Ask any number of graphic designers worth their salt about designing a brand identity and they’ll more than likely tell you the same thing.
It’s a lot of work.
The time taken to develop a logo can vary greatly from a few weeks to many months.
That includes in-depth research, sketching, refining and developing, client revisions, creating brand guidelines, etc.
Even a ‘quick’ logo design can take days for a designer to develop, which is why cheap logo design services are often the subject of ridicule by the professional design community.
But are professional designers missing a trick by instantly dismissing the clients who just want something cheap and cheerful?
Does every business need a professional logo?
From time to time I browse a few business forums, mainly looking for freelance job opportunities.
The subject of getting a logo designed repeatedly comes up, which often results in heated discussions between members.
On the one-hand are the graphic designers and others who argue valiantly that you should seek out a professional when it comes to branding your business.
On the other, those who see design perhaps as an unnecessary expense, who often recommend crowdsourcing contests, pre-designed stock logos, or DIY logo makers.
Naturally, I agree with the first group, being a graphic designer myself.
Yet I recently saw a reply from a someone who couldn’t believe designers would turn their noses up at such “easy money”.
They argued that not every business needs to spend hundreds or thousands on a brand identity, and designers should be happily offering budget alternatives to smaller businesses.
This got me wondering, are they right?
A self-employed gardener for example, who charges a few quid cash-in-hand to cut your lawn and relies on word of mouth and knocking on doors to drum up business, probably has no need for a logo, let alone a professionally designed one.
Ultimately their brand identity isn’t what’s selling their service, it’s their reputation and the fact that they’re simply ‘there’, offering work.
If someone comes to you wanting a logo with a budget of, let’s say, £70, should you ignore them, turn them away, or perhaps even lecture them about the value of graphic design?
Or is it worth swallowing your pride, spending an hour or two on a design, and taking their money?
Fluctuations in workload are common for freelancers, and in the end, a cheap logo is still a source of income.
But it’s not just about the money
As a self-employed graphic designer, you rely a lot on reputation and the quality of your work.
Whilst I’m sure I could come up with an expected logo that ‘fits’ a particular business in a reasonably short space of time, it surely wouldn’t be my best work.
I wouldn’t want to put my name to a rushed, unthought-out design.
And that’s exactly what it would be, because low budgets require a designer to work at great speed in order to turn a profit on their time.
If the client requires revisions to the design, that eats into your time.
Then there’s a percentage of the price to pay as income tax.
If the client drags the work out, you could quickly find yourself working at a loss.
Suddenly that £70 doesn’t seem worth it.
Should graphic designers offer budget logos?
Whilst I understand the argument for ‘cheap’ logos, I suspect the majority of professional designers feel the same way I do about being associated with such work.
Why should someone who normally charges anywhere from £25 to £50 per hour for their time, suddenly drop their rate to please one client who’s just looking for a cheap deal?
And cheap clients are notoriously hard to please.
Plus, value for money is subjective. One person may see £500 for a logo design as excellent value for money. Another may see £100 as way too much to pay.
If designers offered a budget logo design service that was still at a rate that made it worth their time, there would always be those who still see them as overpriced.
Frankly, I think if you’re going to offer a service, you should offer your best and target clients who want the best.