Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Explaining Logo Design Costs


Explaining Logo Design Budgets to Clients

The question I’m most asked? “How much will it cost me for you to design me a logo?”, and that’s often bluntly asked in the first line of a one line only email.

Sometimes I do get people calling me up for a chat which ends up them asking me how much I charge for a logo design. Due to the way I work it’s rarely as simple as just giving someone an accurate fixed price, especially if I have little, or no, idea about what I am supposed to be designing a logo for.

The usual scenario that unrolls once I am asked that question, “How much do you charge for a logo design?”, is that I first ask them to take a look and consider filling in my online design brief form that enables the all important brief to be formed as well suggesting they browse my logo design price guide. Although these are guides, they do provide quite a good overall idea of how much it may cost to work with me, and may be the moment they realise I’m somewhat too expensive etc.

Oftentimes I do end up talking to a potential client on the phone whom expresses a clear motivation in wanting to hire the ‘right person’ for their logo design, as well as being aware of the possible costs involved, but they need some ‘help’ getting their head around the prices that they have seen on my price page.

I nearly always end up putting that question of “how much?” back to the client because I feel it’s important that a potential logo design budget is something the client needs to work out for themselves. The way I explain this is as follows.


Analogies

I worked up a few analogies that I feel explain the importance of charging the right amount for a logo design, whilst also explaining the motivation, justification and reasoning behind the ‘why’ as well as the importance of a client understanding exactly what they are supposedly spending all this money on.
We are accustomed to spending money, without thinking about it, on things, like: iPhone apps, coffee and cake, clothes, gadgets and we often do so without regard. Yet the the moment we need to buy something really expensive and important, something that is not as easily “blindly justified”: a need rather than a want, we have to sit down and take stock of a few things which usually means regretting all those app’s we have bought recently, any cool mid price gadgets £250-£500, and other non crucial 1st world desirable item that has mysteriously eaten into our savings at the expense of putting more cash into our pension.
I like to think that my analogies help to provide the client with a real world comparison that allows them to view the idea of a logo design budget as something that is important, valid and worthwhile.
An ‘expense’ that they could be ‘almost’ excited about, not viewing it as a burdening drain on their cashflow much like we might do with: car insurance, car repairs, household utility bills, house repairs and other unexpected yet expensive drains on ones finances.

How it Works

Once I am asked the question of how much a logo design will cost, and I have bounced it right back to them, I will then follow up with a few nuggets of wisdom. It’s all about providing the context, some much needed real world comparisons that makes the digestion of having to work out a budget a little easier to make, as well as justify.
I’ll typically start by explaining: “As with many things in life we often have to sit down and work out how much we want to spend, or can spend, or have to spend on something really important.”
Then I’ll hit them with my analogies. 
Analogy One: You are saving up for a much need holiday, one that will definately break the bank, one that is needed due to your constant hard work over the years. You’ll have a pretty good idea about: how much is too much, and how much is not enough as you go through all your other expenses and outgoings.
This holiday is really important to you, so you make a determined effort to try and afford the best you can, whilst not totally breaking the bank. You’ll quickly have a figure in your head that may need some justification on your behalf, but ultimately you know that it will be worth the investment and drain on your bank balance.
That budget, although definitely steep, is still one you are ‘mostly’ happy and excited about spending given the positive effects it will have on you, or just worry about the financial fall-out when you get back. The holiday blues is no real mystery in most cases.
Analogy Two: Your car of 7 years, that has served you well, finally gets to a point where it’s no longer financially viable to fix all those MOT failures, even though it may still have years left in her could you indefinitely throw money at her.
So the time comes where you have to sit down and think about a new car budget. It’s going to be steep, but you’ll instinctively have a good idea about how far you can stretch yourself with this expensive, yet perfectly justifiable replacement.
Assuming you don’t go crazy stupid on some loan, or other form of credit, you’ll likely buy yourself a car that, whilst hurting your bank account, will provide you with many more years of happy motoring.
A car is typically expensive, yet it still creates that passion and excitement that can help numb that can financial sting.
Analogy Three: Your one bedroom studio loft has served you well over the years, but now you have gotten your girlfriend pregnant you’ll need to expand your living quarters considerably!
As with Analogy One & Two, once you have crunched all the numbers, added your joint salaries, minused the outgoing and baby orientated expenses, you’ll come to budget that will, hopefully, provide you with an adequately sized family house for 3+.
Clearly, buying a house, is no where near the same league as a holiday or buying a car, but the overall emotions are similar in that you are looking to spend the most you will ever spend, yet still be excited/nervous about doing so.

Investment vs Burdensome Cost

I chose these analogies because they demonstrate that not all things we choose, or need, to spend our money on will be easy decisions to make. We do so because we ultimately know that the longer term advantages are clear, and this provides the much needed sense of justification and rationalisation that can otherwise drown us in guilt, cause significant doubt, if we have not done an adequate job of analysing all the pro’s and con’s.
A logo and identity design, at least for many clients that I work with, could well be for some new business/product/service in the pipeline. This client has clearly had to make a number of important strategic decisions to even get this far, not to mention the personal and emotional cost that starting a new business can have on you.
They’ll likely be throwing every single ounce of personal energy and motivation, all their collective focus, energy, faith, eggs into one basket, into this ‘thing’, that is ultimately designed to earn themselves an income.

An income provides us with the opportunity to buy that much needed holiday, that new car or family home. A new logo and identity design is something that deserves to be regarded as an investment into the success of your future, rather than a drain on your wallet.
Yet, and very unfortunately, the logo and identity is often the last thing to be considered. This is not always a massive practical problem for a designer, but it invariably ends up being a financial problem for the client due to dwindling financial resources. Then it comes down to finding a logo designer who’s logo design prices meet with the clients expectations, and this is when the fun can start.
Sitting down and thinking about how important and valuable a new logo and/or brand identity will be to you is not so dissimilar to the analogies above, and in many cases deserves, maybe, more priority than: a 2nd car, or that 3rd holiday this year to Aspen.

I really do find that explaining that a logo design budget being viewed as being a worthwhile investment, rather than a burdensome cost, can to some clients, make the difference to how they approach the sticky issue of: how much to spend on a logo design.
As a designer, it’s not just about having to sell yourself, you also need to be able to sell the end result, the promise and excitement of a logo along with the cost involved to someone who will placing a heck of a lot of trust in you.
A car they can see, a holiday they can imagine, a house they can also see, but a logo design? They only have your portfolio which is of things past. Just something to keep in mind.

Related posts:
  1. Logo Design Hangout – Consultation For Clients & Designers
  2. More on client logo design pricing and deposits
  3. Insert a Logo Design into a QR Code

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