What Do You Expect from a Price Tag?


For the past 9 years, it’s not rare that we get quotation requests from various people on a certain fee to do a certain project. Some of them, however, were replied with the “it’s only something simple, and that is so expensive” sentence. So the question is, how do you value design? Design is an integral part of a thing being developed, no matter it’s a product for the mass market, or a poster for as simple as a private concert, design is important. It’s the fundamental of all things when you are trying to convey a certain message to your target market. So if that message is valuable to upscale your business, does that make design important? By all means, yes.

Designers like us often faced with the reality of intimidation from clients that approached us with the low-price-tag-but-good-results expectation. In reality, unless you are designers who eat stone and never thought that you have bills to pay, things like this just won’t happen.

Many clients of this type simply doesn’t understand that a design involves a lot of things to consider, and that a good and professional designer has certain methodologies that must be applied to their creation. Making flyers is just not about putting text on a single piece of paper. Even our grandmas could do that on Microsoft Word, have it photocopied, and voila! She created flyers for herself. No. Design is something much more important. A design should be readable, legible, and most of all understandable.

I’m going to take identity design as an example. Most people, although I absolutely believe not all, who did not go to a design school often don’t realize that their company’s identity and brand is important. Some people and almost all of our clients luckily understand this. A common mistake is that identity is often treated as an add-on to whatever product we have in the future. This is probably the very beginning on why people often say “it’s only a logo, we could have it done for $50 somewhere else.” Sure you can, but then a company with a logo worth $50, compared with another company of the same size who invested on a logo worth 100 times than that, perfectly made, can last much longer, and have a deep impact to their customers would have a better, more prominent, and more credibility to the eye of a regular person, who at first doesn’t even know what this company is all about. A friend of mine, a very eccentric designer, used to say, “If a company wants to make a logo for 10 bucks, then that is the image of their company. As low and as cheap as ten bucks. How can you expect good service from them?” While I may not be that extreme, he may have a good point in his argument.

So how come your nephew can charge you $50 for a logo, and a designer can charge you even up to millions of dollars for an identity design? It’s the methodology and the work involved. Here’s the breakdown. When a real designer designs a logo, there are things to be consider, such as:

  • Will this logo convey the vision and the mission of the company?
  • Will this logo represent the company image?
  • How many concepts should we do? 10? 20? A million?
  • Will this logo work on various sizes? Will it be optically perfect? Does it look weird with certain colors?
  • Is it legible? Do people read the logotype perfectly? And understand the logogram?
  • Will this logo be able to be put on letterheads, envelopes, websites, clothes, billboards, or others?
  • Does it give you that feeling of a reputable company? Will the employees of this company be proud of the logo and boost their loyalty?
  • Is it memorable for the client’s customers? Will they remember this company after seeing the logo?
  • What are the researches involved? Do we have to survey random people to get feedback?

And so on… This is why a good logo can never be done overnight. Can you imagine what Apple would be now if they decided to stick to their first illustrative logo? I can’t imagine that on an iPod. So, with this in mind, I assume that many of you agree on why we can’t charge $50 for a corporate identity, no?

A good designer never overcharge a client. They charge reasonably for what they achieved for the client. I’m not going to shamelessly promote that our company is a good one nor we don’t overcharge, but when you find a respectable company charging you a fee for something, trust me, they usually do that with lots of considerations that is useful for you, but didn’t even cross your mind. Something wannabe designers doesn’t seem to care.