You don’t need a logo.
February 13, 2017 • 3:55 PM
“How much for a logo?” If I had $1 for every time someone asked me that, let’s just say I wouldn’t have to charge for logos anymore. In the decade since I started selling design, I’ve charged anywhere from $50 up into five figures for said logos, so the question isn’t always as simple as you might think. 

We designers, art directors, and makers of things (at least, most of us) base our prices off of an hourly rate. Of course, this varies from one pixel-mover to another, but the value of most design is going to be based off the time it took someone to make it. This not only requires that we be honest with ourselves about how quickly we work, but also that the client understand that there’s going to be a price difference between a logo based on a typeface and one that’s a painstakingly intricate hand-lettered design.

But enough about logos. The simple fact of the matter is, you don’t need one.

I know. You think I’m outside of my mind. Why would I – someone who makes a living making logos – tell you not to spend your hard-earned money on one? The answer is, it’s not a logo that makes your brand or business stand out. It’s your branding. 

Most of us creatives are perfectly happy to design you a logo and send you off into the world with it. Most of us will even give you typography guidelines and suggestions if you ask. I usually even include color palettes and alternate versions of logos I design. But that isn’t what you need. The real question you should ask yourself before you decide to brand (or re-brand) your business is this: when the .png and .eps files are delivered, the bill is paid, and the fonts are downloaded, what are you going to do with that logo? 

This is why what you actually need is branding.

The reason that I can design a layout featuring any word in plain white Helvetica Neue Bold on a red background, and you know who the ad is for without a hint is simple: branding. Confused? See below.
Example A. Chances are, if asked to associate this image a brand, you'd say Target. And how did you know that? Simple math, my friends: consistency + time = brand equity
Consistency across platforms over time build brand equity, and that is something every company can benefit from. 

A logo is not your brand. Your brand is the voice, the message, and the spirit of your company. And that’s not always easy to figure out. A common problem we run into as designers is that once the logo and color palette are established, clients often want to roll into larger products. That’s fine, but it makes for a very dry and impersonal annual report, album package, or website when all you have to go off of is a logo, a font, and a couple of colors. 

So before you start shopping around for a logo, ask yourself if you’ve got a brand. And if not, let’s talk. The journey to good branding is actually a lot of fun for all parties involved, and our team would love to help you down that path.
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