logotype (noun):
1. any alphabetical configuration designed to identify an individual, product, service, publication or company
2. a single piece of type that prints a word or group of separate letters
3. a single piece of type that prints a logo or emblem
4. a logo

Some people make it harder to be sympathetic than others. I don’t know why this is. But I do know it’s true. Case in point:

I read a blog post called, “10 Reasons Why a Logo Should Never Cost Less Than $200”. (It’s true; although, I’ve refrained from posting a hyperlink to the post and won’t use the author’s name.) The concept is legitimate. And its legitimacy was reinforced by an email I received shortly after I read the blog post in question. The email said this, in part:

If you don’t have the time and budget to create a custom logo, this unique logo bundle is just for you! Bundle features 500+ professional logo designs from WonderfulLogos which offers you a wide variety of options at one time incredibly low price … Download Now for Just $9 [emphasis theirs] … This is a fun and innovative LOGO Bundle that lets even users with no design experience create guru-level logos! You can mix and match and create your own unique, amazing logos!

Since the price of a logo can be a ticklish issue, since we encounter it on occasion, and since we’re sometimes asked why we should be paid to create a logo when there are online tools with which logos can be had for free, I was curious:

Would the author present a sound argument for the value of a logo beyond cost + price? Would the post disclose the extensive process of discovery required to become familiar with clients’ brands, with their corporate cultures, with the ways in which clients’ employees interact with each other and with their customers? Would the author reveal the fact people, personalities, cultures, and interactions inform brands, their personalities, and their identities? Would I finally find someone else who understands that logos are revelations and reflections of brands, rather than graphic contrivances?

No such luck.

What Do You Want, a Cookie?

Instead of presenting substance, the post pled for sympathy while reeking of entitlement. Here are its 10 ostensible reasons, each of which is followed by its translation:.

  1. “Believe it or not, designing a logo actually takes work.” Translation: You should feel sorry for me because, unlike what the rest of you deadbeats don’t do all day, I actually have to do something.
  2. “We went to school to learn how to do this.” Translation: You should feel sorry for me because I made the choices I did. While you’re at it, you should feel guilty about and responsible for them, too.
  3. “The equipment and software we use costs (lots of) money.” Translation: See #2.
  4. “Designing a logo isn’t simple.” Translation: You should feel sorry for me because I spend some time with the client and create a bunch of paperwork before I deliver the design equivalent of a chinese menu that has nothing to do with the client’s brand, the client’s business, the client’s business culture, or the client’s industry.
  5. “It takes more than just a couple of hours to design a good logo.” Translation: You should feel sorry for me because I have to spend time at what I choose to do.
  6. “I didn’t start designing yesterday.” Translation: You should feel sorry for me because I’ve spent x years at what I’m doing, and I still don’t get paid what I want.
  7. “Everything else builds on your logo. Translation: You should feel sorry for me because I’m committed to seeing your logo as the first in a series of tactical deliverables (for each of which I can charge you), rather than a strategically derived revelation of your brand.
  8. “Your logo is the first thing people see.” Translation: You should feel sorry for me because when I tell people the sky is blue, they don’t seem impressed.
  9. “Your logo will last you many years to come.” Translation: You should feel sorry for me (and pay me more) because I might not be able to sell you another logo for a while.
  10. “We never ‘just design a logo’—we build relationships.” Translation: You should feel sorry for me because the only philosopher I’ve ever studied is Stuart Smalley.

Do the Math

Aside from the fact that the post is a load of self-serving nonsense, the product of its 10 reasons won’t be a logo. Using the chinese-menu approach, the outcome of the process will be some combination of a popularity contest and a fashion show, in which the client says:

I’ll take the yellow flowers from Option A on the pink background from Option B with the Comic Sans font from Option C for my manufacturing company because … uh … that’s what I like.

The price of a logo may, in fact, be more than $200. But it’s attributable to just one reason: There’s a cost to having your brand assessed and comprehended to the extent required to reveal your logo.

A meaningful, fair, and legitimate price for a logo is cost + value. Everything else is just logotripe.

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