
But when you invest more, you’re not just paying for a “pretty picture” on a screen or piece of paper. You’re paying for an experienced designer to carefully consider your entire business, its audiences, and its competitors; someone who will meticulously craft a robust, memorable, well-thought out brand asset, with long-term value.
And when you work with the right people, they will also be able to help craft a recognisable, consistent brand identity that includes colour palettes, design elements, typefaces, tone of voice, and so much more.
Logo Design Service Providers: The Contenders
But before we take a look at how quality designers generally approach a logo design project, let’s take a look at three categories of logo provider:
Full-service design and marketing agencies generally have a reputation as the most expensive option, but this isn’t always the case. However, any extra spend may well be worth it – you’re paying for a whole team to bounce ideas around – people with a wide variety of experience and viewpoints. Agencies are strongly dependent on retaining business and maintaining a good reputation, so they’re likely to bend over backwarads to achieve a worthwhile outcome for clients.
When you choose to work with a freelancer, they may well be just as experienced and qualified as an agency professional, but they are essentially a one-person operation. Therefore, you only have access to one designer’s point of view, approach, design style, and technical know-how. When you work with an agency, chances are there are more creative minds working on your project – a wider pool of expertise. Also, because the freelancer only has one pair of hands, your project may take longer to provide the same level of service as an agency and they may not be able to offer the same breadth of service as a full-service agency. But regardless, in terms of providing a good service, freelancers are in a similar position to agencies. Retaining clients means a lot to freelancers, so they’re invested in achieving a good outcome. Freelancers can be slightly cheaper than agencies, although pricing (and indeed quality) does vary rather wildly.
Inexpensive offshore vendors are usually the cheapest option on the market by far, whether you approach them directly or through job sites like Fiverr or 99 Designs. Because their design work is so cheap, they most likely have to churn out lots of designs in a short time in order to turn a profit, meaning there isn’t a lot of time to be creative or indeed get a full understanding of your business, and its wider marketplace. They may even use readily available online templates, and the finished product is unlikely to be anywhere near as unique or well-crafted as the other providers discussed here. Therefore corners may be cut and the quality of the finished product may suffer. These companies generally operate on volume (being the cheapest on the market and all) so you may experience varying levels of aftercare and support.
What should the logo design process look like?
So how do reputable designers approach logo design? In our opinion, designers worth the investment generally follow a process like this:
- Research – They establish a clear understanding of the organisation the logo will represent; researching target audiences, demographics, and competitors.
- Inspiration – They draw inspiration from various sources, collating these ideas into style-boards that can help the designer explore colour schemes, typefaces, and visual styles.
- Conceptualisation – Then they’ll sketch ideas and experiment with the brand’s visual appearance, eventually uncovering the best possible ways to communicate the brand’s identity.
- Development – Of these draft ideas, a minimum of three key themes should emerge. Any favoured sketches will be digitised as vector graphics in colour.
- Presentation – They’ll collate these design concepts ready for client review and demonstrate them with a range of backgrounds and colour schemes ready for feedback.
- Feedback – These ideas will be presented to the client for their consideration. The designer may also provide an explanation for the concepts if necessary, with a view to receiving the client’s feedback. If the client favours a particular design, the designer will move to refine the designs, otherwise more ideas will be drafted.
- Refine – They refine the selected design concept in line with the client’s feedback. The project then bounces between steps 6 and 7 until both designer and client are pleased with the final concept. This is generally capped at three rounds of amends for fixed quote projects.
- Completion – The final logo design will then be exported in a range of formats and often presented as “logo pack” for future use by the client.
This is the process we typically take here at OLCO Design. As you can see, this is a lot more work than the $5-30 that you can technically purchase a logo for online. We estimate that when the above process is followed thoroughly, it takes more than 2 days of work on average. So naturally, you’d struggle to find a provider who follows this process who charges less than £240 (unless they’re happy working for £15 an hour)!
Our advice for those looking for a new logo is simple: don’t shop on price alone!
We all want to save money and do what feels right for our business financially and professionally. If a cheaper option is absolutely all you can afford in the here and now, then go right ahead.
But the more you spend on your logo (and indeed other aspects of your brand identity) the more time and energy your designer will be able to devote to your project; this includes research, development, and above all, creativity. When you invest heavily in your brand’s visual identity, your business boosts its chances of becoming trusted, valued, and above all, recognisable – all qualities are essential for long-term business success.
Let’s look at the issue of price a different way. If you find yourself automatically favouring the lowest bidder when you can realistically invest more, consider the saying, “a stitch in time saves nine”. When you invest in a professionally designed logo as soon as you’re able, it’s likely to pay dividends for years to come. However if you choose a cheaper option, the design may age quicker (or be too similar to an existing mark) and need replacing a few short years down the line.
Now consider another well-known idiom – “you get what you pay for”. This is especially true with logo design. Your logo is going to be front and centre everywhere your business is visible – both now and into the future. Is the $5 logo you bought from an offshore provider really something you’re going to be proud of in five years’ time?
Only you know what move is right for your business. But as you search for your perfect logo designer, we’ll leave you with one last old business adage – “Good, cheap, and fast. You can only pick two”. Frankly, we’d take that one step further – “Good or cheap. Pick one.”