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Design Deals

This topic was already covered at Typographica a few months back, I know because I started the heated discussion. But I want to see what happens when the same “problem” is posed to designers, rather than the typographer crowd that hangs around Typographica. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

What am I talking about? Logos done for as cheap as $79, and if you hit the right price you can even get a happy meal. Do these companies hurt the Design profession? is it just too cheap? does it fill a niche?

And what about this Designer in a box? I always kid around on how if you press Shift-F3 on a computer a logo comes out. But this software does just that with prefabricated templates. This program even beats your client’s niece who draws really good and can do the logo for free.

I stated it once, and I’ll say it again, I think it hurts the design profession. Does it fill a need in the market? Definitely. Do I like it? No.

You get what you pay for.

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PUBLISHED ON Oct.03.2002 BY Armin
Martin’s comment is:


This is interesting. I�ve just gotten started in my interest for typography and type design.

I�d have to say that I�m not too happy about the sites you�ve put down as examples in this post (especially the "Designer in a box"-thing... Yech!) In my opinon people should get a well thought through logo when they pay a designer, and at the very least a post-script template that they can use for letterheads or, for that matter, billboards.

I guess My question(s) to you, Armin (or any other type-designer who feels like coming up with a resonse) are:

- How "from scratch" does a logo have to be created? Do you go as far as creating a whole new typeface, or do you ever use a font as starting material?

- How much is "enough" to charge for a logo?

- What are the criteria for a good logo? Let me try to narrow that one down a bit... I understand that relying on photoshop bevels/styles is not good enough, but is there any minimum standard a logo must adhere to before it can be called good, or is it all a bit iffy?

Just to be sure I�m not coming on in the wrong way here: I�m not trying to step on anybodys toes here. I genuinely wonder about these things. :)


On Oct.03.2002 at 01:46 PM
plain*clothes’s comment is:

Armin said...

> You get what you pay for.

exactly! why worry yourself with the rediculous clients who would take advantage of such services. these are the sort of people you do not want to work for anyway. believe me, I speak from experience.

I've worked for people who expected their identity system to cost them a couple hundred bucks! I even had a couple of people go through the entire development stage and then try to "talk some sense" into me when it came time to collect the next payment. fortunately, I've never been shafted but the point is, be glad these people have a place to turn for cheap, ugly, meaningless work.

On Oct.03.2002 at 02:12 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> How "from scratch" does a logo have to be created? Do you go as far as creating a whole new typeface, or do you ever use a font as starting material?

I'm going to answer this without taking into account the prefabricated logos, because that would be a moo point. How far from scratch? as far as you can scratch, I say.

If your client needs a logo that has to diferentiate him/her from their competition, the logo needs to come from researching the field, analyzing the target audience, studying your clients's strengths. And this doesn't have to be done in a big strategic plan, it can be as small as writing it in your sketchbook. That will tell in which direction to go and will probably determine your solution. The logo should be original, even if it looks like some other logo, there can always be something that sets it apart. Copying other logos helps no one.

Creating a typeface specifically for the logo depends on what you want to achieve, sometimes it might be necessary, others it won't be. A lot of times I use fonts to start desiging, but I alwyas use it only as a starting point to develop my ideas.

>- How much is "enough" to charge for a logo?

Depends on the type of clients you do business with, if you are Pentagram you charge theme everything but their soul, and if you are Adrift you charge them $79.

>but is there any minimum standard a logo must adhere to before it can be called good, or is it all a bit iffy?

Way to iffy, what some would consider a good logo, others might consider it bad. But you just know when a logo kicks ass.

On Oct.03.2002 at 04:12 PM
NOVICE’s comment is:

To Armin, Kiran, Tom and Others.Someone random comes to you and asks you to design a logo for their small to midsize bizness. No extras but a logo that will be used for signage and letterhead, etc.

How much do you charge?

On Oct.03.2002 at 05:45 PM
plain*clothes’s comment is:

Novice said...

> How much do you charge?

how much time will it take you (or how much time will you give it) and how much is your time worth? take into account items such as printing samples and tech time besides just conceptual development. you're the only one who can determine your rate. GAG and AIGA provide some resources for freelancers such as rate references and typical forms you will need, but you can't always count on that stuff.

On Oct.03.2002 at 06:34 PM
NOVICE’s comment is:

That is no answer...lol :D>

Cmon Plain Cloth., if this is an open forum to discuss design then how come you cant get a straight answer on a simple question.

$500 is that a price? With a customer option to revise. $1000.00 bucks

Any independent designers want to shed some light on what the norm is or is everyoen tied to a corporate nipple.

Armin. Are you independent or do you do work for hire on the side. What to charge for a logo? I actually have a possible job coming up with a new logo and menu for a restaurant. Any takers on what to charge?

On Oct.03.2002 at 07:07 PM
novice’s comment is:

by the way, devils advocate to Armin. If I charge $150 for a logo, how am I hurting the design profession?


On Oct.03.2002 at 07:09 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Novice, dude, too many questions.

>Armin. Are you independent or do you do work for hire on the side

I work full time for a design firm. I have a work Visa and I'm not supposed to do freelance work. I'm not sure my boss would like me to say our rate, you know how bosses get weird about money, so I have to respect that.

I would say if you are a freelancer at least (minimum) $2500-3000 just for the logo, then charge for the applications

>by the way, devils advocate to Armin


>If I charge $150 for a logo, how am I hurting the design profession?

You are setting the bar too low, you probably won't hurt me, but you make design look like an easy thing, something you can get instead of buying a jacket at the Gap that month. I don't have any facts on how you would hurt the profession, maybe you don't even hurt it, but you are going to need to do a hell of a lot of logos to pay your rent.

On Oct.04.2002 at 07:11 AM
Randy Pettigrew’s comment is:


Designers are not Logotron 5000's. To "create" a brand is not done in ten minutes. Real labor and a certain amount of passion (client revisions notwithstanding) is involved.

On Oct.04.2002 at 10:58 AM
Armin’s comment is:


To get that jacket from Gap I was talking about before.

On Oct.04.2002 at 11:08 AM
Todd’s comment is:

I can buy an engagement ring at Wal-mart for $119. Does that harm the jewelry business? To my eyes, it seems that Tiffany's still is doing alright. People who value the high-end are not going to be swayed by logo-matic work - or by Wal-mart's vending machine diamond rings.

Now, if a lot of people started using the logo-matic, but charged people for custom work, that might cause some harm. But they wouldn't be in business for long.

On Oct.04.2002 at 11:08 AM
Armin’s comment is:


On Oct.04.2002 at 11:11 AM
Randy Pettigrew’s comment is:

If Adrift started to do Pentagram quality logos would everything be all right?


Then we would all be in trouble.

On Oct.04.2002 at 11:18 AM
Armin’s comment is:

>Does that harm the jewelry business?

Even though this is a good example, it's different with design. It's a profession where you need to defend yourself constantly from clients asking on why it is necessary to pay for design and don't see the value that design can add to their business. And a profession where you have to compete with advertising agencies, web designers AND printers that claim they can do design cheaper.

But in the end, everybody has their own clients, with their own budgets (whatever they are) and a logo that everybody is happy with.

>If Adrift started to do Pentagram quality logos...

Now... that's just crazy talk man!

On Oct.04.2002 at 11:31 AM
Marc’s comment is:

Just to add another slant to the discussion would you or could you charge for a logo if you used this tool or if you made an illustration with Auto-Illustrator. They both seem fun but a little hollow, thoughts?

On Oct.04.2002 at 01:52 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Marc, I think that's exactly what they are, fun. Designers might get a kick out of it but that's it. I just downloaded de Bureau Destruct thing, and was only amused for 5 minutes. I've tried auto illustrator before, and they are merely "cutesy" applications, but I would never use them for professional work, maybe for personal explorations.

On Oct.04.2002 at 02:36 PM
jon’s comment is:

To me, the most important point to make is this: design is the end result of the intelligent, thoughtful process and conceptualization of an idea. So before we should even discuss whether a 'tool' like auto-illustrator is something you can charge for, we need to realize that we are thinkers first and foremost. (Well, at least I aspire to that.) When someone asks why I charge what I do (and it is flexible, based on my availability, client size and a whole bunch of other factors), I tell them that they are paying for the use of my brain. They usually appreciate that.

On Oct.04.2002 at 02:50 PM
Todd’s comment is:

Based on Jon's premise, that "design is the end result of the intelligent, thoughtful process and conceptualization of an idea," then those guys using logo-matics to crank out $19.95 logos aren't really in the "design" business at all. Are they being intelligent or thoughtful? Is there a process or concept to their work? No.

As to whether they hurt the design profession, well, there's a big difference between causing damage to the profession/practice (what does that even mean, anyway?) and just making the sales job harder.

On Oct.04.2002 at 04:09 PM
Todd’s comment is:

I just followed the "Adrift Logo Design" link. Does it bother anyone that they use the IBM and Microsoft logos as examples to sell their work? (Click on "more info.")They don't come right out and claim to have designed those logos, but they do imply you'll receive work on that level. Not likely.

On Oct.04.2002 at 04:12 PM
Armin’s comment is:

That's hilarious. They may not do great logos but they sure have street smarts!

>causing damage to the profession/practice (what does that even mean, anyway?)

There is no exact definition, so I'm not sure, but I can say this, every time a client says "But I can get this logo done cheaper somewhere else" it hurts, at least me. Because they don't appreciate the effort that goes into designing a logo, but if they can get a cheaper logo, fine, screw 'em.

On Oct.04.2002 at 04:18 PM
STUDIO ONE WEB DZN’s comment is:

Armin writes: but if they can get a cheaper logo, fine, screw 'em.

Your attitude is unsettling. Who do you work for? Obviously, you work for yourself and youre own self-gratification, you just happen to work at a place because you haven't achieved enough to start your own firm.

Get some decent stuff in your portfolio.

Based on the samples you show you should be working at Adrift. Based on your pompous attitude we'd never hire you. Sad sad someone who is so insecure with his own failures he needs to find fault with everyone elses work.

Leave us alone Mr. Mediocre!

On Oct.04.2002 at 07:01 PM
Armin’s comment is:


Oh man! that's priceless. I've been called many things, but never Mr. Mediocre. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

I don't even know how to respond to this one. My pompousness doesn't let me.


You have officially posted the best comment ever. Thanks.

Now, go play in the yard with the other kids.

On Oct.04.2002 at 07:08 PM
Martin’s comment is:

> Get some decent stuff in your portfolio.

Where on earth did that come from? I think that�s a pretty impressive portfolio.

And why is your DZN-Firm linked to Yahoo?


On Oct.04.2002 at 07:16 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Thanks for the backup Martin.

Probably just some angry dude. I truly have no words to respond, I wouldn't even know where to start.

>And why is your DZN-Firm linked to Yahoo?

And why don't you leave your name? seems like I'm not the only one who is insecure with his failures.

You know what? you shoud talk to Steven G, he hates me too. You two could start a blog about how much I suck.

On Oct.04.2002 at 07:24 PM
Martin’s comment is:

No prob. I always get freaked out by spammers. :)

So, Armin. What is your preferred software for Logos? Illustrator? Seems like the natural choice for me.


On Oct.05.2002 at 08:18 AM
Armin’s comment is:

illustrator 8.0 all the way.

I hate 9.0, and since I'm still in OS 9, haven't tried illustrator 10.

Some photoshop every now and then, but I try to avoid logos that rely on photoshop to much.

On Oct.05.2002 at 10:29 AM
Marc’s comment is:

re: Auto Illustrator - it is interesting how it is touted as a design tool, and no doubt a particular mindset could come up with something profound.

How are we to determine the level of effort and its worth in light of these logo tools. Does every job merit hours of labour, when the end product is delivered to a 'philistine' client?

I believe Norman Potter was always appalled at the level of mediocre work, and would refer to this group as "Parasites: those who skim off the surfaceof other people's work and make a good living by it." They will always exist and we shall always have to try harder to show the error of their ways.

re: Logo dev. Adobe Illustrator, always for final, but funnily enough I still like to work through lots of options in Quark, them multiple pages are real useful.

On Oct.05.2002 at 05:22 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Not to keep adding fuel to the fire, but $25?

On Oct.10.2002 at 01:59 PM
kyle’s comment is:

More fuel for the fire, another logos on demand site...slicker than the rest (credit), but they still give you a 'professionally' designed logo for the low low price of $149


A sampling.. 'In just a few minutes, you can build an original logo without the costly, time-consuming process of working with a graphic designer.'

On Dec.23.2003 at 04:01 PM