What’s a logo worth these days? Not much, according to some. A better question would be this – what’s the cost of building your brand with pricing as your only factor?

Let’s start with this (actual) pitch..

“I need a logo for my client that i’m building a online store for xxxxxx she wants a logo. Her budget for the logo is $25. We kind of have a logo up there but she wants some something entirely different, something that encompasses her corporate name which is xxxxxx. plus also displays the actual website address. Upon accepting this job you will be transferred over to working directly with her so she can give you more details on what she likes. Keep in mind though I will need the logo in photoshop format and it will need to have a transparent background because it will be going on that header. Also note that that header is multi colored and will most likely need a white border. She’s told us a few things what she wants in a logo, she said blue text but basically you will be working with her on the design. I’m going to select the best person for her budget. I can’t take them at any higher price because she has already told me the limit she will spend. Please post links to some of your work, I will not take a bid without some samples of past work, and positive feedback ratings are typically a must so I can trust that the work is actually yours.”

It seems pretty clear to me that if you’ve only budgeted $25 (or less) for your new company logo, your business plan needs a little bit of a rework. After all, this is the mark that’s going to be among the first things any potential client sees. It has to sum up, in a nano-second, what your company is about and attempts to give a lasting (favorable) impression. Your logo is going to be the cornerstone of all your marketing efforts and will, hopefully, last the lifetime of your company. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that any ‘designer’ (and I use the term loosely) who, for $25 (or less,) is willing to put in the R & D, concepts and back-and-forth that is generally required for any logo design project, probably isn’t the most experienced and/or skilled person for the job.

Bang for the buck?

Hiring some kid at the local high school for your logo is great (gives them some terrific experience) and I’m all for it, but even then, throw them a few more bucks than the pitch above. Hell, the first ‘professional’ logo gig I ever had was the development of my high school radio station logo (as part of a design contest) and even then (w-a-a-a-y back then) I received the princely sum of $100. My logo was selected because it was ‘neat.’ The name, Chinguacousy Radio, even though long and complicated (it’s pronounced Ching-waa-coo-see) could be viewed regardless of whether the radio logo was right side up or not (as in a turntable.) While this was arguably clever (especially for a 14 year old), because of the visual gymnastics I had to do to accomplish such a feat, the final image didn’t do much for the readability of the text. it never even occurred to me that I needed to factor in the aspects of a logo that I now know are important and just made a pretty cool picture that happened to feature the name of the radio station. Here’s the thing – it looked incredibly complex when reproduced small, gummed up when reproduced in black and white (though admittedly, it did look pretty killer eight-feet-tall on the school cafeteria wall.) None of this mattered – I was $100 richer and had the bragging rights. And it wasn’t that I ignored the basic rules of designing a logo, I just didn’t know they existed. Because I was a kid in high school.

Just not ready?

If you’re dangling $25 bones as a lure, you shouldn’t really expect a professional to take your bid seriously, and any bids that you do receive aren’t (and I’m going out on a limb here) from people who understand the value, and importance, of an effective logo design either. They’ve figured out a way to spend time on your brand that’s reflective of the amount of money you’re paying (that usually spells recycled design or knocked-off entirely.) If your budget for a logo is only $25 (or thereabouts) it’s also pretty safe to say that your company is not ready to undertake serious branding just yet. Better to develop the bones of your company and revisit the logo design part at a time when you can start out right – approaching its development professionally from both client and designer perspectives. I’ve always argued that name recognition with no logo is actually better than owning an awful logo.

That’s not to say you have to spend thousands and thousands – you don’t – but $25 is pretty well an insult (though I notice on the referenced job post the bidding topped off at $20. Sigh). There are lots of reasonably priced logo design solutions (shameless plug warning – The Logo Factory is but one.) At least the $25 logo bid recognizes one of the true dangers of shopping your logo project in this manner – namely getting a ripped off design – when they ask for ratings so that they can “can trust that the work “is actually (the designers)”.

Lots of reasonable solutions.

Now, you might argue that I have an axe to grind (which obviously I do), but even pro-small-business stalwarts like Entrepreneur Magazine realize the importance of an effective logo and the value of same. In their How to Create a Logo feature (fairy decent for a general overview), they suggest that you shouldn’t nickle-and-dime on this vitally important aspect of your business:

“Don’t hire someone just because of their bargain price. Find a designer who’s familiar with your field . . . and with your competition. If the cost still seems exorbitant, Evenson says, “remember that a good logo should last at least 10 years. If you look at the amortization of that cost over a 10-year period, it doesn’t seem so bad. Your logo is the foundation of all your promotional materials, so this is one area where spending a little more now can really pay off later.”

Pretty solid advice. And while it’s true that you probably can get someone to design your logo for a paltry fee, you have to ask yourself – is this a wise investment? Is it really an effective logo value vs. cost decision? Better off spending the cash on a decent meal, and devoting a little more time on your business plan as you savor that $25 steak. Or, you can spend $20 on a burger and just get yourself a $5 logo on Fiverr.

Tell them the guy from The Logo Factory sent ya.