Don’t hire a logo designer until you’ve read this guide! This guide is for startup founders and small business owners who’s never had a professionally designed logo before. Let this article be your guide and help you navigate the rough terrains of the graphic design world. Your logo is the single most important piece of graphic design work that will ever be done for you. And it’s the single most difficult piece of design to change later on when you decide to re-brand. So if you’ve never hired anyone professionally to design a logo for you before, don’t rush the process. Take your time, do a bit of research, and by the time you’re done with this article, you’ll at least know 80% of all the potholes to avoid.
Is a professional logo really needed?
Without a doubt, yes. Through my 10 years of being a graphic designer, developer, and brand adviser, I’ve never (emphasize on NEVER) seen a successful company that didn’t hire a logo designer. The logo designer can be someone in-house, a freelancer, or a design firm – doesn’t matter. As long as it’s someone with actual graphic design capabilities doing the logo for you. I’ve seen a lot founders and business owners try to design a logo themselves and opted to not hire a logo designer to save a few bucks, only to regret it later when they finally research their competitors and realize how much more professional and classy everyone else is compared to them. This question could’ve been answered with a simple “yes”, but I want to make sure it’s drilled into you how important it is to NOT cheapen out on the most important piece graphic your company will ever possess and embody.
Who should I hire?
Theres no shortage of options if you want to hire a logo designer. Before you hire a logo designer, you need to adjust your expectations accordingly and also be aware of how much commitment is required of you.
- Freelancers: If you hire a freelancer, the cost will be low, however you will be the project manager and responsible for most of the administrative work. So if you’re low on budget and have the extra bandwidth to work closely to monitor your own logo project, this is for you.
- Agency: If you must have the best of the best and cannot compromise on quality, your best bet is to go with an agency. Cost will be high, you won’t need to constantly micromanage or harass someone for designs, and quality will usually be better than hiring a freelancer.
- In-house graphic designer: This is the most expensive option that yields the least result. Unless you have both the budget to hire a really good in-house designer AND have enough work for them to do, it won’t make financial sense to bring someone on just to do a few projects.
- Online contests: Online services are a good option for companies who don’t have a fully defined mission/vision/values. If you don’t really know what you’re looking for and want to choose from a large section of designs via a contest online, this is a great option.
- Unlimited graphic design: There’s a handful of design platforms that offer Unlimited Graphic Design at a flat monthly rate. This option is good if you’re on a tight budget, need a lot more work done in addition to your logo, and want a more personal touch of working with an actual designer that you can chat with.
- Doing it yourself: No.
This is just a general breakdown of the most common ways you can hire a logo designer. Read more to find a complete breakdown analysis of each one and see which is best for you when you decide to hire a logo designer.
How much should it cost?
If you want to hire a logo designer, expect to pay between $300 – $700 for something solid. Didn’t think I’d give you a straight answer? Most of the time, people will dance around this question and give you a “well it depends…” response. It doesn’t depend. It SHOULD cost between $300 – $700. Anything more than that you’re likely overspending on your logo. And anything under that, you’re not likely to get what you want. Anything in between $300 – $700 is a safe bet. Now that doesn’t discount the fact that some agencies charge a significant amount more for logo design. The service you would get with an agency includes a lot more than just the design work. They’ll work with you to uncover your company, discover your value propositions, and design something that both brands and positions you correctly in your industry. Just know if you’re choosing an agency you’re getting a plethora of other services, not just logo design. For the most part, if you’re just looking for a logo done. $300 – $700 is where you should be looking.
How long should it take?
Usually not that long. If you’re working with either a good firm or dependable freelancer, you can expect to get your first draft within 2-3 days. Revisions shouldn’t take more than 1-2 days to turn around and within 1-2 weeks you’ll probably have your completed logo. This process does depend heavily on your ability to provide quality and clear feedback as well as ability to express exactly what you want and don’t want. If you hire a logo designer, keep in mind that they can only work as fast as you provide feedback and directions. If you’re slow at giving feedback or can’t express what you want clearly, expect delays.
Things to know before hiring a freelancer
Hiring a freelancer is quick, easy, and cheap. However there are a few key things you should know before hiring one. It really is a gamble. Unless you get lucky and find a highly talented and dependable designer, your logo will probably take a lot longer to compete than promised. They may be unresponsive at times, and your criticisms/feedback can backfire and turn them against you quickly. At times it will feel like walking on eggshells working with your freelancer, because you don’t want to be too harsh and hurt their feelings, resulting in them walking away from your project and leaving you hanging. Other times you’ll get a Yes-man who says yes to anything and everything you ask for but rarely delivers on the promise.
Despite the cost, working with freelancer will require a lot of administrative work from you to ensure you get your logo. If you have a lot of free time and a thirst for gambling, by all means give this a try. If you’re looking for a more robust and dependable working relationship, then consider either hiring in-house or hiring an agency.
They can ghost you
You are the project manager – requires a lot of administrative work on your part
Hire a freelancer if…
You’re a new startup/business on a budget that’s looking to hire a logo designer and need a few design requests here and there.
Where to hire freelancers?
You can find freelancers both in your local Linkedin network and also from the following resources.
Things to know before hiring an in-house designer
You can’t exactly hire a logo designer to only do logos for your company unless that’s your business model. An in-house designer is a great option if your business model actually requires a full time designer. The logo design shouldn’t be the reason why you’re bringing someone on. If you’re a web design company, then by all means bring one on. If you’re a law firm, this might not be the best investment. Also consider the type of person a designer is. A designer is creative, fun, likely to be talkative, and constantly seeking something creative to do. They won’t last long if you don’t provide enough meaningful work for them.
Logo design “may” be good
May be delivered on time
They may have a better grasp of the company’s brand
Needs constantly meaningful work + attention
Hire an in-house designer if…
Your company’s business model actually requires a graphic designer. Other than that, there’s no good reason to hire an in-house designer just to design your logo.
Where to hire an in-house designer
Things to know before hiring an agency
If your startup/business has the cashflow to support hiring an agency, then by all means go for it. However, make sure you know what benefits the agency can bring you for what you’re paying. Typically you wouldn’t just hire an agency to design you a logo. You’d hire an agency to help you with branding and that may come in the form of either a complete Brand discovery or some other cute name they give for a service that help their clients solidify their brand identity, mission, vision, values, and the whole 9 yards. You’ll likely be working with a project manager, an account manager, a graphic designer, and some other people on their team I’m sure. Your involvement will be paramount. There will be a lot of calls, meetings, email threads going back and forth, and it will be worth it if you need the full discovery package.
Full discovery of your brand
Delivered on time
Requires full commitment on your part
Hire an agency if…
You have the budget, the need, and the time commitment. And if quality isn’t something you can compromise.
Where to hire agencies?
Simply go to Google and look up “Design agencies” and happy shopping!
Things to know before choosing an online contest
If you’re on a tight budget, have absolutely no clue what you want, and want a A LOT of design selections to choose from, then this is for you. Here’s how online contests work in a nutshell:
- You pay a small fee (usually $89 – $300) up front
- Describe what you want (or what you think you want)
- About 10 – 20 designers will now receive your request and will design what they think you want (no communications required)
- Wait a few days and receive 10 – 20 logo concepts
- Choose what you like and suggest revisions if needed
- Finalize and download
Pretty straight forward and no fuss process. Do keep in mind that this is only good if you don’t have a solid grasp of what you want. So if you’re starting out fresh and don’t have your mission, vision, and core values identified, online contests are the way to go. This will likely be a one time relationship between you and the designer as most platforms prohibit direct contact. So even they nailed the design, chances are you won’t be able to hire the same designer again to do subsequent design work for you.
Reasonable quality (if you’re not picky)
Can’t hire same designer again
Can’t integrate designer into your team or build a long term relationship with them
Hire a design contest if…
You’re looking for something quick, cheap, and have no plans for that designer to do anything else for you…ever again.
How to start a design contest
The following companies offer design contests.
Things to know before hiring an Unlimited Graphic Design service
Unlimited graphic designs are a new breed of design service that caters to the growing population of startups, entrepreneurs, and fast growing small businesses. An unlimited graphic design service does exactly what you think they do. You can submit as many design requests as you want, and they’ll get them all done one at a time. That’s the typical model. And they range in prices from $79/m up to $499/m.
They’re not exactly a good fit if you’re on a budget, because it’s a subscription model, meaning you’ll be paying that $79 – $499 every single month.
However, if you have a marketing team that constantly needs new ads, flyers, social media posts, posters, and marketing materials, these guys are right up your ally. The the price and the potential quantity of designs they can output, it’s well worth the investment.
Quick turnaround time
Can work with the same designers who understands you
Can communicate with your designer/project manager
Useful if you need a lot of marketing materials, ads, social media designs, etc.
Expensive if you don’t have the monthly needs for design (cheap if you do)
Some companies can be limited and not offer Logo as a part of the offering
Hire an unlimited graphic design company if…
You’re a growing startup/business that has a a need for constant designs in addition to your logo. If you’re a fast growing company chances are you’ll need a design team to constantly design ads, promotional/marketing materials, flyers, newsletters, business cards, stationary, etc., then unlimited graphic design is the way to go for you.
How to hire an unlimited graphic design company:
Go to Penji and sign up. 🙂
Things to know before doing it yourself
Do you lack ambition for your own company, despise growth, and constantly wish your competitors to succeed? And do you enjoy dwelling in regret when you realize your logo/brand is nowhere near good enough despite countless hours spent? If so, by all means do it yourself.
All of it
Choose to design the logo yourself if…
Don’t. Just don’t.