Can you tell the difference between these two logos?
Color palette? A bit. Shape? Definitely. Yet the main difference is the $211,000,000 that was spent on the rebranding. That must be a really good logo.
On second thought, that price may be a bit too much. I’d do it for $210,000,000.
I guess after a certain point you just can’t tell if the logo is worth a million more or a million less. And I don’t have enough money to test it out anyway.
However, I did have enough money to check if there’s a difference between a $5 logo and a $250 one. Here’s how it went.
There are many places to get a logo for $5 – plenty of online logo makers, builders, and generators. But I wanted to work with a human designer. And if you read my previous articles, you’ll see I have a soft spot for one particular place.
So I found this one guy with nice reviews and made my order:
I deliberately made my request kinda vague. Because this is how I feel like most clients (especially first-timers) formulate their requirements in the beginning.
I would love him to ask me a bunch of follow-up questions. But you shouldn’t expect that for a $5 logo. And guess what, he didn’t ask any.
After 3 days, I got my logo.
And that’s it. That’s what you get for $5. Press “order complete” and the designer will get $5.
However, I remembered about something I saw in his description.
I had no desire for torture, but I decided to explore the rabbit hole and asked for a revision. After all, it stated I had an unlimited amount of them.
I got the reply within an hour.
Finally, a follow-up question. I sent the logos that I like.
And after two days, I got a revised version of my logo:
Now, how can you say “no” to the logo that is basically combined of things that you sent yourself? The font, the flat design, the gloomy color palette. I just decided to check and see if I could weave in one last touch:
It’s been 30 days since that last message, and I’m still waiting for my bubble. I guess that’s it, and that’s what you get for $5.
Frankly speaking, I think the designer earned each one of those dollars already. The last request of mine was just to check on this whole “unlimited revisions” thingy. For $5 I got 2 follow-up questions, 1 revision, and 2 designs. Not bad.
What will I get for $250?
Truth be told, this whole TopSoap venture is not actually a made-up example.
My friend and I had this small business idea – we were going to sell handmade soap. Just like in Fight Club, only we weren’t going to use human fat. But we fought each other every day, that’s for sure.
His job was to make soap and mine to sell it.
One of my first tasks was to come up with our logo. I was positive it wouldn’t take much time or money. Ha…
I hired a professional graphic designer to help me. And before we even started, she sent a list of questions regarding the task:
What and why do we sell?
Who is our target audience?
What do we want our logo to say to people?
What’s the main competition and where are we better?
Wishes (if any), inspirations, references…
I didn’t have even half of the answers. I gradually addressed each one of these, at the same time learning more about my own business. That was unexpected.
After all the questions were answered I came out with something like a mood board for the future design:
Within a short amount of time, my designer presented her first design:
She also provided me with a few sketches in case I wanted to juggle with some elements in a finished mockup:
After a few back and forth attempts we came to a finished version:
I really loved this design.
Then came the part that I’m not proud of. Turns out, after all the questions and discussions and sketches I learned a lot about my own soap business. And I found that my audience of adult women were not particularly fond of steampunk as much as I was.
We needed something more human and relatable. Like, a hand holding a bar of soap. Brilliant idea, I thought. My designer nodded and started to sketch all my “brilliant” ideas. And the $250 price still covered this work.
Here are just a few of sketches of many that she sent back to me:
At some point, she even sent me two pages of sketches of just hand gestures. Sadly I couldn’t find them for this article. Even more sadly, none of them “clicked”.
Seeing all the hands on the paper made me think whether having hands in the design was a good idea at all. I was really lost there. And, unfortunately, my designer was the one suffering.
Probably seeing how delirious I was going to become soon, she took the matter into her own hands. My last contribution was to change the name – from “Lucky Soap” to “Top Soap”. Because after asking around 30 people, I realized that they preferred to spend money on quality, not luck.
This is what she sent me:
One of these “clicked” with me instantly. So we went with it.
It was simple, it was clean, and, funny enough, had a steampunk vibe to it. It could be easily carved on the soap itself and was easy to print elsewhere. My designer managed to accumulate all the noise I provided her during these weeks and make something out of it.
I didn’t just get a logo. During all the time we worked together, I got countless sketches of my ideas on paper, follow-up questions, and motivation to learn more about my own business than I thought was possible. This is what I got for $250.
Let’s say the average designer’s salary in the US is $19 per hour. For $5 you buy roughly 15 minutes of a designer’s time (an hour in the less developed countries). What can you expect within 15 minutes of work? Not many questions asked, the designer will just get to the result ASAP and maybe the money will be worth their time.
Frankly, I don’t believe that any person can immerse themselves into a project within 15 minutes, no matter their skill set. At best, you’re aiming at clean, but shallow work.
For $250 you buy at least 10 hours of a designer’s time. During that time, a designer learns more about your project, and his or her work becomes more deeply rooted in it.
I wouldn’t say that a $250 logo will always look more beautiful than a $5 logo, but it will definitely have a deeper meaning.
You can always use the $5 option if you absolutely know every detail about what you want and can explain it in a way that even a 5-year-old could understand. With pictures. Someone will execute your idea and, with a bit of luck, it will be ok.
In short: a $5 logo is an execution. A $250 logo is a collaboration.
If the $5 logo is a pit stop, the $250 one is a road trip. You never know where it may lead you, but you will definitely learn something new on the way.
About the author: Andrew started at Icons8 as a usability specialist, conducting interviews and usability surveys. He desperately wanted to share his findings with our professional community and started writing insightful and funny (sometimes both) stories for our blog.
Title image: Ouch! Icons8 illustration project
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