The cost of logo design

logo design cost

“How much does a logo design cost?” is a question many clients ask and every designer has heard. Obviously the answer can vary greatly depending on the your needs and expectations.

An individual or small business can usually get away with spending under $1,000 developing their brand identity, or spend a few thousand for something more comprehensive/complex. A medium to large business might break into the tens of thousands while a multinational brand can easily spend upward of $100,000 developing their branding.

Below are a handful of logos and the development costs of each, these figures are more just for points of interest rather than a buyers guide, obviously your needs and budget will determine the cost of your particular project, be it higher or lower than these examples.

andrew keir
Starting with my personal logo design. Obviously I didn’t pay myself to do this, but a lot of time and effort went into getting the design right.

All things considered I expect the development to be worth around $2,000 of time and effort for the logo and accompanying stationery. Business cards, letterhead, envelopes etc. This is, in my opinion, around the mid range of what an individual such as myself or a small business might spend to develop their branding.

east lindsey
East Lindsey District Council, $16,000. ( It’s not a great design I know, just focus on the price point. )

university of southampton
The University of Southampton, $590,000. No wonder getting an education is so expensive.

Once you reach this point you’ll inevitably find people saying “wow! half a million dollars for a logo!” All manner of “designers” also come out of the woodwork saying they could have delivered the same result for a mere $50.00.

The reality of course, is that the final mark didn’t cost half a million dollars, the months of research and development did. While this is a serious amount of money to be sure, if a company is netting tens, hundreds of million or possibly billions of dollars a year, spending half a million to get your branding right suddenly isn’t so much.

2012 olympics
The London 2012 Olympic Games, $660,000, which despite being a fairly horrible logo seems about on par price wise, for an international event of this scale.

The latest in a long line of Pepsi rebrands, $1 million. Their total roll out of the new brand apparently costing $300 million.

Edinburgh, $1.65 million.

The current Starz logo mark and accompanying campaign supposedly totalled around $25 million.

Finally Posten’s recent rebranding, weighing in at a whopping $55 million dollars. This obviously includes roll out costs, but what a bill for a Government postal service.

Don’t have a design for your business yet?

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8 thoughts on “The cost of logo design”

  1. At least there’s one good aspect of being a designer, you can design your own and it costs nothing but time!

    I think Pepsi have got it all wrong, though. Their rebrand is terrible.

  2. The downside is you have eternity to obsess over it and think of everything else you could have done, he he.

  3. I think the Starz logo is great! I’m still shocked at the cost of some re-brands or new branding, especially when the result can sometimes be terrible.

    Do you think that sometimes with large agencies having so many people involved in the project can really kill it?

  4. David,
    I have a theory about that…

    I was joking with Andrew Kelsall earlier that agencies like Wolff Olins ( Responsible for the latest Pepsi logo, as well as the 2012 Olympics and Wacom logos ) are so successful and bored that they have inter-office bets as to who can sell the most ridiculous logo for the most money.

    That’s my theory anyways. ;)

  5. Hi Andrew,

    I have been reading several of your blog posts over the last couple of days and I wanted to tell you that I have really enjoyed them. I bookmarked this post in particular because I think that lay people should see these prices. There are so many ways to get fast and cheap logos now that people seem to expect 2-days turnaround time and a $99 invoice. I could probably give a client something in just two days, but will it be a high quality design? Will it be the best graphic representation of their business? No, and I don’t like giving clients a product that I am not proud of (I’m sure most designers feel the same). Good design takes time.

    So, my question to you is: what do you typically tell your clients regarding timeframe? I know that every project is different, but if you were to estimate time for a small to medium size identity project, would you tell the client to expect something in weeks? Or months? The logos in this post were likely created after months of work, but non-corporate clients don’t seem willing to wait that long. If I tell a client I need a few weeks to turnaround a project, about 2/3 of the time I hear “a few WEEKS? I don’t think you understand the scope of this project.” Am I slow? Or are some people impatient?

    Thanks so much for reading. I know I wrote a lot.


  6. Hi Chantie,

    Time obviously varies depending on the project but as an example, for an individual or small business spending under $1,000 and receiving a logo and business card design, I quote two weeks as a “typical” project.

    Obviously for larger scope projects where the client is spending more for development or needs more deliverables, like an identity standards and usage manual, I quote longer.

    In my experience, for the example design project above, 2 weeks allows enough time for proper development, presentation, feedback, a couple of revisions if needed, and for everybody to tend to the rest of their daily duties. Both you and your clients will obviously have other things to do during this time. You’re not sitting there twiddling your thumbs waiting for a job to come in, and you can be sure the client isn’t either.

    In regards to your comment “a few WEEKS? I don’t think you understand the scope of this project“, my initial reaction is that they themselves understand the scope of the project.

    Having not dealt with any of the people you’re referring to I’m obviously making a few assumptions here, but I suspect one or more of the following will be true in most cases:

    A) They have no real interest in getting the work done; I think some people view branding/logo design/stationery etc. as just another setup cost, the same as buying printer toner or office chairs. They know they need something but just want to pick something up and cross it off their ‘to-do’ list. They don’t actually see any value in it.

    B) The business isn’t actually ready yet; I get plenty of emails from people along the lines of “I’m starting a [type of] business and need a logo” and give barely any other information.

    Often they don’t have a brand name chosen yet, they’re still working on the business model and determining if it’s a sound idea and in most cases (not all obviously, this is just in my experience) it’s a half baked venture which they aren’t going to complete.

    C) They’re looking for Champagne design on a beer budget; Pretty self explanatory… People see the good work of a professional designer and the cheap price tag of design contest/stock logo image site (but don’t like the work) and think they can get real work for that price.

    Obviously I don’t need to tell you that this can’t work, you’re not going to do 10, 20, 30, 40+ hours of work and match a $99 stock image site, are you…

    My advice would be to work out a process of qualifying potential clients to separate the good from the bad. A few things I do are:

    1) For emails where people submit barely any information, I refer them to my branding/logo design brief submission page. If I never hear back from them (and I don’t in 90% of the cases mentioned in example “B” above, then that’s the end of it.

    If they come back with some proper information and show they’re serious about the design work, then I give them the attention they deserve.

    2) A phone call does wonders. Similar to the above point, I find that when I ask to schedule a time for a telephone meeting with someone, if they’re serious about the project they’re eager to speak with me. If they’re not, they typically don’t respond.

    3) One thing I bring up early when potentially having a face-to-face meeting with a client, is that I don’t do free pitching/speculative work. Having a 5 or 10 minute conversation with someone over the phone obviously isn’t going to ruin you if it doesn’t go anywhere, but there is the potential to waste hours when going to meetings with unreasonable potential clients.

    One of the earliest meetings I had ended with the client saying he’d had some of his best results from design contest sites, before asking me to “just” design 1 logo and 2 websites to see how things go. I declined of course, but wasted half the day in the process. I only ever made that mistake once.

    In a nutshell, I think the things to remember are these:

    1) There is a saying that goes something along the lines of “1% of your customers give you 99% of your problems”. The people asking for 1 day turnarounds with $99 budgets are these people. You don’t want to work with them.

    2) Proper businesses don’t do their work for free, and they don’t expect it of others either. They make educated decisions about the service providers they hire and are willing to spend money in order to receive a service and/or product of proportional value. These are the clients you do want.

    3) The hours you spend chasing, haggling and catering to the whims of difficult clients is time you could be spending finding and working with great clients.

    Obviously you’ll need to find the right balance and process that works for you, but hopefully that’s been of some help?

  7. Helpful indeed! This is my first year of owning my own business, so your wisdom is very useful– and appreciated.

    Fortunately, I have never designed a logo for a client who believed in the crazy, 2 day, slave wage method of logo design. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been asked to. Eventually those people probably did go to the internet for their unbeatably affordable logo.

    I do need to work on my phone skills. I prefer email, so I tend to put-off contacting people who want me to call on the phone. I would be a better businessperson if I called people back right away.

    Thanks for the advice!

  8. Hi Chantie,

    Personally I think the phone call is a must. As a perfect example, I’ve just started work with a new client a few days ago who told me that although I didn’t quote her the cheapest price, she felt my response was the best and I had given her the most attention in a timely manner.

    She was still waiting for replies to emails from other designers, and in the mean time I’ve spoken with her twice on the phone and closed the deal. If the designers who had quoted her less had beaten me to the phone call, they could have received the project instead of me.

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