For all you graphic designers out there, what do you think of when a client asks you how much it cost to design a logo? Are you thinking about how much the client is willing to pay? Are you thinking about what you might have to go through with this client? Are you thinking about the benefits and pitfalls of doing the work? Are you thinking about what other designers might charge?
All those are valid concerns. But what really determines the value? Is it what a designer thinks the effort is worth, or what the client thinks it should cost? It’s really neither. On one hand many designers want to earn what is worth their time and effort. On the other hand, clients believe that the time it takes determines the cost. And if the client deems the job to be very simple in execution, it should cost accordingly.
The reasons these ways of valuing a logo design are invalid is because the logo’s value is immaterial to the time or effort it seems to take. For example, lets consider the cost of a plain t-shirt. It costs about $3 to produce. You put it on sale for about $10 for a modest $7 per shirt profit. But let’s say one of the shirts gets worn by a noted celebrity like Michael Jackson, just before he died. The shirt may be beat-up, full of tears and rips, and is dirty. But it can sell for several thousands of dollars. Why? Because the value of the shirt is not in the effort of time it took to produce. Rather the value is set by who’s wearing it, and the execution.
The logo is not much different. That’s why a simple logo design would cost differently for Neiman Marcus than for Joe’s Neighborhood Hardware. Also, a logo’s simplicity may be deceiving. Just because it seems simple, doesn’t mean arriving at that solution was simple. The designer has to weigh these factors against the client’s value proposition. The client also has to consider the potential gains the logo holds for her business. That’s not always easy to do, but intuitively everyone knows the value of a good reputation as a business. And logos are a means of setting that tone immediately.