Logos are at the heart of every brand identity. It is how people recognise your product, your service, and your company.
Designing a logo, or having one designed, is an important part of a website’s development and key to its online and offline marketing strategy.
I have had logos designed in a number of different ways over the years and experienced many ups and downs with the development of them. The issue of logo design has been fresh in mind over the last week as I have been looking to rebrand Rise Forums and launch a new logo and forum design.
In this article, I would like to advise you what options are available to you when you need to have a logo designed.
Before You Begin – Set Your Budget and Priority
There are a number of factors to consider before reviewing the best way to develop a logo.
Think about what the logo should symbolise and the image you need to convey to your audience/customers. Your logo should set the tone of your company and/or website.
You also need to think about how the logo will be used. Will it just be used in your website header or will it be used in stationery, t-shirts, and other marketing material?
Your experience in creating and modifying logos will also play a factor; as will the amount of time you have to devote to the development of the logo. Spending days creating a logo yourself is not an effective way to spend your time if you have more pressing matters to attend to.
Budget and priority are important factors too.
It is not only about how much funds are available to you but how much of those funds can and should be used for the logo design. Paying thousands of dollars for a logo when you have other startup costs to pay is not always the smartest move. You need to think of the bigger picture and consider priority of the project.
If you have a low traffic blog, it is difficult to justify spending a lot of money on a new logo. However, if you run a successful eCommerce store that makes tens of thousands of dollars per month, it makes sense to hire a top design company as using a bad logo could project a poor image of your store and directly cost you money.
Think about all of these issues before you decide which route to go down.
- How much time can you devote to the development of the logo?
- How important is the logo to the success of the project?
- How much money are you willing to spend on a logo for this project?
- How quickly do you need the logo completed?
Once you have did this, I encourage you to spend some time looking at logos on logo inspiration websites such as Logopond, Logo Faves, and Logospire. This will give you a better idea of what you like and point any designers you like in the right direction.
1. Design the Logo Yourself – FREE
If you do not have any budget for a logo, or if you need a logo for a website that is not a high priority, you should consider designing the logo yourself.
It is unlikely that your logo will look as good as one created by a good designer, but this is rarely a concern if the logo is created for something like a small personal blog.
Be sure to check out my list of image editing applications to see which free and premium software you can use to create a logo.
2. Use a Free Online Logo Creator – FREE
There are many free online logo creation services online that can be used to create basic logos. They use generic stock images that are available all over the web so your logo will not be unique, but should not be a problem for smaller websites.
3. Use a Free Logo Template – FREE
Graphic and design related websites frequently release free graphics. Many of the logo templates on offer are unique as they are designed by the website owner who released them, though you will come across many of the generic stock image templates that free online logo creation services offer.
Logo templates tend to come in the Photoshop PSD format. They frequently have small resolutions too, however this is not a concern if you are only using it on your website (i.e. you are not using it on t-shirts). Once you have downloaded the logo template you can edit the logo in an image editing application and change the text to suit your needs.
Do a search online for “Free Logo Templates” and you will find thousands of free templates available for download.
4. Offer Something in Exchange for a Logo – FREE
In the marketplace area of webmaster forums you frequently see website owners doing exchanges. You can have a logo designed free of charge if you can offer them something. Sometimes all you need to give is a testimonial, others want a credit link on your website, while others want a guest post in exchange.
The standard of logos on offer by those offering a free logo in webmaster forums is not amazing, but it is possible to get a free logo designed by a reputable designer if you have a high traffic website. A simple thank you and credit link on your website can make a designer a lot of money if you can send them a lot of business.
However, if you run a high traffic website it will be generating you income, so stop being so cheap and pay the designer what he deserves!!!
5. Purchase a Non-Exclusive Premium Logo Template – From $5
Like free logo templates, when you purchase a premium logo template you are not buying something unique. There is no limit to how many times a premium logo can be sold so you could potentially see your logo being used elsewhere on the internet.
Uniqueness is, however, less of an issue. The fact that people need to buy the template means that premium logo templates are downloaded less. Also, since designers get paid for their work, the standard of logo design is much higher than free equivalents.
There are over fifty thousand logo templates being sold there and all are priced around $30. The sheer volume of logos being sold means that most designs have not been purchased or only have one sale. Unfortunately, at this time there is no option to purchase a logo outright and remove it from the marketplace.
I recommend checking out Creative Market too. They have around half as many logo templates as GraphicRiver and they sell some great logo template bundles.
6. Purchase a Unique Ready-Made Logo – From $99
Premium logo templates are a good option if you want a cheap and professional logo template quickly. You don’t have to spend days talking with the designer hoping that they design something you like. You simply find what you like and buy it. The downside to most premium logo templates is that you cannot purchase exclusive rights to the design.
Thankfully, there are some services that offer unique pre-made logo designs. Many designers use them to sell proposals they created for customers that were not used.
BrandCrowd is one of my favourite resources for ready-made exclusive logos. The standard of logos on offer is extremely high and designers will make basic customisations for you free of charge. Prices start from only $99 and most logo designs on there cost less than $500 (though they do have premium designs that cost thousands).
The price you see is not set in stone. You can make an offer to the designer and see if they will accept a reduced fee for the design. It’s worth doing this. It’s a buyer’s market and they accept your reduced bid you could save yourself a lot of money.
Be sure to shop around as you will see designers selling the same designs at different prices in different stores. For example, I found the new logo for Rise Forums on BrandCrowd but purchased it through Strong Logos since he was selling it there at half the price.
7. Start a Logo Design Competition – From $29
The concept of logo competitions is simple. You post a proposal that details what you are looking for and then designers submit entries based on that information. You then decide which one is the best and pay the winner for their design.
One of the benefits of a design competition is that you get to see a varied number of design ideas from many different designers. The more money you pony up for the winner, the more entries you will receive. A higher prize also attracts better designers.
Pricing for popular design competition websites such as 99Designs, DesignCrowd, Hatchwise, and DesignHill, start from a few hundred dollars; however you may have to put up several hundred designers to get a healthy amount of submissions. Prices from services such as 48HoursLogo and LogoArena start at only $29 but the standard of designs being submitted is much lower.
Design competitions have a bad reputation among designers because they devalue the work of the designer. I have used design competitions three or four times in the past though I stopped using them as the quantity and quality of designs being submitted was really poor considering the money I put up as prize money.
You may want to consider a design competition if you are not sure what kind of logo you want and need a variety of proposals.
8. Hire a Designer From a Marketplace – From $5
The process works in a similar way to a design competition. All you have to do is post your requirements for a logo and then designers who are interested in taking on the project will put forward their proposal for you. It is then your responsibility to listen to those proposals, check out the portfolio of the designers, and then choose the designer you want to work with.
The Fiverr marketplace works a little differently. It is the designers who post advertisements showcasing what they can do. Fiverr users can then purchase a logo from only $5; though extras such as the original files, will cost you extra. There are actually some great designers on Fiverr, though popular users usually have a waiting list.
9. Hire a Designer Directly – From $50
Most designers and design companies do not find clients through freelance marketplaces. They derive most of their business through their website, social media, and recommendations from customers and online friends and associates.
A good designer will listen to your logo requirements and work closely with you through the whole design process. This should hopefully help you get a logo you love.
Whilst you can hire a designer from anywhere in the world, there are benefits to hiring someone local to you so that they operate in the same hours and speak the same language.
The Cost of Logo Design
I had a long enjoyable conversation about logo design recently with Jeremy Harrington from Burning Square. Jeremy is a top designer who charges well known international companies thousands of dollars for design projects.
During our conversation he said a couple of things that struck a chord with me. For example, when I mentioned that I experienced problems after hiring a South American design company to design a logo for me for $99, he noted that “when you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”.
I do agree that, generally speaking, the quality of design should be much higher when you spend more money; however, it is not always the case.
Ten years ago, for example, I hired a well known designer to design a logo for one of my websites and it cost several hundred dollars. The logo looked OK, but it did not look anything better than designers who charged $50. I was paying extra for the designer’s experience, but I was also paying extra for his reputation and that was why he charged more than his competitors. I didn’t get the love and attention he promised. A younger and hungrier designer trying to make his mark would have charged less and possibly provided a design and service that was just as good.
The location of a designer also needs to be taken into consideration. If two designers have the same skill set, then the chances are that the one located in New York will charge a lot more than the one located in Bolivia. That is why I do not believe price does not always indicate the quality of design and service you will receive.
Of course, the quality of a design can divide opinion. By its very nature, design is subjective and what is pleasing to my eye may not be pleasing to others. I found out this recently when discussing the issue of a new logo with Rise Forums staff members as they really liked the logos I hated.
Cost will always be a big factor in who you hire for logo design, however it is important remember that spending more money does not necessarily mean you will receive a better logo.
I wrote this article to help those of you who are about to have a new logo designed. I hope that it helps points you in the right direction and helps you make an informed decision. As with all of my guides, do not take anything I say as gospel. I do my best to research topics and share my experiences of every subject I cover; however it is your duty to do further research on your own.
Do not be swayed by what others are saying. Some people will say you are paying too much for a logo, others will say you are paying too little. My advice is to listen to your gut and go with the option that makes sense to you.
I have had logos designed using every single option listed in this article. I have had some good experiences and many bad experiences. Perhaps that’s why my current personal preference at the moment is to choose unique ready-made logos as it saves me time and allows me to view thousands of logos. I can then make a decision on which design is best for the project..
There is no right or wrong way to do this. Find what works for you and go for it.