The Problem with $5 Logos

Image of person designing logos

Note: This is a post from 2019moved in the website redesign of August 2021.

When I was in the midst of uni, I worked a hospitality job. It was a good job by casual standards, but it was mentally gruelling and left me feeling exhausted. I earned $23 per hour and more on weekends, which is good by hospo standards.

When I started Origami, my rate was $25 per hour. Higher than when I was paid at my old job – so it felt luxurious. And for work I enjoyed so much more, that I was doing on my own time? It felt almost like cheating! Surely I couldn’t get clients on such a rate. It felt too good to be true.

Turns out I was wrong. It wasn’t too good to be true – in fact, I wasn’t charging enough. Why? Because when people pay me for a job, they are paying me for five years of study and my experience and expertise. They are paying me for my Adobe Suite subscription, my lifetime of learning how to draw and paint, and my time sitting down and working on something purely dedicated to helping them thrive. Despite my rates now being $10 per hour higher, I have been told by two separate clients in the past month that I should consider raising my prices.

So what happens when people start paying for $5 logos on Fiverr and Airtasker? There are problems. Let me list them for you.

1. It’s not ethical

Theoretically, it is fine to charge whatever you like for a service you want to provide. The problem is when twenty people are desperately looking for work (to, you know, put food on the table and pay their rent) and they find they have to constantly lower their prices further and further or they won’t get a single bite. When I’ve been on these apps, I’ve seen clients demanding services for at least two-thirds less than what they should be paying – and it’s just not okay for the person trying to make a liveable wage for their work.

2. The work is not good-quality

This is a direct follow-on from Point 1. If someone only gets paid $5-$50 to design a logo, the logo will not be good quality. This is because they cannot allocate more than about 2 hours of their time to the design without falling below the legal minimum wage. The alternative, and something you will probably find to be more common, is that the logo is great quality – but 100 other people also have the same one because it’s just a template the designer edits briefly to save time.

3. Your business is poorly represented

If someone’s used a template for your logo, it is not unique and it is not tailored to your needs. You also cannot trademark it because the identical design features are legally being used by other people. Your business is instantly less visually-memorable and it is much harder to take steps to protect your image when you are tied to 100 others. You will also find you won’t have exclusive rights to the design because the designer still needs to use it for other clients.

At the end of the day, you need to invest to access true quality. That’s not to say you can’t be ripped off – the other end of the spectrum is that somebody jacks up the prices unfairly for something that really isn’t that good. It’s about a balance between ethical pricing and high quality, and this is why I choose to be transparent about all my pricing. You can download complete pricing guides from this website and the breakdown of expenses is listed within – no need to contact me to request a quote unless the project is custom.

With this in mind, go forth and make positive decisions for your business and others. Discuss solutions fully and carefully and respect your designer’s need to make a living and succeed. A happy worker is a productive one, and you never know – you might just pick up some clients from your pool of shared connections.

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