How to price a logo design: free tools and tips from the pros

[This post was updated on July-29 after I got lots of feedback, with more tips. It’s now even more complete.]

So you were asked to give a price quote for producing a new logo, ah?

How hard can that be? you ask yourself.

I’ll just look it up on the internet, you think.

LOL.

Asking Google something like “how to price a logo design?” is like dealing with my soap-opera-addict-93-years-old-grandma after I turned her TV off and take away the remote.

It’s a “don’t try this at home” kind of experience.

I mean, many great posts were written on the subject, but most of them are more concerned with how to design a logo and not so much with the pricing part. So I decided to write my own guide for you, the designer who just wants to get this part over with and go look for cool logos to get inspired by.

I did it because I believe you should spend at least a few minutes on this. Otherwise, you won’t ask for enough money, and later on you’ll hate yourself for it. Also, you won’t know how to explain to your client why you’re asking for that amount of money, when they can simply go fetch a logo from Fiverr for $5.

You see, your client might not be able to tell the difference – it’s like someone who never ate a burger in their entire life. How would they tell the difference between a big-mac and a super-awesome high-class home-made burger?

Well, it’s your job to educate them about the logo design process, and to show them the difference between those burgers.

So here’s what I’ve done: I broke the process into the different milestones you need to take into account for your logo design work. In short, all the things you need a price for, and later on will be doing for real.

I also created a simple tool to help you with this: you can  now, but you better do that after you finish reading the post.

Ready to know how to price a logo design? Here goes.

#1 Creating a design brief 

Before you get started with creating the concept for the logo, you want to manage client expectations. You need to understand what it is exactly that they need the logo for.

What you’re going to be doing

You can do it through an interview in a meeting (or via email) or with a questionnaire you let them fill in. The more detailed answers you get, the better. You have to understand the client’s limitations, and be synced with them regarding what exactly you’re going to do for them.

Here are the questions you want to get answers for:

  1. What is the purpose of the logo, and where will it be presented/used?
  2. What exactly is the product/service that this business is providing?
  3. What is the company’s history?
  4. What is the deadline for the logo to be ready?
  5. Who’s the target audience?
  6. Who are your competitors?
  7. Are there any restrictions (e.g. PG-16 or NSFW)?
  8. How many revisions/concepts would the client want to see before they approve the logo – one? Three? More? *
  9. What formats are required? Print or digital? Note sizes and file formats too.

*You should suggest the number you think is the best, but it’s important that your client understands that the price changes with the number of revisions and/or concepts.

Here’s another tool I created for you. It’s an online questionnaire that you can copy, edit and use with your clients.

If you want to create your own copy – here’s the link for it. You’ll have to authorize my Google-script (no worries, I ain’t no hacker), and then you can add your own logo, change the questions and use it with your clients.

No copyrights needed – just use it. Your clients will admire your professionalism.

Once you get everything answered, you should create a design brief and present it to the client. You should never start working on the design before everything is clear. It will save tons of headache and work, mainly on your end.

How long it’s going to take

It doesn’t matter if it’s via email or in a personal meeting – this part takes time and you should charge for it. You will sometimes prefer to do this part before you close the deal, since only after getting those answers you could really know how to price this project. But even so, you still want to include these hours in the work total – just like any other work you’re doing for this client.

2-4 hours minimum.

Pro tip

Create a template of questions you can send the client, and reuse it for every client. Design it beautifully and add your brand logo. It will show the clients that they are working with a professional, and that they’re about to go through a real and deep process.

Pro tip #2

When you’re asking these questions, it’s a great opportunity for you to create yourself some more work. Sometimes your client doesn’t even know how much work they’re going to have and will need a designer for. For example – do they need a Facebook page? Who’s going to brand and design this page for them? Who’s going to design the business cards that the logo is going to appear on? And so on and so forth.

Once you spot something that’s missing, propose to your clients to do that for them.

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Ian Paget's Tip

'A bullet point list makes it easy for your client to skim through, which also allows them to assess the project and make any changes needed before you begin. This also acts as a tick-list you can follow whilst designing, and a reference point to refer back to when presenting designs.'

#2 Research – Study the business behind the logo

You might be creating a logo for an already-operating business, with clients and an existing brand. Or maybe you’ve been asked to create a logo for a whole new business that’s not open yet. Either way, you need to do some research to better understand what it is you’re designing a logo for.

What you’re going to be doing

If your client has an existing business, that means they might already have clients and branding. It could be professional branding they hired another designer or agency to do for them, or branding that was created by the sum of the interactions of this business’ product and clients. The brand might already have some history and style that your client will want to preserve.

If this is a business-to-be, however, research is even more essential. You really need to know what your client has in their head, what’s their visions and dreams are. They might not even know how to put it into words – maybe they need your help as a designer for that.

In this phase you’ll want to understand who the business’ clients are – existing or potential ones. What the interactions are between them and the business. What  style your client wants to convey.

You need to talk to your clients about that, but you shouldn’t assume they know all the answers. You should try and read about the business online, try to better understand the product they are selling – the business model behind it, and the culture around it. You should even try to talk to different workers at the business: they might get you more ideas and new angles.

You also need to know who their competitors are, and what the uniqueness of this specific business is. You need it in order to make sure you create a logo that stands out and emphasizes  the right thing.

Finally, you want to find references. Learn the current trends and styles that are related to this business and its product/service. Look at successful brands in this area and try to understand what works and what doesn’t with the logos they have.

How long it’s going to take

It’s hard to estimate or even limit research time. But remember, your client didn’t hire you for a full branding job (at least not yet), but for a logo design, and someone needs to pay for these hours of research, so be kind and limit yourself. With time you’ll know how to do this research faster and faster (and also charge more for it).

Minimum 4-8 hours.

Pro tip

Ask your client to send you references to other logos he or she likes, or to other businesses with logos they can connect to. It will save you some headache and help you get into their minds.

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Andrew Sabatier's Tip

'Explain that you should be employed to find a brand idea that will form the basis of all the company’s branding of which a logo should only be one expression, an idea that is likely to form the basis of a the brand’s overall approach.'

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Jacob Cass's Tip

'Before you design a logo, you must understand what a logo is, what it represents and what it is supposed to do. A logo is not just a mark – a logo reflects a business’s commercial brand via the use of shape, fonts, color, and / or images.'

#3 Creating the concept

In this stage you’re going to be creating concepts around what you’ve learned from the design brief and from the research.

What you’re going to be doing

You will probably have a few ideas you could already start sketching to see what works and what doesn’t. You want to have a few ideas, not just one, that you can test with someone you trust or with someone from the target audience if possible. Getting feedback takes time as well, don’t forget. At this point I wouldn’t show the client the sketches. Most clients don’t have the required imagination needed to see how your sketch can turn into a beautifully designed logo.

Most people can’t sit a million hours in a row sketching logos, so take into account that you’ll need some breaks – either to get inspired, or to procrastinate (how many cats can one person play with? You’ll find out soon enough) You can even see what other designers are doing right now, just try not to want to kill yourself when you see so many amazing things at once.

If you have 15 mins to spare, take a look at how Aaron Draplin is doing his logo sketching. It’ll make you wanna run and sketch at this very moment:

After you have a few versions you like, you need to dig deeper and think of the ways in which this logo is going to be used. On a website, business cards, FB page, etc. Some logos might look awesome on a square, but really bad when you need it in a landscape format. Your client might need both sizes so you need to think whether that’s going to work with your idea.

How long it’s going to take

How much time is needed for getting inspired and providing sketches? You know your way the best.

Remember to include time for testing the sketches, getting feedback, and client presentation.

Minimum 4-8 hours.

Pro tip

We’re in the internet era (thank god!) so you’re not stuck in the desert, and you have plenty of sources to steal, sorry – to get inspired by. You also have many other sources to help you with creating the logo in a methodical way. Here are just a few:

How NOT to design a logo

Top 10 Logo Design Inspiration Galleries

45 Rules of Creating A Great Logo Design

80 Beautiful Typefaces for Professional Design

Logo Design Tips

And if you’ve got all the time in the world to go and learn, here’s a bigger resource list:

The Ultimate List of Logo Design Resources by Just Creative Design

 

#4 Client presentation + revisions

Now you’re getting ready to create a few versions of the logo and show them to your client to get feedback. As a nuSchooler I must remind you that it is YOUR responsibility to explain and convince the client that what he or she sees fit their needs (assuming you’ve done your job right).

What you’re going to be doing

Choose one or two directions with your client, go back home, and start working on more revisions.

There are two ways you can proceed after the revisions are ready. You could do the whole presentation again, or just send your client the new versions in email. It all depends on how the first meeting went. If the client is already in love with one of your ideas (and you are too), then only small changes are needed, and no need for another big presentation again. But if they didn’t like any of your ideas, and you’re back to square one, then I suggest you create a whole new presentation from scratch, and pitch again.

How long it’s going to take

Depends on how many revisions you and your client have agreed on.

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Mike Monteiro's Tip

'The hardest part of design is presenting work. (...) And, no, this is not an additional skill. Presenting is a core design skill. (...) I’d rather have a good designer who can present well than a great designer who can’t.'

#5 Providing the logo

After you and your client have decided on the logo, you need to make sure you provide it in all needed formats, shapes and sizes.

What you’re going to be doing

Make sure you recheck with your client where they’re going to use this logo, and provide them with whatever they need – digital or printed.

Usually your clients don’t have a  clue what formats and shapes they need. All they know is to say: “I need it for my FB page” or “I want it to appear on the website both for desktop and mobile version” or “I need to put it on a green menu”, etc. So don’t be a dick, help them with this, but also remember that it takes extra time to figure out these things.

How long it’s going to take

2-4 hours minimum.

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Jessica Hische's Tip

'The clients will need the rights to the mark you create so that they can trademark it and use it on unlimited applications, so when pricing for a logo you should take that into account. In addition to a fair hourly rate, clients pay for the rights to use that logo in an unlimited capacity. Aside from giving away all the rights to your work for an additional (hopefully ginormous) fee, you can give them away for limited periods of time or for limited applications by licensing work to clients.'

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Brian Hoff's Tip

“Make certain to convert your in-color logos to both black and reversed-out so your clients logo can work in ANY situation. Trust me they will love you for this one! For the most part I will create a color, black and white version in each of the first 4 file formats.”

Let’s sum it up!

So this is the work you are going to do while working on your next logo. I hope it helps you estimate how many hours you need in order to finish this project, and just as important – it could help you explain to your client the work process you’re going through, and why you need more than $50 for this project.

Finally, here’s a tool I built that will help you sum up these hours:

Powered by Typeform

 

Phew, that was a long read, ah?

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Post by Lior Frenkel

Lior is the head of fun and CEO at The nuSchool. He is a mentor at the Designer's Pricing Class and the author of 'Pay Me.. Or Else!' He's also not a robot.

P.S. If you’re not sure how to ask your clients to pay you for this logo design – you can join hundreds of designers who already took our Pricing Class and learn how to charge premium rates.

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