How much should a logo cost your service based business?


Sep 24, 2018



​This week, whilst geeking out on design and listening to how the masters of branding operate… there was something that he said [when asked about the logo cost] that probed me to dig deeper.

Knowing that many of you have asked “how much should a logo cost” – I thought I’d share my learnings and thoughts here with you.

Logo Cost Service Based Business

It started with a story about why the iconic coke bottle logo was developed.

Brian Collins was brought in to take a look at the coke brand.

But [as he puts it below] – he was faced with a bit of a challenge:

“When a brand like Coke has become so famous and well distributed worldwide… we – as consumers – become blind to it.” Brian Collins

His goal: To ensure that the Coca Cola brand remain front and centre in consumers minds.

So he embarked on a brand “re-imagination” [which is basically a brand refresh with a splash of focus around the companies brand story + brand experience].

His task was an interesting one.

They wanted him to help them not only reimagine + revitalise the Coca Cola brand, but to also create an identity system that design firms all over the world could adopt.

A big job.

An interesting approach too – they went back to the thing that people most loved about the brand, and discovered that the “fond memories” people had of the brand – were linked to the old coca-cola bottle.

and the bottle shape became the icon that was now splashed on everything… the coca cola logo – is less of a focus.

So at this point in the story… I’m wondering…

what did Coca Cola pay for their logo?

and Google tells me it’s $0!!!

But here’s why I think that Google may be lying to us [in this case].

Yes, the original logo / mark was developed by the founder.

and yes… it didn’t cost anything.

But the logo has been refreshed a few times since then…

we would be familiar with the dynamic ribbon underneath,

or the circle,

and [most recently] the bottle.

Each of those revisions having been done by larger firms [at a pretty darn large investment].

So how much did Coke pay then?

Well… I couldn’t find an answer for you.

But considering their friends at Pepsi paid $1mil for their logo…

I’m guessing that when Collins mentioned they were “generous clients” – it would have been close!

Do you need to take a second to absorb that?

​or maybe wipe the coffee that you just spilt on your top as your jaw dropped open???

Yes, it’s steep.

but let’s take a closer look at the numbers they play with:

They did over $40billion in sales in 2016, 

Their advertising budget is 4mil 

Overall – advertising budget then only takes up about 10% of sales

They are willing to invest a million [just a fraction of their overall budget] to make sure that they get their identity system right… it kinda makes sense.

So what would a service based business spend on their logo?

This is kind of one of those “how long is a piece of string” questions.

It depends on the designer you work with, the kind of business you have, some base the cost on the turnover your business brings in, the amount of staff, and a bunch of other factors.

does this mean for your business, brand, or logo?

Does the 10% rule apply to you?

Probably not.

Because let’s take a look at some rough numbers for a second… let’s say you have just cracked that 10k per month / 6 figure biz goal.

So on 120k per year, it would mean that you have 10 000 as an advertising budget.

But that means that your 10k needs to be split between:

// branding + logo

// websites

// content strategists

// copywriters / blog writers

// social marketing

// Adverts [FB, Insta, Pinterest apps]

// networking meetings, conferences, retreats [although you may park a retreat under biz strategy]

// graphics + your VA / Designer that creates them

// email marketing

Your 10k is expected to stretch VERY far.

So far – that it’s not very realistic [unless you’re doing a large chunk yourself / investing in cheaper help to get it all done].

Even if your business has cracked 500k – you have to split that 50k between quite a variety of focuses!

in short.

I don’t have a magic formula for you.

but I do have some thoughts.​

Looking past the 10%, let’s focus on the fact that your business is different to everyone elses.

You have different focuses, 

a different strategy [hopefully], 

and different goals.

So I’m going to suggest looking at this investment from a different point of view.

// Start off knowing what you want your business to do + get clear on your strategy.

// Now that you have a clear direction, it’s easier to prioritise the key elements you need to work on that will help you get there.

// Then analyse where you want to focus your investment, and which investments are worth the return they will provide.

There are various ways you can “skin the cat”

… and varying ways to “work the budget”… stretch your money in certain places [like potentially the logo] to make space for other more critical items.

Plus you don’t have to do everything at once.

If you’re wondering what your brand strategy should be within your budget… reach out, let’s chat!

x Emma

About the Author

Emma is the Chief Coffee Drinker here at FreshSage. With over a decade in branding + another decade in corporate business - she's always balancing the creative with business strategy + goals. She believes everyone has a purpose + calling, and secretly loves helping her clients find theirs. When she's not building brand experiences, she's spending time with her High-school sweetheart + kidlet, tinkering in her veg garden, painting an abstract, and enjoying vino with friends.

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