Don't Hire A Logo Designer Until You've Read This Guide

Logo design

Hire A Logo Designer With This Free Guide

February 25, 2020, by


Logo-design-guide


Ever notice whenever you remember brands like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Facebook, and Mastercard, you think of their logos? It’s because logos are one of the most important visual assets a business should ever have.

Creating logos may seem easy especially for those logos that use their company names. Special care and thought go into those logos, and it’s all thanks to graphic designers. Freelancers, graphic design agencies, or seasoned professionals can create a simple or custom logo.

You can find a graphic designer for logo work anywhere on the internet. You can find them through freelance directories, job search sites, or even social media (if you look close enough). 

As someone looking to hire a graphic designer, you need to remember the fees, graphic design particulars, and expectations that come with logo designing. From there, you can further assess which graphic designer is a good fit for the project.

Penji is an unlimited graphic design service that can help you out with your design needs. You can ask for anything from logos, flyers, packaging, and website design. Our team of graphic designers will produce high-quality visual assets (at a low cost!) to develop your branding identity.

Do you need a logo designed?


If you’re a new business, then you absolutely need a logo, so go ahead and skip this section.

Related guide: How to start a small business for less than $1000

If you’re an existing business, ask yourself this question…do you “need” a new logo? Or do you just simply “want” one? Choosing a logo, regardless of what stage of the business you’re in, is an important and consequential decision.

So before you even consider hiring anyone to re-design your logo, make sure it serves a real purpose. And that you’re not just looking for a new logo because someone said yours is outdated, or you feel the need to be “trendy”.  The following series of questions will help determine whether your need is strong enough to consider a logo re-design.

  1. Why do you want a new logo?
  2. What don’t you like about your current logo?
  3. Does your current logo stand out and is easy to recognize from all your competitors?
  4. Will a new logo help re-position your brand in your market?
  5. Can a new logo potentially improve business/sales goals?
  6. Does your current logo communicate what you do or who you are?
  7. Is your current logo hurting your business?
  8. Does your current logo fit nicely on print and digital marketing materials?
  9. Does your team/staff like the current logo?
  10. How much will it cost you if you keep the current logo?

Once you’ve asked yourself the questions above, you should have a better idea if you need a logo re-design or not.

Cost of logo design


One of the first things my clients ask me when discussing a rebranding is “how much is a logo design going to cost me?” And I have to give the non-binding “it depends” response. Not that I don’t know the answer, but because my client doesn’t know the actual cost of hiring a graphic designer for logos. Hiring a graphic designer to do a flyer for a company event can cost you between $200 – $500. Meanwhile hiring a professional logo designer can range between $1000 – $100,000.

Why the absurd difference?

Because a flyer doesn’t need approval from the entire board of directors, the CEO, and the founders. The people who can make the decision to finalize a flyer can be anyone on the marketing team. Should there be a mistake on the flyer, it’s at most a $500 mistake.

A logo, on the other hand, requires more time commitment from both the company’s executives AND the designer. It can be a labor-intensive process requiring countless hours of research and revisions. And should there be a mistake that’s not found right away, it’ll likely be a $100,000 mistake down the road.

The hourly trap. $500/hour vs $35/hour

Many clients complain that logo design is too expensive. It’s a common challenge experienced designers have. There’s no standardize metric to put a price on talent, skills, and a designer’s ability to just “get it” and in the first try. Working with an inexperienced designer, you’ll probably end up spending more because it’ll take them 100 revisions and you still might end up with a mediocre logo.

Meanwhile, hiring a professional graphic designer for logos might look like it costs more in terms of the hourly rate, but they can knock it out of the park within 1-2 revisions. And you’ll end up much happier with your logo. A designer’s incompetence is a hidden cost of logo design clients end up paying for. Don’t fall for the hourly trap.

Whatever you do, don’t be cheap!

If you decide that you need to hire a graphic designer, then be willing to spend a bit of money to get quality. I’ve seen a lot of founders and business owners try to design a logo themselves and opted to not hire a graphic designer to save a few bucks, only to regret it later. Rebranding after you’ve already established your branding can be expensive and time-consuming. DO NOT cheapen out on the most important piece of graphic your company will ever possess and embody. Especially with the wide variety of logo design options nowadays, you’ll be able to find the best option that fits what you’re going for. Apparently, in an infographic by Micro Creatives, over 67% of small businesses are willing to pay $500 for a logo.

How long should it take?

3 days vs 6 months comparison

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 the 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.

Hiring vs DIY

Why should you hire a graphic designer when you can just do it yourself? This is the trap that many businesses and founders fall into because they want to save money. Unless you don’t value your time and you believe spending 100+ hours (yes, it can take that long) to design your own logo and branding is better than focusing on your business.

DIY is more expensive than you think…

There’s never a good reason to design the logo yourself and there are countless horror stories to discourage you otherwise. I once was contracted to help re-design a logo for a major family-owned insurance company. They started the business about 30 years ago with just 4 people and today grew into a $100M+ business with hundreds of employees. The father designed the logo himself a long time ago, and since it’s been passed down to his sons, they need a new and updated look.

The cost for me to re-design their logo was negligible compared to the astronomical cost of them changing the logo on their building, their fleet of cars, every business cards/flyers/promotional materials/T-shirts. The entire re-branding of just the logo easily costs them several fortunes.

Their lesson? “I wish my dad just hired someone…”

Hire a logo designer online

freelance designer sitting at computer

If you hire an online freelance graphic designer, 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. When choosing to hire graphic design freelancers, be mindful of the time commitment on your end. You’ll need to find websites that permit freelance graphic designers for hire postings and post the listing there.

Hiring a freelance creative online is quick, easy, and affordable. However, there are a few key things you should know before hiring one.

  1. Gamble: It really is a gamble. Unless you get lucky and find a highly talented and dependable designer
  2. Flexible deadline: Your logo will probably take a lot longer to complete than promised
  3. Poor communication: They’ll be responsive in the beginning, but communication can start to fade off once the project begins and deposit made because you’re not the only client they’re working with.
  4. May not take criticisms well: 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.
  5. Overpromise underdeliver: 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 low up-front cost, working with freelancers will require a lot of administrative work from you to ensure you get your logo. If you have a lot of free time and the patience of a Saint, by all means, give this a try. If you’re looking for a more robust and dependable working relationship, then continue reading the other suggestions.

Note: By no means am I saying that freelancers are horrible to work with (I’m one myself). I’m pointing out that it’s not as straightforward as most people think. And oftentimes if you enter the relationship not having realistic expectations, both you and the freelancer will be disappointed. The relationship and work can be outstanding if you have the time, patience, and understanding when working with a freelancer.

Pros: 

  1. Affordable

Cons:

  1. Unreliable communication
  2. Unpredictable delivery
  3. They can ghost you
  4. 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. And also if you’re willing to put in the time to manage the projects and patient enough to work through communication/delivery challenges.

How to hire designers online

There are many ways to hire a designer online. The most common way would be uploading your job posting on a hiring website and then vetting the designers who apply. Usually, you’ll need to jump on a skype call to get to know them and see if you’re a good fit to work together.

Here’s how the online hiring process usually works:

  1. Write well-written job posting: I put this as #1 because it’s a crucial step. A well-written job description will attract 3x more potential candidates. A poorly written one will likely only attract low-level designers.
  2. Create an account on hiring websites: There’s a handful of websites that lets you upload job postings. Visit and create your account on them. Make sure to choose a legitimate company name and if it’s possible to describe what your company does, be descriptive and take advantage of the space. Also always upload a company logo, as it indicates that you’re a serious employer.
  3. Upload job posting: Upload your newly created posting to as many as you see fit.
  4. Vet candidates: Now that the applications are rolling in, it’s time to vet them. If they didn’t include a portfolio, ask them to send you one. When it comes to choosing a designer, nothing is more important than their portfolio. If their portfolio doesn’t impress you, chances are their future work for you won’t either.
  5. Schedule interviews: Once you’ve vetted the potential candidates, schedule an interview with them. How you conduct the interview is entirely up to you. For me, I usually schedule a Skype video call.
  6. Hire: Once you found a freelancer that has a portfolio you like and they did well on the interview, hire them and assign your logo design project.

Where you can post your job:

  1. Upwork
  2. Guru
  3. Freelancers

Related reading: Reasons To Invest In A Professional Logo Designer

Hiring a logo designer in-house

inhouse graphic designer wearing red shirt
If your business requires a full-time designer on staff to do other design work, then you should consider bringing on an in-house 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 onboard. 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 can add a lot of energy and life to your work culture and can be a valuable asset.

But similar to hiring a designer online, finding the right fit for your office will still pose some of the same challenges. You’ll still need to post a job or find a recruiting agency to source talents for you. And you’ll need to conduct in-person interviews to determine if they’re a good fit. It’s a much longer and more involved process than vetting and interviewing someone online. So make sure you’re prepared for that.

Pros: 

  1. Better and more controlled quality design work
  2. More likely to turn assignments in on time
  3. Add to company culture

Cons:

  1. Payroll
  2. Insurance
  3. Health benefits

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

Post the job on Indeed or Glassdoor. Or you can hire a recruiting agency to find talents for you to interview. You’ll most likely be hiring someone locally.

Monster is also another site you can consider to find a new graphic designer for logo work or branding purposes.

You should always aim to widen your job search to screen potential applicants. This is in case one of them falls out or doesn’t meet your expectations during the application process.

Hiring an agency

Business man in meeting with agency

If your startup/business has the cash flow 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’d hire an agency to design more than just a logo for you.

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 helps 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.

Your involvement will be paramount. There will be a lot of calls, meetings, email threads going back and forth. You’ll be asked on a weekly (or even daily) basis to review and give feedback. An agency will hound you for information in order to get the work done, and will likely deliver on their promises.

They’re also great resources to connect you with website/app developers, or other resources that you might need after getting your logo and brand established.

When it’s best to hire an agency

The cost of logo design will typically be more if you hire an agency. The service you would get with an agency includes a lot more than just the logo design work. Agencies will usually proposal brand discovery or a rebrand, which would be more comprehensive and involved.

Just know if you’re choosing an agency you’re getting a plethora of other services, not just logo design. And as such, prepare to pay significantly more for it. You can expect to pay between $2500 – $10,000 for a mid-tier agency to help with your rebrand.

Pros:

  1. Full discovery of your brand
  2. Quality work
  3. Delivered on time
  4. Connected resources

Cons:

  1. Expensive
  2. Requires full commitment on your part

Hire an agency if…

You have the budget, the need, and the time commitment. And if the quality isn’t something you can compromise.

Design Agencies

Most design agencies bring a lot to the table. Especially those who have worked with big brands. Design agencies have some of the best graphic designers on their teams to accomplish any project. Not only that, when you have a design agency, they can also take care of your branding. It means they can put your logos in your clothing or office. 

Where to hire agencies?

Simply go to Google and look up “Design agencies” and happy shopping!

Other platforms to hire graphic designers

Networking

Your networks are one of your strongest assets in finding graphic designers. Most likely, they might have hired a graphic designer for a project, an in-house one, or a design agency to help them accomplish visual assets.

So don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation that any of your networks may have had worked with well in the past. That way, you know you’re in good hands with your logos.

Post on Social Media

It may be the last place where you can find a graphic designer, but sometimes it helps if you post an advertisement through social media. Especially if you use the right keywords.

Here’s the thing, social media is a way to get your brand or business known. It helps if you have a social media account linked to your website. That way, a potential applicant can see your post online.

To get started, you can post on social media sites like Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

If you have some money to spare, you can use social media advertisements to find your graphic designers. You can publish job postings through Facebook or Instagram. 

LinkedIn is also a great way to find new talent. Searching for “freelance graphic designer” can yield the results you need. Many young professionals realize the value of having a LinkedIn profile, so you or your company’s recruiter should use LinkedIn.

Plus, sending a message to someone on LinkedIn is free. So you don’t have to spend too much just to recruit a graphic designer to produce your logo.

Creating an online contest


If you’re on a tight budget, have absolutely no clue what you want, and want many design selections to choose from, then this is for you. Here’s how online contests work in a nutshell:

  1. You pay a small fee (usually $89 – $300) upfront
  2. Describe what you want (or what you think you want)
  3. About 10 – 20 designers will now receive your request and will design what they think you want (no communications required)
  4. Wait a few days and receive 10 – 20 logo concepts
  5. Choose what you like and suggest revisions if needed
  6. Finalize and download

It’s a pretty straightforward 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.

Pros:

  1. Affordable
  2. Quick
  3. Reasonable quality (if you’re not picky)

Cons:

  1. No communication
  2. one-time project
  3. Can’t hire the same designer again
  4. 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.

  1. 99designs
  2. Design Crowd
  3. Crowd Spring

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 price and the potential quantity of designs they can output, it’s well worth the investment.

Pros:

  1. Affordable
  2. Dependable
  3. Good quality
  4. Quick turnaround time
  5. Can work with the same designers who understand you
  6. Can communicate with your designer/project manager
  7. Useful if you need a lot of marketing materials, ads, social media designs, etc.

Cons:

  1. Expensive if you don’t have the monthly needs for design (cheap if you do)
  2. 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, stationery, 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, despite growth, and constantly wish for 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.

Pros: 
None

Cons: 
All of it

Choose to design the logo yourself if…
Don’t. Just don’t.

Can’t afford to hire a logo designer?

Business woman hold head

If you’re cash strapped and you absolutely can’t afford to hire someone to design a logo for you, then we recommend the following methods to get yourself a logo. It’s not ideal, but still better than doing it yourself. I’m sure by now you can get the sense that I’m doing everything I can to steer you away from designing your own logo (unless you have the talent).

  1. Exchange service: Email graphic designers in your area and ask if they’d be willing to barter and exchange services. Hopefully what your business has to offer is valuable to them.

Tried the method above but couldn’t get anyone to help? *Sigh* I guess you have no choice but to design it yourself. Luckily for you, I have a technique that will let you get a pretty reasonable logo even with minimal talents. Just follow the methods below and you’ll be able to DIY yourself an acceptable logo. I call this method the “Frankenstein” method because it’s a font-based logo with the aid of an icon. Also because it’s unholy and forbidden…like what Dr. Frankenstein did.

  1. Choose a Font: First, you’re going to go to DaFont and start looking for a good looking Font that fits your style. Download and install the font.
  2. Choose an icon: Now go to either Freepik or Flaticon and start searching for the perfect icon to go with your Font logo. Be sure to pay the proper respect to the author of the icons. They’re the graphic designers you didn’t hire.
  3. Choose a color scheme: Now let’s find a good color palette for your new logo. Head over to Coloors, click “Start the generator” and keep spamming the “Space bar” until you find a color you like. Click on the Lock icon so it holds onto that color, and keep hitting space for it to find the perfect complementary colors for you. Once you have at least 2-3 complementary colors and their hex codes, write them down. Now you’re ready to piece your Frankenstein of a logo together.
  4. Choosing design software: The preferred tool would be Photoshop or some professional design software. If you don’t have Photoshop, then a great alternative would be Pixlr. It’s a free online design tool that gives you the basic functions of Photoshop and will be crucial for designing your own logo. You’ll need to watch up on some Youtube tutorials to learn how to use Pixlr effectively. It’s fairly straight forward though, so you’ll be fine.
  5. Piecing it together: Fire up your design software and put the Icon on the left, Name of your business (using new font) on the right, and play around with the colors. BAM! Save that disgraced of a logo and call it a day. You’re all done.

As you can see, it’s acceptable. But definitely nothing to write home about. Please only consider this method if you absolutely cannot afford a logo.

How to Work With A Designer 

colored post its

Now that you’ve seen the pros and cons of the different ways to get a business logo, it’s relatively easy to choose which one to go for. When you’ve made your decision, it’s time to prepare yourself for the designer. As with any other industry, every graphic designer is different, and getting to know them before you embark on your logo designing journey is essential. 

In this section, we’ll teach you some ways how you can get the best design from your graphic designer. Communication is the key to successfully designing your company logo. Follow these simple tips: 

What Are Your Expectations? 

Designing a logo isn’t the sole responsibility of a designer. You have to know what you want to gain from it, your objectives, goals, and expectations for the designer to do their job well. Talk to your designer about all these and ask them for their input as well as suggestions that can make the design go precisely as you want it. 

Tell them about your target audience, the image you want your brand to project, and the style that you want them to use. Once you establish what your business logo needs, the graphic designer can now start with their sketches and rough designs. 

Share Some Examples 

After communicating what your logo idea is, it’s always recommended to show your designer some examples. You’re not asking them to copy it; it’s telling them what you like and what you don’t. Humans are visual beings, and your designer will get a better grasp of what you want if you show them something that they can see. 

Graphic designers aren’t mind readers. Although they understand logo designing better than anyone else in your company, they need to know what it is you want from them. 

Give Quality Feedback 

Constructive criticism is always welcome when you hire someone to create a company logo design for you. Graphic designers thrive on getting feedback for their work. You are two distinct individuals and may see things differently, so always make an effort to give them honest feedback on their work. 

The creative process takes time and several adjustments to get the perfect logo for your brand. Always let your designer know how you feel and what you think needs changed or improved. 

Get to Know Basic Design Terms 

It’s not mandatory, but it surely helps to understand some basic terms that are used in the graphic design industry. Typography, color schemes, composition, and texture are just some of the words you’ll frequently hear from your graphic designer. However, if there’s something you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to ask. 

Set Realistic Expectations

Don’t expect that the logo would have your expected vision. If you’re asking for a custom logo, it may take time (depending on the graphic designer’s skills) to have your expectations realized. At the start of the project, you have to voice what you want. It prevents further misunderstanding of the design you wish to have.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask

Maybe there’s a specific element in the design you’re not getting. Or perhaps there’s something in the design that isn’t to your liking. Don’t be hesitant in asking about the graphic designer’s work. That way, you’re able to learn more about the graphic designer’s mindset in creating your logo and the process it took to do it.

Also, if you ask about the design further, you can get an idea of what other aspects of a design you might haven’t encountered yet. From there, you will have more knowledge about design for your upcoming projects.

Examples of Logo Designs

Not all logos created by graphic designers get praised. Since logos are usually the first thing people notice when they see a business or a brand. Bad logo designs can get a reputation for not being in line with the brand. Also, a poor logo design does set some critics off.

verizon emblem

Many critics aren’t a fan of Verizon’s logo. One even hailing it as “one of the worst logos” ever. The gradient white and yellow background was met with backlash. The letters v and z were also emphasized in many criticisms of the logo.

Another bad logo is from when Gap rebranded. I bet you’re familiar with the navy blue Gap logo background and the white text. Well, when Gap made a design overhaul for their logo, the signature navy blue became gradient. The box also reduced into something small as well.

google emblem

Meanwhile, good logo designs can encapsulate the brand even if it’s just a simple logo. Not only that, good logos can have a retentive effect. Logos from Apple, Nike, and Google capture the essence of their brand.

amazon emblem

Cleverly designed logos like FedEx (arrow) and Amazon (smile) get acclaim for hiding a subtle message inside the logo.

Final Thoughts

Much like building a house, having your logo designed requires you to trust in the process. Understand that designing needs time and that sometimes, what you get isn’t 100% what you expect. This shouldn’t prompt you to quit; instead, know that it will take time and lots of communication with your designer to get the perfect logo for your brand.

About the author

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