How to Hire a Logo Design Agency
Having a logo for your business is the visual opportunity to present a great first impression to your customers. All great brands have great logos—whether they are simple, colorful, or historical. As a small business or startup owner, having a logo for your business is key to growing your business. In this article, we describe what creative logo design agencies are, their different types of design services, the pros and cons of creative freelancers vs. hiring an agency, costs, and expert tips for hiring a quality logo design agency.
What is a Logo Design Agency?
A logo design agency is a branding agency that specializes in creating and maintaining a logo design for a business. These agencies typically have specialties within specific industries, regions, or uses (e.g. business cards or a t-shirt) or regions so that the designs they create are aligned with the company’s brand identity and are competitive within the market. The agency will have a team of creatives and professional logo designers as well as customer support staff to communicate the needs of the business and designer.
What are the Different Types of Logo Designs?
When deciding on the logo design you may want to use for your business, it is best to have an understanding of the different types that are out there. From here, you can research agencies that specialize in specific ones.
A logotype is a logo that is made entirely of the brand’s name with no other visuals or designs. However, simply because the logo is made of words doesn’t mean it can’t convey a feeling or persona. Using the right typography will make a world of difference for your brand.
Also known as wordmarks, logotypes are used most for businesses that rely on the brand name only (e.g. you are an artist), or when you have a short name. The cons of using this logotype are that fonts go in and out of style, so you may eventually need a new logo.
Monograms are when a fun design is used from the initials of a business. An example of this is H&M. The logo for this company is easily recognizable and is easier to remember than its full name, Hennes & Mauritz.
Monograms are used for businesses that want to shorten their names to initials and want a visual identity to go along with it. However, if you are a younger company, using this style may not be the way to go until you are more established using the initial version of your name.
Also known as a “pictorial mark,” this logo is a visual or picture used to convey your brand’s identity. Text can be included but it is the picture that the customer will recognize. An example of this is the Olympics logo.
Brand marks are used when you have a brand that can be understood via a visual vs solely text. Using the Olympics logo again, it is very clear when you see what that logo represents. This option also allows a little bit more personality than other options. Choosing the right image for a brand mark can be challenging, however, especially as your business grows and your services or products change.
Like a brand mark, abstract logos use images to represent the business’s brand. Unlike a brand mark, the image is abstract or not literal of what the company’s services or products provide. An example of this is Pepsi’s logo.
Abstract logos are great because they are visual and creative, but can provide a more profound tone to your brand. It also offers you a unique choice that no other brand will have. However, if you haven’t confirmed your brand identity, this option is likely not suitable.
Just as a mascot is a character-driven representation of a brand, the same applies to the logo. An example of a mascot logo is the Pillsbury doughboy. While you may recognize the rest of the logo without the mascot being there, it would be missing something without it. Mascots are great because you can use them in all parts of your marketing materials and strategy (e.g. ads, etc.).
This option is ideal if your demographic is children or families or if you want to impart a feeling of fun and vibrancy to your brand identity. However, if you want your brand to be seen as more serious, this option isn’t for you.
Also known as seals or crests, emblems are the oldest form of a logo in history. This type of logo is when there is text (usually the name of the company), inside a symbol or “seal.”
Emblems are used when a company is trying to convey a sense of history or tradition with its brand. It is also a great option if you want your company’s brand to have shown gravity to its work and services. However, emblems are great at scaling to small or very large sizes.
And of course, you can have a logo that is a combination of any or all the other options above! You can have an emblem with a mascot or monogram with an abstract. You can do anything you want. Combinations are great if you want flexibility, but you should note that these tend to be a bit more complex.
Why Do I Need to Invest in Logo Design Services for My Business?
Logos are usually the first thing customers or audiences think of when a brand has mentioned them—they typically visualize the logo. If you have a logo that is not unique or doesn’t match the customer persona or mission of your business, then it can hinder your business strategy, lowering your SEO, ultimately decreasing sales, or at the very least, not increasing sales. Investing in a perfect logo from a professional logo designer is an easy strategy for business growth.
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Should I Hire a Logo Design Agency or a Freelancer?
Now that you understand the value of hiring a Logo Design agency, it is time to decide how to hire this support. It is unlikely that small business owners are creative, so the decision is between an agency or a freelancer. Here we describe the positives and negatives of both.
Positives and Negatives of Freelancers
A freelance professional logo designer is a great option if you do not need to do a rebrand or create a logo from scratch. A professional designer can help to tweak your logo design or “freshen” it up if you feel that your typography or colors are a little outdated. Because freelance logo designers do not usually have the resources of an agency, they won’t be able to provide you with the design services of an agency. As our experts state below, you should also be careful when using a freelancer because they can possibly lean too heavily on logo templates, which may not benefit your business.
Positives and Negatives of an Agency
All agencies have a great number of resources that are at their fingertips. If you are looking for your logo creator to be able to dedicate time to doing in-depth industry analysis, customer persona, and have the technology to create some spectacular designs, then an agency is the right choice. A logo agency also likely has other marketing services that can be of benefit to your business, should you choose to opt-in to them. However, with the agency option, the costs can be more expensive, because they have a lot more overhead to cover.
Why You Should Hire a Logo Design Agency
When you hire a logo design agency, you can be sure that the logo that you settle on is professionally created, polished and adaptable to different environments. Investing in an agency is the way to go because they will have an understanding of the market and how your logo will play in it, can create the logo using professional tools, and will create the technical specs so you use the logo throughout your branding; ultimately ensuring larger brand recognition for your startup or business in the market.
Hiring a Logo Design Agency
If you’ve come this far, you are likely considering hiring a logo design agency. But how much does it cost and where do you start? Look at our thoughts below.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Logo Design Agency?
The costs of hiring an agency will vary on a few things: the industry you work in, the geographic location of the agency, and the additional services that the agency can provide. For example, many logo design agencies have full-stack marketing services that include logo design. In this case, their cost will likely be much more as they will want you to use some of their other services. Here are some other things to keep in mind:
- Many agencies will ask for a 50% down payment upfront.
- Not all agencies require a contract.
- If there is a contract, the designer may have a set number of revisions before there is an additional charge.
On average, agencies can charge around $2,500 USD.
How to Find a Reputable Logo Design Agency
For starters, UpCity has a list of top logo designers, so that is a great first step. However, every search should include several sources. Doing a Google search, referencing in LinkedIn, and then using recommendations are great sources for your search.
When starting the initial search, make sure to look at the specialty of the design agency. If they specialize in a different industry or market than your business, it is unlikely they will create a design that will support your business. It is also worth noting that many logo design agencies have other marketing services as well—possibly as part of a larger marketing or brand agency. Should you want more support, it is good to shift your search to that type of agency. After you have a list of agencies that you think may work well with you, look at the designer’s portfolio – and remember your first impression counts. If you do not like their previous designs, it is unlikely you will like the one they create for you. And finally, look at their pricing. If they are way out of your budget, then you can take them off your list. However, as our experts point out, do not make your budget the most critical part of your search.
Questions to Ask a Logo Design Agency
Once you have created a shortlist of agencies that you are interested in, schedule a chat, and come prepared with the questions. Here are examples of questions you could ask:
- What is the range of services you provide?
- What are the buyer personas and/or industries that you are most familiar with?
- How does your pricing break down?
- Do you offer unlimited revisions?
- What is your design experience?
Here are some additional questions to consider from one of our experts in the UpCity community:
“ Look for a logo design agency that has a clear process that will be easy for you to navigate. Designing a logo for your brand requires a partnership between you and the agency that you choose. Clear communication during logo creation is paramount! Is the agency able to deliver different types of logos? Are the designs unique or follow a cookie-cutter pattern? Some agencies and/or freelancers use stock icons and images as part of the logo, some use copyrighted materials. Look for unique designs.
Ask the agency what information they need from you prior to creating the logo. If the agency is not asking many questions about your brand and your vision then don’t expect to receive a unique logo that embodies your brand. I will repeat it again, clear communication between you and the agency of your choice is paramount if you want a result that will fully represent your brand.”
—Anastasiya Goers, Agency Owner, S&V Marketing
Expert Tips for Choosing the Right Logo Design Agency
UpCity surveyed leaders in the industry about key considerations for hiring a logo design agency that fits your company’s needs. This is what they had to say:
In your opinion, what are your top tips for finding and hiring a great Logo Design Agency?
“You’ll need to work with an agency that will give you a full toolbox to build your brand with. Logos in a variety of formats, brand colors specified, fonts chosen so that the look is repeatable over various mediums. Other designers should be able to pick up your brand guideline and continue on with your brand seamlessly.”
—Jennifer Gauerke, Creative Director, Yellowdog Design Print Marketing
“I highly recommend asking for a previous logo design process. This would include a branding questionnaire, mood board, hand sketches, ideas not used, and finally the logo with brand guidelines. A bonus, make sure that logo is currently in use by the client on their website.”
—Mark T Johnson, Founder/Designer, Bionic Egg Design
“First don’t approach your branding solution as just a logo design. A logo is just part of your entire brand experience. Select a partner that knows this, understands this, creates, or interprets your specific brand strategy and positioning so the final mark truly reflects who/what your brand is and stands for so it can move your consumers/customers. Find an agency that appreciates you, listens, asks questions, and dives deep to help make you successful. It’s not just about a logo, but more about building relationships and understanding the DNA of your brand to help drive clarity, vision, and ultimate brand success. See their portfolio, see that their work reflects their clients’ needs and not themselves.”
—Nancy Wargo, VP Client Services, S² Design Group
What traits should you look for in a Logo Design Agency?
“When hiring a logo design agency, look for designers that provide a limited number of logo concepts rather than endless, generic options. This indicates that the designer is experienced and knows how to create the right logo to represent your business, rather than taking stabs in the dark.”
—Meg Mothershed, Co-owner, Mothershed Design Co.
“Look for an agency that has experience in a wide variety of industries, and one that focuses not just on graphic design but also brand development.”
—Duane Ciacco, President, Atomic Idea
Are there any mistakes that you should avoid when hiring a Logo Design Agency?
“Making the decision strictly on price should be avoided. Your logo will be used for years, maybe decades if you build a successful company. You won’t be bragging to friends and colleagues about how much money you saved ten years ago on the design of your logo.”
—David Wurst, Founder, WebCitz, LLC
“The most common mistakes I’ve come across are: 1) assuming that reviews or testimonials would be representative of your situation or project. The client/agency interactions can be more important than most companies think. 2) Not being open about your budget. Be honest with the budget you have and respect the rate structure that is being proposed. Not every agency prices in the same method and that’s ok. It’ll need to work for you and your budget – it’s best to be upfront. 3) Approaching a creative project with a very short and firm deadline. This can be difficult for everyone involved and usually the best work isn’t done because it is sacrificed to speed. Try to start project inquiries early to at least learn about project timelines so you don’t get caught up against a deadline.”
—Chris Milton, CEO, 323 Media Group
“Hiring an inexperienced designer. Logo design is not easy. Bringing a client’s vision to life takes experience and excellence in your craft. If you hire the wrong agency, it will set you back time, money, and stress!”
—Ben Capa, President, Fu Dog Media
Once you have found the right agency and your contract is ready, you can expect a few things once the work gets started:
- Reconfirm understanding of project requirements.
- Conversations with your sales team or marketing staff (if applicable) and the agency to discuss brand identity, possible current company logo, design needs, target audience objectives, and deliverables.
- Initial work gathering information and data on existing creative designs.
- Follow the project management model established in the initial proposal.
- Regular follow-up reports on successes and opportunities including graphic design proofs and revisions.