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May 22

Why We’re Tempted to Undervalue Design

How much do you feel comfortable charging for a logo?

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I’m shocked at the numbers I get when I ask this question. Time and again I’ll have young designers tell me that they charge as low as $50 for a logo design. That’s crazy to me! But it got me wondering – why would you charge $50 for a logo? And, even more telling, why would you continue to charge such a small amount? After talking with a few designers who have fallen into this trap, here are the answers I’ve found.

Why Work for $50?

There are a few reasons why you might charge $50 for your first few logos:

  • You’re Finding Clients in the Wrong Places: You’re getting your clients from sources where low prices are the norm, or working with people who don’t understand or value design.
  • You Don’t Know Your Design’s True Value: You haven’t educated yourself on how much what you do is worth. Therefore, you accept whatever price the client assigns, or whatever “feels” right.
  • It Feels Great: Because you’re delivering high value design at a low price, your clients are over the moon with what you’re providing. You’re getting great feedback, and feeling fulfilled because you’re getting paid to do creative work.

For your first logo, you do what you have to do. You get your first client, do the work, and get paid. But what comes next? Are you the person who says, “$50 seems to be the going rate for logo design, I better stick with that”? Or are you the person who says, “I did a great job on that $50 logo – next I’ll try to charge $100”?

Context and Confidence

The difference between someone who charges an appropriate amount for their design and someone who is stuck in a rut of undervaluing their skills comes down to two words: context and confidence. To value your design appropriately, you first need a context. You need to know what other people are charging. The AIGA guidebook of prices can be a great place to start. Try talking to graphic designers who are further ahead than you in similar careers. What you’ll probably learn from those conversations is that designers are charging much more than you are for work that isn’t all that different. So how can they charge so much more?


It’s time to shift your mindset. How do you view what you create? You could go to a swap meet and buy a cheap pair of plastic frame glasses for $20. Or you could go to a high end optical shop and buy a pair of designer frames for $600. The people who make designer frames make fewer glasses at a higher price. The people who make the plastic frames have a high volume at a lower cost. Both can survive and thrive in this world.

Which One Are You Going to Be?

You’re charging $50 for essentially the same product that “high end” designers are charging tens of thousands of dollars for. What you charge for that depends on the value that you place on it. Your pricing structure can’t change until your mindset does. When you start seeing your design as a luxury, premium item, your confidence (and your income) will start to rise.

Chris Do

Chris Do is an Emmy award winning director, designer, strategist and educator. He’s the Chief Strategist and CEO of Blind, executive producer of The Skool, and the Founder and CEO of The Futur— an online education platform that teaches the business of design to creative thinkers.