Style guide for whimsical and fanciful illustrated stationers, Serious Creatures. Brand refresh and website design through my friends at Aeolidia.
Here’s an area where graphic designers vary widely, so today I’m taking a few minutes to explain how I price out logos and branding projects. Because in the last 10 days or so I’ve seen several requests for an upfront reveal for a logo price, without much else to go on. Here’s why this is problematic, and why I choose to work differently.
A logo is never really just a logo, it has to go on something, live somewhere, there’s a context behind it and this all must make sense in order for the system to work the best. It’s not just a single .jpg that I send for you to tack onto a flyer (if that’s what you want, there’s always 99designs.com). Often when interviewing potential clients, it comes up that they actually need more than just the mark, or there’s something else I notice and suggest including in the process that they might not have considered yet.
It’s about understanding the future goals of the organization and how the brand and eventual logo fits into that. It takes a bit of time and thoughtful handling to do well. Even brand-new baby businesses who might not be able to afford a website, or anything more intricate beyond a business card, need to tackle this question at some point. Though ideally, a client is able to afford at least one piece of communication to go along with the logo though because it’s more cost effective for us both if there’s more for me to work on. You get a better end result for your money that way. But, since every business will vary in what they physically need for their brand, often quite literally by dozens and dozens of files, there’s no way to predict ahead of time how to price this out.
In terms of process, some people are able to give the reigns over to me entirely, allowing my experience and vision to steer the process, and some people want or need to be highly involved, and those come with different price points. The more people involved in the process affects the price as well, because the more feedback there is to parse, the more and longer the revisions take. It takes a few minutes of discussion to suss this out, and a good client knows what sort of involvement they require. Most of my clients are too busy focusing on the daily grind of what they do though, and their lives, to center that entirely on what I’m doing, and I like it that way. Clients hire me for a reason, to lighten their load. I don’t expect them to get as granular on my work because that’s why I’m doing it, not them.
Timeline also affect price too. I avoid working with rush fees if possible, because I believe it often sets a bad tone for the project and that’s complicating. Often I will pass on a project if I deem it too much to work into my schedule, but on the rare occasion the opportunity is too good to pass up. Even then it has to be a particularly good profit margin and with flexible enough timing that it’s not going to add unnecessary stress and pressure. And, everyone’s interpretation of a reasonable timeline will fluctuate too which also takes another question to discuss before developing the price.
I completely understand why other pursuits come with flat fess, photographers often work this way for example. Say under a day rate, or charging a flat fee for an event like a wedding. I’ve tried to develop packages similar to this, but have never found it successful. Either I’ve wondered about money left on the table which I should’ve negotiated for, or a new factor comes up after the fact that complicates things and cuts into my profit margin unexpectedly.
There are graphic designers out there who do offer flat rates though, and graphic designers who’re also just happy to have the project for any budget at all. But in my view, these often comes from a place of insecurity or inexperience, or an unwillingness to look more critically at what the business’ additional needs might be. And as a client, you won’t have any way of distinguishing this, so that’s why this post will be helpful in clarifying the thought that goes into planning a project before it even starts. And knowing this can help you make more informed decisions about your business and who is the right person for you to work with to create your logo.
Hopefully, it’s me! 😀 If so, you can reach me here to set up a chat.
Leave a Reply