I did, I know! But not a logo designed by me.
A 100% free logo design is possible, though it’s easier to get one for $5 – $15 (I say dollars, you’ll read why later). I’d be happy to tell you, just drop me an email and I’ll point out a few options. But before you, I’d like to say that I wouldn’t recommend it, this sort of super-budget price, less than a coffee, comes with severe compromises.
I won’t go into them all here, but just to say, what kind of service would you provide for $15? Is that even half an hour of your time, is it even worth 15 minutes? I’d guess not.
Would you stake the image of your whole enterprise on 15 minutes of your time? Getting your logo right, branding your most excellent enterprise should cost more than 15 minutes of someone’s time.
Though, and here’s why I’ve used dollars above, perhaps that’s more than 15 minutes of someone elses time, someone who’s cost of living isn’t as high? True, it may stretch a little further, but once platform fees and exchange rates are considered, that $15 is a lot smaller, and you’re probably still looking at less than an hour of time, which is not very much for anyone, wherever they live.
The Nike logo is a fantastic story and an excellent example of Logo vs Brand.
It’s true that back in 1971, Nike co-founder Phil Knight commissioned graphic design student Carolyn Davidson to create a logo. When delivered, Knight is purported to have said “I don’t love it… but I think it will grow on me.” – a ringing endorsement!
Nike tweaked it in 1995, dropping the bold capital NIKE text, leaving the swoosh intersected it to live alone. That was certainly a bold stroke and cemented the brand’s logo in the mind, but it wasn’t this move or Davidsons original logo that really explains the success or value of the Nike brand.
Remember too, it’s not 1971. The best part of half a decade of inflation has passed, $35 is perhaps more like $350 – $600 now (depending on how you’d like to measure it).
On its own the Nike logo really is nothing special, search for “swoosh logo” in Google and you’ll be overrun by wannabes, trying to use similar shapes to promote anything from sportswear to financial services. The success of the Nike logo is actually its part of the wider Nike brand. That includes the visual branding, from advertising, TV spots, packaging, shops and the products themselves, but also the full branding package. That’s the associations with celebrity, with sports teams, the aspirational nature of their marketing strategy, the commitment to technology, it’s featuring on screen in movies, creating self-tying laces for Back to the Future II.
Nike has been outrageously successful at marketing their brand for 45+ years, they continue to push into new areas of marketing, all backed by exceptional product design and branding. I should think it would be impossible to pin down how much Nike have spent on branding to remain highly successful, but it’s certainly more than $35.
The same is true of the other favourite “cheap logos” of the internet, Coca-Cola ($0, though their bookkeeper Frank Mason Robinson wrote it in the then defacto Cursive script, so I guess he was a subcontractor on the payroll) and Google (also originally $0). Both these examples have built on and adapted their original logos and branding, and spent a fair penny on them I should assume!
That is a valid question, I can understand the lure of the crowdsourcing sites, many heads and all that, but again, without detailing all the risks, here’s a couple of things to consider before creating a logo design contest;
How much is your £500 of payment really worth? First, we’ll skim a low £100 off the top for platform fees, the cost the provider takes of the top to host the competition. Some of the more popular logo contest sites charge a flat 30% fee.
Now we’re at £400, a half decent price for a designer to earn. But there’s no guarantee they’ll win it, so they need to hedge their bets and enter loads of £400 contests, so they enter 10. Each contest is now worth £40 of a designers time, and the effort they’ll put into each is scaled down accordingly. That’s a pretty ambitious ratio as well, to win 10% of contests, so the time spent on each logo starts to fall rapidly, heading quickly towards the $15 kind of time above.
To save time there are some surefire options, you could reuse something you’ve designed before, perhaps that was rejected, sure it’s not a bespoke solution, but hey, it’s quick? You could wait out a bit and enter late on, after seeing what other designers have created and what the contest holder likes? That way you’re a step ahead, maybe it’ll be derivative and not entirely fresh, but the clock is ticking! Of course, the fastest way is to run a Google search for something in the same sector and copy it. You might not think it but this happens all the time. Now you’ve stopped getting a dozen peoples ideas and are receiving derivative suggestions or even outright copied designs. Unhappiness ensues…
You get loads from me and I’m glad you’re still here for me to explain, starting at £500 you get:
· Dedication – The success of your design is important to me, it’s not one among 20 others I’m trying to juggle. That means we sit down and get to discuss you, your business, the aims of the brand and what you’re trying to achieve. I’m looking to get a feel for the business so I can create an appropriate, successful brand.
· Experience – Whatever the project cost, you get my experience. I’ve been practising design since 1997, creating logos and branding since 2004, and working directly with people like you freelance since 2011. I bring significant experience and skill to each brand. I’ll advise you on what I think will and won’t work. If you have an idea or suggestion, I’ll tell you why it may or may not work.
· Great Results – I pride myself on getting things right. I don’t limit things like the number of ideas or revisions, we thrash this thing out until it’s correct! I tend to provide 2-3 options, it could be more depending on how inspiration strikes! These won’t be small variations on a theme, but distinct design directions. They’ll also be solutions I think will work, and I’ll give my rationale why I think that.
· Creativity – With research and discovery, idea creation and conceptualisation, I work to make even early drafts on point. This differs per client, but it’s a result of getting out from behind my desk, pulling out a pencil and working to come up with unique angles and thoughtful solutions.
· Time – Ideas may come quickly or they may stew for a while, but the craft of designing a logo takes time, and I will give each design the time it needs. Once an idea is solidified, I take time to refine, iterate and improve. Later on, once a design is agreed, each element is perfected, be that kerning letters to look spot on or aligning and sizing the logo mark for perfect production.
· Knowlege – Often it’s the simple things, once you know, it’s obvious. For example, did you know that if you put an element in the dead centre of a piece of paper, visually it looks like its lower down that it is? Shift that shape up a cm or so, even though it’s not mathematically central, the human eye thinks it is? This sort of knowledge is invaluable, and I’ll bring it to your project!
· Someone to speak to – I’m here, with a phone. You can call anytime and speak to me, or even better, we can meet and grab a coffee.
· A brand no a logo – I create brands. I’ve interchanged logo and brand a lot in this article, which is a little remiss of me. What most companies need is a brand, the logo is one important element of their brand. At my lowest price point, I’m going to deliver a logo to you. However, during the journey of getting to that, I will have shown the direction of where I think the wider brand will go. That may have been in a mockup for some business cards to show how the design would look in “real life”. You’ll also get a small document detailing the colours used, fonts and logo variations, so that going forward, you can begin to apply the design as a brand.
If budgets allow, I can work on much larger branding solutions where I look how the visual elements of your brand would look, working with such things as business stationery design, signage, vehicle graphics, web site design, uniforms, brochures, posters, the list goes on.
· Every File You’ll Ever Need – This is something I notice all the time, clients may come to get a logo recreated because their now-defunct original designer didn’t give the correct files. It’s more likely, however, there’s a sudden need for a logo for a specific application, perhaps tiny for a web favicon, 1 colour for a newspaper advert or in a reverse colour for some promotional purpose.
So I ensure that I’ve provided “Every File You’ll Ever Need”, which, depending on the design may be alternative lockups, differing colour versions, 1 colour versions and specially designed variants for small applications. On top of this, for each variant, I provide them in all the popular formats, png and jpeg for use internally by your own team and professional formats including the source .ai (Adobe Illustrator) file to supply to people like signwriters or print professionals.
Read more on this on my article “Logo Project Delivery, What Files Should You Expect?“.
Kieran Harrod is a Creative, Professional & Reliable Graphic Designer skilled in branding, print and web design, with bags of integrity.
Based in Derby, UK, Kieran set up his own business in May 2011 after practicing design since 1997 including 7 years as an in-house designer and marketing manager for the UK arm of a multinational. Get in touch to get something designed for your business.
We were a new business start-up looking to create a fun but professional image for our company. After talking with a number of graphic designers we chose Kieran, who appeared to be the best fit for us. We have since been delighted by all the work he has done for us and are looking forward to working closely with him as our business grows.
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