Why do your services cost so much?
This is a common question we hear as creatives. It doesn’t matter if it’s photographers or designers, makers or painters. I’m going to explain to you why my prices are what they are.
Let’s start with the basics of what I do for a logo design. When I start my process of design(even if it’s not a logo), I spend most of my time emailing or talking to the client. We start with simple things like “what are you looking for?” and go into “do you have any ideas of what you like?” I then will also send a questionnaire that will go more in depth. I read that over once it’s sent back, we discuss everything you are looking for to make sure I completely understand, talk pricing, and I will send a contract over. Total time: 2-3 hours
Once I go over the basics, I will start to research. This includes finding logos in your similar field to see what the competition is doing, looking at design styles that you like, and searching for fonts. Although this seems like it would be an easy task, font searching is very difficult. I’ve attached an example as to why.
The top font, Baskerville, is very different from Times New Roman. You can see differences in the weight of the font, but also in each individual letter. Let’s look at the “p” for example. Baskerville is more rounded, while Times New Roman is taller, more oval shaped. I take this into consideration for every font I choose. I look at the tiny details, decide if it’s the style I was thinking in my head, and keep digging. Check out Google’s Font Library. They have 818 fonts on this website alone. This doesn’t include the custom fonts you can buy on Creative Market or MyFont. Total time: 3-4 hours
Next step is sketching logos. I always start on paper. This gives me the most freedom to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Each logo I create starts with about 40-50 different attempts on paper. I then narrow it down to a few to try on the computer. Total time: 2-3 hours
So far, in just the beginning steps, I’ve already put 7-10 hours into just the beginning of creating a logo.
Moving onto the fun stuff. Computer roughs, color studies, and the final logo.
Once I’ve decided on a few logos to test on the computer, I start with Illustrator. I scan the logos in, open them in Illustrator, and begin to trace and make the logo come to life. I always start with black as the color, which is what I send as the first elimination round. I know that most people don’t want a plain black logo, but there is method to this madness(which will be a later blog post). This is probably the hardest step in designing a logo because you don’t have the freedom you have on paper. There is sometimes a lot of trial and error going into creating certain shapes. Also included into this step is font choices. Sometimes I have three or four fonts that I think might work. I’ll download them, install them, and test them with each logo I create. After I find 3-4 logos I think the client will like, I send them over for you to think about and decide what you do or don’t like. An example of this step is below. Total time: 4-5 hours
Once I have feedback on the first set of logos, I go back in and tweak. And guess what, we’re not even to color yet! I work hard on making sure the logo is exactly what the client wants. So I tweak and tweak until we get it right. This means I could have 4-5 variations of one single logo. I then send them back over, and let you decide if they are working for you or not. This step example is below. Total time: 3-4 hours
Once the single color logo has been decided on, we can finally move on to color. This is where the fun comes in. Most companies have an idea of color they want to portray. A travel agency is going to want bright, fun colors. A bank will want modest, classic colors. Knowing an idea of the mood the client wants will help this process move faster. I’ve put an example of color studies for The Ohio Shakespeare Festival logo I worked on in school to show you how many colors I test before sending them off to the client. This is my favorite part of the design process because this is when you seen a logo starting to take the brand on. Each of these colors give a different feeling. Some feel dark, some are light and airy. This is why color is so important to a brand. I take the time to research colors as well. For the project below, I wanted to make sure the colors were part of Shakespeare’s time period. There is always meaning behind the colors I choose. Total time: 2-3 hours
Once the client decides on the colors they like, I can finalize everything and send it off. I save each logo as a .jpg, .gif, .eps, and .pdf. The time it takes to save the files is longer than one might think. I also package up the files into a ZIP folder, and place them into Dropbox to upload so I can send a link off for the client to download. Total time: 30 minutes
All said and done, the total time it takes to create a logo from scratch is 17-20 hours.
So let’s say a logo costs $300. That means I’m being paid $15-17 an hour, which is below average for someone who has a full time job in this field. If you have a budget you are looking to stay in, we can discuss and make sure you get what you want in your price range. I hope that I can open up about my field and the choices I’ve made as a business owner, and be transparent with my clients.