Budget Logos: Friend or Foe?
Looking for cheap, budget logos can be tempting when planning out your startup journey. Believe us, we know the temptation to cut costs wherever possible.
At times, being cheap can definitely the sensible option – is that pricey artisan pasta going to make your spag bolognese that much better?
But you should also remember that time you bought those £4 pair of shoes – which fell apart after wearing only twice. Budget logos are like those budget shoes. A cheap, custom logo will have to be replaced in no time at all, but a good custom logo can last you years.
It’s true that in terms of resources, logos don’t seem all that.
For the uninitiated, they just look like a little picture. Can’t someone throw that together in 10 minutes? you ask yourself.
There are some places out there offering you graphic design services for $5 a pop, so it’s no wonder that people think they should be so cheap. Just throw up a Google search for ‘budget logos‘, ‘make your own logo‘ or even ‘free logo‘ and you’ll see exactly what we mean. If you’re a startup approaching a fundraising round, getting a dirt cheap logo can be very tempting.
However, we’ve done our research and think there are some big downsides to creating a logo on the cheap. At Twine – we have your best interest in mind, so, let’s start from the beginning…
Budget logos Undervalue Design
People undervalue creative work all the time – but that doesn’t mean it’s okay! Wouldn’t you rather be known as a company that values creativity?
If you’re wondering what we mean about undervaluing, think about it in terms of wages. Say you pay $5 for a logo – that’s not even minimum wage in most places. So, you’re assuming the designer is spending less than an hour on your logo creation, if they’re hoping to make any real profit on the work. But, creating a logo that’s good going to take a lot longer than that. Here’s a quick outline of the stages involved in logo design:
Design spec and briefing: The designer meets with the client to talk through their requirements. The designer gets to know the client and their business. (1 hour)
Research: The designer will go away and research the client and their company. They’ll explore the industry that the business is part of, including competitors. Before they get into creating a business logo, they’ll make note of successful logos that are already established in that industry, and how the new logo will stand apart from its competitors. (2 hours)
Rough concepts and sketches: Now, some rough concepts are made. Often sketched out on paper – not through free logo maker software. These are then sent to the client for their input. (3 – 4 hours)
Mockups: The chosen sketches are refined and fleshed out digitally by the designer, then sent to the client for their input. (2 hours)
Client feedback: The client chooses the final logo, and lets the designer know of any changes they want to be made to it. This process can sometimes take a few days because it’s not a good idea to choose a logo in a rush. (1 hour contact time)
Final design: The designer finalises the logo and hands it over to the client, along with any other files or collateral requested. The project is completed. (2 hours)
So, you’re looking at around 12 hours of work total. That original $5 is now 42 cents an hour. Would you be happy with that? Even if we take that cost up to $50, it only works out at $4 an hour. An average hourly rate for a middleweight designer in the USA can be between $65 – $75 (that’s around £50 – £60) – so that’s definitely too cheap.
Okay, so if you hire someone to make you a really cheap logo, realistically they’re not going to do all that work. You shouldn’t even expect them to.
This leads us to our next monster lurking in the budget logos closet…
If someone’s getting $5 per job, the only way they can really make money is to work fast, churning out budget logos as quickly as possible.
This means they’re going to struggle to make every single one polished – and that’s if you look on the bright side…
It’s been well-documented that often cheap logos are simply slightly modified stock images or Word Art. In the worst-case scenario, they’re just plain old plagiarised.
Again, you might argue that you’re not expecting award-winning design if you pay dirt cheap – but let’s not forget what you’re paying for here. A logo isn’t something you’re going to use once – it’s a pivotal part of your brand identity and will appear everywhere.
Your logo will be the icon for your app, probably your profile picture on all social media channels, as well as plastered all over your website. It’s how people will recognise you and your brand.
So, that cheap logo may have saved you money for now – but like those super-cheap shoes – it’s probably not going to stand the test of time. You’ll just end up spending more in the future getting a new one made, which means it would have been cheaper to just do that in the first place.
Especially if you end up paying for a lawsuit when it turns out your logo was copied off someone else…
The Bottom Line
The right logo probably isn’t the cheapest option, but it’s worth shelling out for. The lower-quality, budget logo choice is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.
Just think: if you buy 10 $50 logos over the next few years, you’re better off saving yourself the hassle and spending $500 to start with. Remember Terry Pratchett’s theory:
“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
Speaking of budget logos, take budget boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.
But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.”
Don’t be the person with wet feet and bad branding. Buy the boots now.
We hope you enjoyed our article on opting out of budget logos – plan your business for the long run and go for high-quality logo design. Want more advice on setting budgets for logos? Get it here.