Really? But i can get a logo for £5 on Fiverr.
Tempted to go low with your logo? A cheap logo could cost more than you think.
What is a logo?
A swoosh. Golden arches. A half-eaten apple.
Simple. Memorable. Iconic.
A company logo is a quick way to make a good first impression and stamp your brand’s presence indelibly in the mind of your customer. Recognisable and familiar, a logo is an important feature when making your business stand out from the crowd, and is a concise and effective way to represent the unique qualities of your brand.
Ooh that sounds great. I want one. So, can I get a big brand iconic logo for £5?
You can get a logo for £5, yes. Did Apple pay £5 for theirs? I don’t think so. Will it be iconic? I highly doubt it.
The thing with a logo is, is that they often don’t appear to reflect the amount of work and research that goes into them. In fact, it is often the simplest designs that have the greatest complexity underlying them. And, work and research mean time.
OK. So, how much does a logo cost then?
Now this is where it gets a little tricky. The cost of the logo tends to be reflective of the design process behind it, and it all starts with a brief….
Discovery: A discovery session will take place with the client to determine their challenges and needs to gather all the details necessary to plan and prepare for a logo design to match the overall brand message and aesthetic of the business. This can also include a questionnaire, to clarify objectives and agree preliminary features which is then put into a design brief or proposal.
Research: A good graphic designer will carry out research next. Exploring the industry, its history, and its competitors. The research gets a little more in depth with the identification of logo designs that have proved to be successful, those that have flopped, and how current styles and trends could be incorporated into the original design brief.
Development: Finally, pencil is put to paper (or pixel to digital canvas) and an initial sketch is created to help conceptualise the logo in its earliest form using the creativity and know of an experienced designer. The logo is refined and then trialled through a series of mockups to reflect how it will translate to a variety of branded materials.
Presentation: The logo is then polished further and prepared for a presentation to the client, to explain the big meaning behind the little logo in front of them.
Revisions: If the client comes back with any amendments, the designer will make the necessary tweaks and changes and present to the client again for approval.
The finished logo is then transferred into the correct file types, jpeg, png, eps, pdf etc so that the client can use the design easily.
So, hopefully you can see why a good logo will cost you more that £5…
But I don’t have a big budget. S’pose I only paid £5 for a logo, what can I expect?
£5 logo offers are out there, tempting individuals and small businesses with small budgets by promising them a professional looking logo at a rock bottom price. Some freelancing websites even promise a finished logo design within just a few hours….so where’s the catch?
With a cheap logo you might encounter the following problems:
Quality: Cheap logos are more often than not poor quality, sometimes consisting of pixelated images. £5 logos are most likely to be poorly designed, cut and paste jobs with little to no regard for kerning or layout leaving your logo looking sad and unprofessional. There’s no room for cheap and cheerful in logo land.
An imitation: Eeeek. This could get awkward. If you do take delivery of a polished looking logo, proceed with caution. It could be an imposter. With a cheap logo design you run the risk of passing off a replica of an existing company’s logo as your own.
Stock-photos: Sadly, in some cases trusting people in search of a bargain simply receive a slightly edited stock photo. As something you could have put together yourself, is it really worth the disappointment and the extra cost of having your logo put right?
Unusable: When ‘one of a kind’ logo is ready, you may find you have to pay extra to receive it in a usable format. Your logo should be available for you in a range of files and possibly in a couple of contrasting colourways, and with a transparent background. You should also be able to scale it up and down for use on everything from a business card to an advertising billboard.
So, in the interests of science, we thought we’d use a freelance site (Fiverr) ourselves to see what kind of logo we could get for, err… a fiver.
We decided to use Fiverr to see what kind of logo we could get. This is what we got:
Fiverr is a popular website which designers offer to create you a high quality logo in 24 hours for $5.
Great! you must be thinking. Why would i want to pay a logo designer £1000's when i could get 200 logos for the same price? Even if these aren’t all of the highest quality, there‘s bound to be a few good ideas among them based on sheer variety alone surely?
A-ha! This is why we did this experiment to show you!
We decided to see what kind of logo we could get for stop. (if we didn't already have one) so we started by posting our very first “request” explaining what we wanted, a new logo for our design agency and that we were looking for something simple and possibly typographic. Overall, we received about seventy responses offering to create a logo within 24 hours with unlimited revisions. We looked through all of the portfolios, and decided to contact four which had the best quality work.
The first response we received came from an extremely eager designer, who sent a logo mockup design before he’d even been asked to do the work. The proactive candidate sent us this message:
"Hi, i saw your post that you want a logo for your graphic agency, based on your requirements i have made a logo for you. If you like this logo let me know."
And, here it is….
It's safe to say that this wasn't the type of logo we were looking for to represent a professional graphic design agency. We’re unsure what the lightning bolt represents and the colours reminded us of a wasp. Despite being first off the blocks with an unprompted design, we decided not to go ahead with this logo, and hoped that the designer did not continue to work without guaranteed payment in future.
Some designers show their work through a Fiverr portfolio, and when we found a portfolio containing negative space techniques and clever yet simple designs, we were optimistic that we might land upon an effective minimalist logo.
We needed to answer a single question "What industry does this order relate to?" with fixed answers to choose from, so we selected the "Art & Design" option, as part of the briefing process.
The first logo:
The first warning sign. This is obviously a pixel based logo created in Photoshop. Any reputable, professional designer or agency knows that a logo should NEVER be created in Photoshop.
Pro Tip: if you find somebody who offers to create you a logo in Photoshop, RUN! Photoshop logos can't be resized. So, if you need to enlarge it, it will completely pixelate. Always make sure that your designer will create a vector based logo!
Also, it wasn't very "simple". Excessive circles and the drop shadow on the text doesn't shout minimal!
Making good use of our unlimited amendments, we gave the designer the opportunity to have another go at creating something really simple, minimal, and very clean looking.
The second logo:
In response, we received another Photoshop file. The revised version is a lot simpler than the first logo admittedly, however the gradient and drop shadow were still a bit too much, and the use of a triangular symbol in place of the "o" confused us. Taking a closer look, the spacing between each letter is also very inconsistent.
Pro tip: A professional designer will make sure to kern your logo, so that the spacing between each letter is balanced perfectly.
So, on to the next designer….
Providing us with access to a dropbox portfolio packed with professional looking clean and simple designs, designer three offered to complete three ‘outstanding’ logo concepts keeping to the original brief.
The first concept….
With so much going on here with the drop shadow and the circles, it's certainly not simple. Plus, the brand name is wrong. It just looks a bit of a mess really. So again, we asked for something cleaner and simpler, without the drop shadow, and we were sent this second logo concept:
With no idea what the symbol was supposed to represent, we fed this back and waited for our third ‘minimal’ offering:
We have to admit, they are stylistically loads better than the first two concepts, but they are so far apart in terms of quality you wouldn't think this was the same designer. Even though these logos met our brief, we still had no idea what they were supposed to be and how they represented the company. Between a sewing needle and a logo that says "sto?" we couldn’t help thinking that the designer hadn’t exactly nailed the stop. brand
Come on, number four, we’re rooting for you….
Creating a minimal typographic logo shouldn’t be that hard, surely? But then we received designs that had us checking our own definition of minimal. These were by far the most complicated logos we’d seen yet, so we quickly got back to the designer placing emphasis on our simple and typographic requirements:
Typographic? Yes. Minimal? Not really. We personally didn't think the handwritten ‘streetwear-esque’ font they chose worked for the brand.
By now, we were thinking we needed to take a slightly different approach with our next designer
Our last attempt at finding a designer who could deliver what we asked for. Increasing our budget to $25 dollars, we wanted to see if more money meant better interpretation of the brief. And then:
Finally, somebody who understood the words simple and typographic. The "S" in the stop sign is quite creative, but it still doesn't look like a graphic design agency logo, and we couldn’t shake the negative connotations of a red stop sign symbol. So, with this feedback, we asked for two more designs at the same level of simplicity.
Edging closer to better logos, the concepts just weren’t what we were looking for. You could see the effort and thinking behind these final concepts, and we were hopeful that we could achieve something useable after a few more rounds of amendments.
What we found...
All of the logos we received will most definitely use free standard issue fonts, based on the fact that a paid font would cost more than $5.
They also don't follow rules on what makes a great logo i.e. easily described, memorable, effective without colour, and scalable.
Ask yourself these questions in regards to the logos we received:
- How many of the logos can you describe or remember?
- Are these logos effective without colour?
- Are they scalable?
- Do they gain immediate recognition?
- Convey the company’s personality, character or attitude?
- Relate to your clients by conveying a feeling of familiarity and credibility?
- Have association with quality and satisfaction?
If you’re not answering yes to most of these questions, it’s not an effective logo.
$5 in the UK works out at about £3.70! That's less than the hourly minimum wage! Would you really want to have your logo so cheaply? The software itself to create the logo costs hundreds of pounds, as well as the overhead costs of the computer, internet, bills etc.
When it comes to buying a service, you have a choice to make between ‘cheap’, ‘quick’, and ‘good’. You will never get all three together.
Pro tip: Always opt for ‘good’. If this means compromising over the time it takes or that it will cost more, it’s because of the attention to detail, craftsmanship and expertise behind the product or service, and that holds a long-term value for your business.
If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t settle for your Aunty Linda who’s watched a few episodes of Holby City to reset it, you’d opt for the medical school trained consultant with hours of orthopaedic surgery under their belt every time.
Like the doctor, a graphic designer has a specialist understanding of the craft of logo design that can take years of training and practice with the right tools to get to a level that makes it look easy. That’s why opting for a graphic designer should be your first reaction when you’re looking for a logo (unless you want your Aunty Linda to get her hands on that too).
Oh dear. Right, thanks for the heads up. I think I might be able to stretch to using a reputable designer, will it be worth it?
The short answer is yes. Although the initial outlay is higher to begin with the value you receive is long lasting. The moral of the story is nearly always ‘you get what you pay for’, and it’s often all too true when logos are involved.
Treat yourself and your brand to a professional makeover, and think of it as an investment in your reputation and presence in the market – you’re sure to be rewarded with sales growth and customer loyalty in the long run.
The real expense: Choosing a designer to create beautiful logo, using the best stock imagery and printing, will cost more than £5. But it can end up costing you more than that, not only the time spent emphasising the brief and chasing amendments, but it could end up costing you customers.
The investment: Not once were we asked about our target audience on our $5 adventures, and there lies the difference. As a graphic design agency, we work with you to find out who your customers are so you can communicate with them in a genuine and authentic way, drastically improving your chances of getting new business. We get real results for you.
If you’re looking for logo design or inspiration for your brand, contact stop. for professional design advice. An experienced UK design agency in Newcastle, stop. has worked with a great range of brands to produce beautiful logos packed with impact and originality. You can check them out here.
Written by Clare Jennings - 23rd May 2018