Usually that’s because a logo is an image that carries intellectual property with it. The client can get it registered, trademark it and claim it as her own. The logo cannot then be duplicated by anyone but the client and doing so would be illegal.

Besides, coming up with a logo requires more effort than for example, coming up with an icon.
The logo also uniquely identifies the client and the company it has been designed for – it’s not quite like a fingerprint, but it is the visual face of the company.

CLIENTS

Clients can evaluate various options when pursuing a logo-design.

Some clients do not realize the importance and value of the logo, hence they might choose to buy an off-the-shelf image that has also been purchased by some other similar clients from some other part of the world. When the client is not going to get the logo registered or is not going to use it as a legal visual image to represent the company, then the value and importance of that image diminishes considerably and there are various online portals that sell such images. [ I do not recommend them personally, hence no links. ]

Then there are clients who understand the importance of a logo and of a brand but do not currently have the resources to aim for a worthy logo. The best strategy for such a situation, in my opinion, is to wait. Use the company name to maximum effect till you can gather resources and score a touchdown.

And then there are those clients who understand the value and importance of a logo – and more & are able and willing to pay. For these clients, I would suggest that even though you have the financial strength to buy yourself a logo and brand, do not miss out on evaluating some options where you can save on the enormous fees charged by advertising agencies.

Of course there are also those people who do not understand the importance of a logo and neither are they willing to pay for the design of one. Well I’d say that they are the happiest of the lot.

At least happier than those who do not understand the value of a logo are able to pay agency prices but are unwilling to do so. Not only do they then work with designers who know little about the craft, they also end up with a logo that sucks, no less. [ And purchasing a designer’s skill to design a logo for you, is so not like purchasing kinnows. ]

DESIGN STUDIOS

There are design studios like aside, which will deliver similar [ if not better ] quality at prices less than one-tenth of what the advertising agencies charge. The creative head / art director / designer / illustrator / strategist will be personally involved in the design process because in most cases there is one person playing all these roles.

Since the design studio has only one person or maybe a small-team of a handful other designers, the studio also has a lot at stake – another reason for the client expecting nothing but exceptional work. On the internet, reputation precedes everything else and if you suck, you’re dead. One error can prove fatal for a design studio – for an advertising agency, a multitude of errors doesn’t mar their relationships with clients who pay through their noses for that very same service – where else will the client go? To another agency who might make worse errors – better to stay with the same agency that they’ve been working with for the last ten years rather than open a can of worms and restart the whole process with a new agency.

There are no such assurances for a design studio – once a client goes because of a soured relationship or a badly executed job, that client is gone forever and it will raise a stink among other prospective and existing clients as well.

MY CLIENTS

I have worked with all the above types of clients – clients telling me I charge too much and telling me that my prices are more than reasonable. And I’ve had Indian clients tell me that I charge reasonable money and American clients tell me that I’m too expensive.

When I started in this business, I had no clue on how to charge my clients. I thought that the Americans could easily pay double of what the Indians could or would. I now have the same prices for everyone regardless of geography, size of business, ability to pay or anything else.

The effort I put in my work is the same for all clients, no reason the pricing should be different.

11 comments

  1. I would tend to agree with your pricing strategy. The clever thing would be to have the same price for everyone, but differentiated offerings, so people with different levels of “willingsness-to-pay” will still find something in your suite of offerings that they can buy. I use that in my business. I wonder if you can.

  2. Hey Deepa, Thank you for stopping by πŸ™‚

    I do know about this approach of differentiated offerings – and practiced it too for a while but it did not work out for me. Take the example of logo-design – usually what most designers do is differentiate it on the basis of number of themes or number of initial sketches to choose from. My issue with that is that I do not know how to restrict my creativity – how I do I tell my brain to stop thinking after I’d come up with the agreed three concepts only? So I just have a flat rate for now that increases every year [ the added price being for the added year of experience ] and the same offering for everyone.

    Maybe I could learn some more from and would appreciate if you would share how you do it.

  3. Nice story. I don’t yet know what client I would be. Some people do see the value of a logo but their business site thries to always get a bargain.
    But, the obvious question is… what do you charge for a logo?

  4. Hey Naina

    Happend to see your blog and thought taht we are in the same boat πŸ™‚ Have started my own design studio in Dubai and yes we have a mix of clients that say just about the same thing as yours – (think thers a school for them :)) Anyway, just wanted to touch base and see if we could perhaps chat / e mail as sometimes we get an overload of work and am always looking for creative minds to work with!

    Can you send me an a email please?

    jess

  5. Hey Jess,

    Nice hearing from you! Thank you for stopping by and for the message.
    I don’t mind sharing work – if you can pass on something to me or vice versa – I’d be more interested in logo design and branding more than anything else. Let me know if there is something I can pass onto you!

    Please be in touch πŸ™‚

  6. Hi Naina,

    Differentiated pricing is order of the day.
    You cannot differentiate on geographies but you should differentiate on their ability to pay… and its fair.

    Everyone does that and no one minds..honestly. A Mobile network operator might introduce a cheaper plan only for college students which will not be available to others.

    I know you are a good designer but a successful designer got to be good business manager too.

    ciao
    Mohsin

  7. WoW….wat an informative site….

    I needed to know this and hopefully to use it as a selling skill when I am doing my business prospecting. I have no doubt the information above related to Logo designs being expensive will undoubtedly going to add-value on my business.

    Really appreciated

    Many Thanks,
    Eugene Silinda
    Quality Designs Inc
    Managing Director

  8. There is some great info on here. And your understanding of clients is good too.

    I’ve been a designer for almost 10 years now.

    I have only just started fixing prices for Logos, previously I charged based on the strength of my work and what the client liked and wanted, for example after speaking to some clients it was apparent that what they actually wanted was just an icon, rather than a logo, and others wanted branding. Most of my clients lucky for me were and some still are big corporations.

    The reason I didn’t fix my prices previously though was because smaller clients got scared and thought I was too expensive and larger clients thought I was too cheap and wouldn’t be able to cope with producing what they required.

    The best advice I can give though is its not just about the client choosing the designer, its also about the designer choosing the client.

    When I quote a client I make sure I have all the details and a thorough brief and I never barter on the price, when a client says to me they can get the same service elsewhere I ask them to go with the other guy, why because they would come back to you to barter if they didn’t think you was good enough.

    Why have I started fixing prices?
    Because its a good way to filter out the time wasters. Yes I know there will be some genuine clients with smaller budgets, but I ask them to wait until they can afford it. Its not me being big headed, I just know that if I’m not comfortable with what I’m being paid I’ll end up being demotivated which will lead to substandard design and unhappy customer, which is even worse for your rep as a designer.

    Hope that helps.

    Chet Tailor

  9. Hi ,
    Firstly that’s a very cool blog,
    But i wont agree on all clients equally consuming your efforts on a logo design pakage .I hope you have a pricing strategy for number of iterations client puts upon you.
    other wise i don’t think it’s gonna work out.

    1. Hi Sandeep,

      Thank you for bringing focus back to this blog post – it was written in 2007!

      The number of iterations does affect the pricing of a logo design engagement – more iterations means additional charges – but it does not affect pricing strategy.

      Although written five years ago, most of the content in this blog post still holds true. A logo design engagement might cost “x” – including one options or three – and there might be an additional charge of “x/10” per additional iteration but if the client accepts the first option as recommended by the designer, the “x” still stays. Same argument with regards to the number of hours put into a project – more number of hours don’t necessarily have to mean more / efficient work – could just mean a difficult client / bad understanding by the designer.

      All clients do not equally consume my efforts on a logo design engagement – but I nonetheless deliver equal efforts for all clients. And the latter is what i charge for, not the former.

      Thanks Sandeep!

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