$20 Logos. You Know They Can’t be Real Right?

I discovered a new website this week offering customers unlimited logo designs for $20. What do their customers expect in return for the price of a movie ticket? Do they really believe they are getting a custom identity? Thinking $20 pays for enough of a graphic designers time to create anything worthwhile is like believing in miniature hippos. The video is a Canadian television public service announcement produced by Concerned Children’s Advertisers.

Comment

  • Speider says:
    Apr 25 at 10:57

    As we all have seen on sites like elance or odesk, there are people who will do logos for $5. In a poor country, $5 goes a long way. Will it be a brand? Of course not, but does a local dry cleaner care about a brand? Small business owners care about it being $20 or under. Chances are, they will never discover it is the same picture icon that is used on hundreds of other “logos” with the exception of their name being typeset across the image.

    $20 doesn’t buy much and it won’t buy a brand… unless some newly graduated art student wants a “portfolio piece” and creates a logo and brand for $20. That, in the end, only helps lower their own rates down the line, but that’s another article, isn’t it?

  • Steve Zelle says:
    Apr 25 at 01:52

    I always appreciate your comments Speider, and this is no exception.

    As you say, “picture icon” is what you get for $20.

    Six months after the dry cleaner you speak of has plastered his clip art globe/swoosh/arrow on his building, website, and vans, another dry cleaner opens up across the street with some thought about her brand.

    A year on and the dry cleaner has covered his windows with hand painted signs announcing every type of possible promotional pricing to compete.

    In eighteen months, the dry cleaner from across the street walks over to buy the equipment for her soon to be opened second location at the going out of business sale.

    Sure, this is extreme, and the reason for failure can’t simply fall on the “picture icon”. The success however, of a company does often depend on their ability to clearly promote their value to customers. A company logo is often—especially for small businesses—an important first step in what can be the right, or wrong direction on the path of branding.

    Many thanks Jonathan!

  • Grace Oris says:
    Apr 25 at 08:27

    Here in the Philippines the minimum DAILY wage is at $10 (or lower!). Most people here would be happy over $20 and that’s all a small business owner is willing to pay. But still, just like Speider says, most likely it will be clipart and the business owner would never know or even care.

    Blame it on our poor economy or on the people not valuing themselves. Sadly we are branded as “cheap labor” because we allow ourselves to be. It’s mostly about people thinking small. Designers who charge this low are only thinking local, not global and thus limit themselves. Businesses who pay this low are only thinking of their current situations and not dreaming about their future where they could be bigger and more respected brands.

  • Speider says:
    Apr 26 at 12:06

    The problem with a global economy is that the rates do not rise to the highest level for those in poverty but deflate to the lowest, higher cost of living notwithstanding.

  • Steve Zelle says:
    Apr 28 at 08:38

    Speider, Spot on as always. Thanks.

    Grace, clearly in North America, we cannot compete on price anymore. This is an opportunity to increase focus and greatly improve our ability to explain why a $2,000+ offering varies wildly from a $20 solution. If I were a client, I would certainly want to know.

    Is there any difference in what individuals are charging for design in the Philippines versus professional design companies? Do clients choose based on price? Curious. Thanks.

  • Grace Oris says:
    Apr 29 at 02:59

    Freelancers here are charging an average of PHP4000. Looking at that price in terms of our economy, that would be just about right for a professional design. That’s around USD100. $20 would already be a good fit for someone starting out. I don’t know how much design agencies here charge, but I’m guessing in the range of PHP10000+ (USD230). I can’t really say about clients as I haven’t tried marketing myself locally. My projects here have so far been done for free for churches, friends and family. If I had to take on work locally, I would have to adjust my rates. The disparity of this world.

  • Speider says:
    Apr 29 at 07:13

    Let me ask you this, grace: when you do these free jobs, do you get total creative control or do they art direct you into something that you won’t put in your portfolio?

    Think also about this: if a church’s plumbing springs a leak, does a plumber fix it for free? Naturally, they won’t think that way about graphic design, but if you tell them you have certain expenses you need to cover to do the work or you will be out of pocket, would these people offer you $20?

    I use to get roped into doing free work for the same people. My caveat was, “I do what I want to do and you take it or leave it.”

    They always wanted just one little change (usually one big change) or a total redo because a church elder had nothing better to do or my uncle, the genius, knew a lot about everything. In the end, I would look at them and say, “so, you’re leaving it?”

    They would look at me with a blank stare. The funny thing was, after I would walk away, they always found someone who they had to pay to do it. What does that tell you? The problem is not with being asked to do it for free — the problem is you actually do it for free! You just keep devaluing your own profession. If you do it free this time, they will want it free next time, and the next time, and so on.

  • Grace Oris says:
    Apr 30 at 10:01

    Hello Speider. Actually when I mentioned that I did free projects for churches, those were churches I was involved with and I volunteered for those jobs as part of my ministry and not as jobs to make a living. That was when I was merely doing design as a hobby and earning my bread in another profession. Now that I’m seriously into design, I do not volunteer at church to do design work. I choose instead to be involved in another ministry.

    I am sorry to hear you had negative experiences with churches. For my part, I had total control and they were just grateful I was even doing it. I never thought about doing those for portfolio reasons since I didn’t take graphic design seriously then.

    Anyway, I only mentioned that to state my involvement (or lack thereof) with local clients, which is almost none because as I said, I do not market locally.

    All that said, I am still willing to do free work for non-profits and select churches and organizations that I consider in need of charity work, being charitable themselves. I am totally anti-spec, I’ve been there and I realized what it was to devalue oneself. I am all for valuing the profession and self and am now trying to get other designers to value themselves too (check out my blog if you wish). I do know when to work for free and when not to.

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