How a one hundred dollar logo could cost you thousands


Russell Dye – Creative Director of Icon Advertising

If you’re starting a new business you’ll need a logo and a brand. If your business has been around a while and your branding needs an overhaul you’ll be in the same predicament.

So do you now head off to an agency and spend two or three thousand on a paint blob? Or do you head on around to your nearest backyard desktop publisher for a whiz bang logo for $100? At first glance it might look like a no-brainer – after all it’s only a logo right?

The perception for many business owners is that the logo is a simple element which can be updated easily at any stage.

Your viral logo

The problem is that your logo and brand are viral. Whatever you start with is going to go through a process of duplication and before you know it, your brand will represent a huge investment: stationery, vehicle and building signage, packaging, website, brochure material and much more. If you realise down the track that your brand is off-key it will cost you thousands of dollars to update everything. Do it gradually and you’ll have inconsistent branding in the marketplace – not a very professional looking approach.

As an agency it is our advice to get the foundations right. Invest in a brand that will see you through for the long term.

Pay peanuts – get monkeys

So why do logos cost so much for such a simple item? For starters, there is substantial cost in the process of simplification. It takes time and expertise to take intended meaning and symbolism and re-work it into a simple, succinct device that answers the brief and the desires of the client. Simplification can be deceptively costly – smaller computers tend to cost more than their big box equivalents as packing more into a smaller space is difficult. Graphic design follows the same path.

A second issue is that logos can be very subjective. Producing a professional looking logo doesn’t always guarantee it’s going to get past stage one with a client who ‘just’ doesn’t like it but can’t articulate why. Sometimes the tightest brief can get thrown out the window once the first draft is tabled and it is literally back to the drawing board. As an agency we understand that changing the brief or evolving the design is the client’s prerogative and a natural event in the design process – so relax – you’re allowed to change your mind.

The third reason a logo can take time (and therefore money) is that a competent designer will need to test your logo in situ, being letterheads, business cards, website and signage. How does it look on a small business card? Does it work in black and white? Does it conflict or compare poorly with competitors’ brands? There are a lot of checks and comparisons that need to be made to ensure your investment is a good one.

The cornerstone of your brand

Of course logo design does depend on the client. In some unlikely cases a four-hour job may produce a logo that ticks all the right boxes for a small business. In the main though, we suggest you invest decent time in this, the cornerstone of your brand and therefore your business. That way you won’t need to revisit it with a costly makeover down the track.


Can I help you?

I’m Russell Dye. I operate Icon Advertising Limited. I have over 30 years worth of advertising and marketing experience and have enjoyed working with the likes of Canterbury of NZ, Vodafone Warriors, Southern Cross Hospitals, and Fiber Fresh. If you are a Business or Marketing Manager operating from New Zealand’s Auckland, Waikato or Bay of Plenty areas, I’d love to meet you. If you’d like to reach out to me using the form below, I’ll be in touch. Or you can call me direct on 0800 426 623.

Just to test that you are a real person: