- The Cost Of A Logo
- Posted 27 months ago by Jack Lowe · Art & Design · 391889 Views
With the highly controversial London 2012 Olympic logo soon to be gone from our billboards and television screens once and for all, we decided to take a look at some other well-known logos and find out exactly how much their respective creative agencies charged for them.
Of course, the worth of a logo is a famously hard thing to determine. The very fact that a simple or low-key design often works far better than something intricate or brightly coloured means traditional methods for calculating how much to charge - using things like time and experience - are often thrown out the window. As such, some of the most famous logos of all time have been commissioned for next to nothing, while astronomical sums have been paid for designs most people wouldn't think about twice (not that that's necessarily a bad thing). So here you have it, a run down of logos, spanning a price spectrum of $0 to $211 million USD.
Nike - $35
The Nike "Swoosh" is perhaps one of the most well-known "cheap" logos - costing the sports brand just $35 USD when co-founder Phil Knight commissioned graphic design student Carolyn Davidson back in 1971. When it was finished, Knight said "I don't love it… but I think it will grow on me."
The iconic logo has remained relatively unaltered since its conception, with the only change being made in 1995 when the brand ditched the Nike text that used to be cradled within the Swoosh, opting for a simpler, stand-alone Swoosh instead. As a thank you for her work, Phil Knight gave Davidson a golden Swoosh ring with an embedded diamond in 1983, as well as an undisclosed amount of shares in the company - supposedly $600,000 worth.
BP - $211,000,000
In 2001, oil giant BP commissioned creative agency Landor Associates, advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather and the PR consultants Ogilvy PR to replace their "Green Shield" logo with the current Helios symbol and create a surrounding identity and campaign. Designed in a green and yellow sunflower pattern, the logo represents energy in its many forms and comes with the tagline "Beyond Petroleum". The cost of this re-branding procedure? A mere $211 million USD…
Google - $0
Despite arguably being the most recognisable logo in the Western world, the Google logo cost the Internet company exactly $0 to create. It was actually designed in 1998 by co-founder Sergey Brin and, although it's obviously been tuned up a little since then, the main elements still remain.
Coca-Cola - $0
Much like the Google logo, the Coca-Cola branding was create totally free of charge by the founder's bookkeeper Frank M. Robinson. As well as designing the unique logo in elaborate Spencerian script, Robinson also thought up the company's name - suggesting that the two Cs would like nice together in advertising.
London 2012 Olympics - £400,000 (approx. $625,000)
Here it is - one of the most hated logo designs of the last decade. Designed by Wolff Olins in 2007, the London 2012 Olympic logo is, according to the agency, "unconventionally bold, deliberately spirited and unexpectedly dissonant, echoing London’s qualities of a modern, edgy city." For many, the result is actually "the graphic equivalent of… dad dancing" (Alice Rawsthorn in The New York Times) and a terrible attempt at creating something trendy. Criticism also rained in for the logo's resemblance of Lisa Simpson doing something naughty and for secretly spelling the word "zion."
Twitter - $2 - $6
Twitter managed to snag their original logo for the price of a sandwich, using the power of crowdsourcing to drive the price down and purchasing it from iStockphoto. Speaking about his creation, Japan-based designer Simon Oxley said he didn't even realise Twitter were actually using the design until someone on their staff contacted him for permission to animate the bird. "I was happy to see the image 'in-action' as they say on iStockphoto, back when Twitter wasn't well known. I did ask that a credit be added to the Twitter page mentioning that I had conceived the bird." The design was recently updated by Twitter to a cleaner version.
Pepsi - $1,000,000
Pepsi's 2008 re-branding was undertaken by the New York-based Arnell Group, who charged a cool $1 million USD for a complete branding package. That may seem like a lot, but it's a drop in the ocean when you consider that the PepsiCo company poured $1.2 billion into changes on all the different beverage brands they own.
Accenture - $100,000,000
The pure simplicity of the Accenture logo, compared to the $100 million USD they paid for it, might make it the most surprising of the logos in this selection. Designed by Landor Associates in 2000, the only real "design" element on the logo is the angled bracket above the letter "t", which signifies forward movement by the company into the future. The lowercase text has been used to signify a certain openness and friendliness, showing the company to be approachable and accessible.
BBC - £1,150,000 (approx. $1,800,000)
When the BBC began to move towards the Internet and digital television in 1997, influential British graphic designer Martin Lambie-Nairn decided it was time to address the logo situation, suggesting that something more uniform across all the channels and media was necessary. Until then, the BBC had a branding system that meant each department had a different logo scheme, weakening the broadcasting company's core brand severely.
The previous logo, with slanted boxes and coloured dashes, caused pixelation problems on a computer screen and also proved costly to print as a four-colour letterhead on all the BBC stationary. To fix this, Lambie-Nairn simply straightened up the boxes, removed the dashes, and changed the font to Gill Sans - a typeface which had been invented 60 years ago, meaning there were no worries of it quickly looking outdated. The logo has not been changed since and will soon become the longest used design by the BBC.
- Ernesto, you charge based on the client's budget. If it's an established co with funding, you charge a lot. If it's a startup, they have a small budget, you take what you can get or don't do it. It's like getting an acting part in a movie. If it's successful, you still only get paid your fee. But then you leverage that success into a real payday. It's also a matter of time spent which is the real fee. For a startup, you put something together quickly. Sometimes that clicks, sometimes it doesn't. Just because the company is successful DOES NOT mean the logo is. For an established, funded company, you're going to spend a lot more time thus you charge much more. Plus a corporate client is going to make you spend a lot of time meeting with them, coming up with ideas and dealing with bureaucratic feedback. And for that bs, you charge top dollar!
- Derek Posted 26 months ago · 213
- The original Nike logo was done by a college student for $35.00, it didn't look like todays Nike logo shown above, it was much more rudimentary but it did have the "swoosh". After the Nike logo became very successful, the owner of Nike gave the designer a diamond ring and a ton of stock. The logo your looking at above has been updated many times over the years, I'm sure by giant expensive agencies.. It would be interesting to see what the total cost of the Nike logo has been to date.
- Jeff Caldwell Posted 27 months ago · 95
- The $100 million paid by Accenture was for considerably more involved work than just the logotype. They were the consulting division of Arthur Anderson, which had what might be called 'a few problems' in the 1990's. This was a full identity design and strategic branding exercise. Market research, testing, logos, identity, naming, etc. Certainly not worth $100 mil, but this splashy number also implicitly states that huge strategic consulting fees are worth it. Smart, even if shareholders might have been nearly apoplectic.
- fyi Posted 27 months ago · 64
- You shouldn't compare a singular logo design to an entire company wide re-branding. Apples, meet oranges. The title is misleading. You are comparing a single logo designed by an amateur for a company in it's infancy to a professional brand package for an established international company. Months of research by many individuals, working to ensure the brand works across multiple mediums in a worldwide market. The logo itself is just one very small part of it.
- Tommy Posted 27 months ago · 17
- Rob, the article doesn't prove that at all. Only thing you can really prove is, a company just starting out doesn't have anything, therefore the logo process can be easy and about the logo only whereas a complete rebranding of a huge company takes a lot of planning & many, many individuals.
- Andy Posted 26 months ago · 11 Reply
- Obviously, Companies and Designers who worked on the more expensive logos where smart enough to charge for the use of their intellectual property too. Which can't change the ownership. You â€“Â as a designer â€“Â always remain the creator of your art and therefore have to sell licenses to somebody who wants to use your stuff for their purposes. The law is very strict. Similar to photography. If you wanna use a specific photo from a photographer you have to ask permission and pay license fees to use it (length, territories, placements, etc.)
- Marc-Oliver Posted 27 months ago · 14
- It's easy for a start-up to say to someone "hey, we need a logo" as opposed to a re-design, when a company has to consider their history, their current consumers and their future consumers. And today, there are so many other factors (and applications) involved - as evidenced by the BBC logo evolution. If these companies weren't so successful now, we wouldn't be talking about them (and their logos). The only reason why "everyone" knows the Nike swoosh is because of the money they can spend on advertising, NOT because it's good or memorable.
- Erick Posted 27 months ago · 263
- I'm glad people are pointing out how misleading this article is. A few brands over the years have struck gold and gotten great logos on the cheapâ€”while others have been screwed and charged millions for drek. But a lot of these cheap logos aren't great. The google logo is ugly, and the name is just a rip-off of Yahoo. The success of that company has way more to do with their excellent product which has come to define the logoâ€”not vice versa. Twitter's logo is a web 2.0 cliche, but their product is great and the name is a great marketing concept. The graphic designer didn't come up with the nameâ€”the company did. Coca-Cola's logo is beloved out of nostalgia and longevity. The style wasn't uncommon in its day. The BBC's logo is fantastic IMHO. I recently had a client choose 99 designs over me for her logo, because she didn't want to pay my fee. I was a little shaken at first, but when I saw the final result I had a good laugh. She paid $500 for unprofessional drek. Plenty of businesses get along fine with ugly logosâ€”so maybe it won't matter at allâ€”but having a lousy unprofessional logo is like showing up at the Ritz in a polyester suit. You might think you look fine, but everyone around you is judging. Part of my job is making sure clients always look like a class act. Even when they can't see the difference, I can. That's why they pay me.
- Sally Posted 27 months ago · 84
- Arrogant much? I'd love to know what company and what your logo vs. their logo looks like. I think the funniest part of your post is you make sure to mention that success of the company trumps the logo design, and then laugh that some 'crap' logo design was chosen before yours by some company. You said it yourself: The logo is not as important as the success. You should have stopped talking after pointing out the Google example.
- Jim Posted 19 months ago · 24 Reply
- Call me a sceptic but I don't believe accenture would pay $100 million for a logo. (or anyone else). But if that price tag includes application to signage plus collateral materials for a global company the size and scope of accenture, then it doesn't surprise me at all.
- Pete Posted 27 months ago · -6 Reply
- So many annoyances in this article. You're trying to sensationalise the costs. The design of the BP logo most certainly did not cost $211,000,000 to design - but I guarantee you rolling that rebrand across every single piece of signage on their petrol stations across the world, the reprinting of every business card, letterhead and comp slip, HQ signage and so on, yes that did. Yep the Coca-Cola logo is essentially the same and didn't cost anything to design but do you realise how many minor adjustments they've made to that logo over the years? That probably costs them ten of millions every time to roll that across all of their packaging.
- Marc Posted 27 months ago · 92 Reply
- wow. i never thought id see so many people defending conglomerates. i agree its a little confusing but the article does state 're-branding' and its pretty obvious they wouldn't pay that much for a single logo. the fact of the matter is a single logo for a startup brand IS the entire re-branding. they don't need anything else.
- JJ Posted 27 months ago · 15 Reply
- i don't really get what everyone's complaining about. if a big company change their logo then it's going to cost them a lot because they need to change it on every product, building, stationary item etc they have. the fact of the matter is that changing their logo costs a lot.
- stinker Posted 27 months ago · 62 Reply
- What people in this comments section seem to be failing to understand is that the article isn't LITERALLY saying that amount was paid JUST for a single logo. With a big company it's obvious more than that is needed. Obviously things have to be simplified or it would make for a very boring read. Like "stinker" says, the fact is that for a big company to change their logo they're going to have to change all other branding too and that will be expensive. For a start up to change their logo, it's going to be cheap.
- Cody Posted 27 months ago · 70 Reply
- Interesting article. For those saying this is misleading: it isn't. At the end of the day, if a large company want to change their logo (and roll it out) it is going to cost them a lot of money. For those saying the prices include production costs of packaging: obviously not, don't be so naive.
- Carlos Reimbaud Posted 27 months ago · 86
- Logos always a problem as familiarity becomes the key word, following a suitable time scale of course, The Underground is for foreigners the absolute top of recognition success, distinctly visible on street and subway. For new younger designers the response of 'my daughter aged five can do better, here's twenty quid!' is not exactly a winner! By the way royalties for the music of the Chariots of Fire at the Olympics, how was that worked out I wonder?!
- jeff clements, Amsterdam and Tallinn Posted 27 months ago · 20 Reply
- This article is typical of internet journalism. Under researched and misleading. There is a huge difference between designing a logo and designing a brand. Also a huge difference between branding and rebranding. This article is very misleading. The readers who say it isn't are uneducated in the subject.
- J Cash Posted 27 months ago · 87 Reply
- "Designed by Landor Associates in 2000, the only real "design" element on the logo is the angled bracket above the letter "t", which signifies forward movement by the company into the future." It's not an "angled bracket" (which are taller and slimmer, and surround their text). It's a marcato (smaller, and goes above the line): a strong musical accent. That's why it's over the last letter of the sub-word "accent". Get it?
- Marco Posted 27 months ago · 77 Reply
- You (they) have no taste or no design sense. The Olympics logo was brilliant. The type used (consistently I might add) throughout the olympics was amazing too. It pulled everything together. If you want to talk about stupid logo use, try the NYC logo on for size, where a great iconic design (again by Olins) was bastardized by a variety of new york institutions with NO sense of style (see a nice article about this here: http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/i_wolff_olins.php )
- Tomfoolery Posted 27 months ago · -13 Reply
- Simple observation: All the "cheap/free" ones are originals. All the "pricey" ones are part of mega-million $ rebranding projects, which involve changing a helluva lot of things. Ask Twitter, Coke to change their logos and you will see how much it will cost them.
- Salil Deshpande Posted 27 months ago · -11 Reply
- It would be more interesting to compare logos to logos and branding campaigns to branding campaigns vs logos to re-branding campaigns. It would also be interesting to see how much was spent over time on the initially free logos compared to re-branding costs. But comparing the cost of a single logo to a branding campaign or a re-branding campaign is not how the article was "sold" and is not what people expected to read about when they clicked, I don't think anyone is defending any of the corporations or what they spent.
- Tiffany Posted 27 months ago · 102 Reply
- This write up is misleading. It is comparing cost of designing logo to re-branding cost i.e. Nike logo design cost to cost of accenture re-branding campaign. Accenture had bill of 100 million USD for designing and marketing logo. I am surprised writer did not make clear to readers.
- Rahul Posted 27 months ago · 50 Reply
- I don't know where the figure £1,150,000 for the BBC logotype came from. It cost £50,000 and took two of us two weeks to create the presentation showing the new logotype on stationery, signage, TV and online. We also developed a logotype system for all BBC sub-brands. The actual design of the marque didn't take that long. The idea was to create something simple and robust enough to work across any media (a problem with the previous incarnation). The text within the blocks is based on Gill Regular but redrawn so that it doesn't 'fill-in' on screen. The 'B's are quite different. Artwork of the marque took a solitary late night - if I remember - with a blindingly hot Madras curry.
- Cwmboi Posted 26 months ago · 6 Reply
- Great article. But I was kinda shocked not to pick up on one of, if not The most critical factors in the success of a logo/brand regardless of initial cost or design. Exposure! That is, and as often is the case, a logo can get away with being subpar in aesthetics and thoughtful consideration true designers are so passionately vested in â€” so long as the client has deep pockets to splash it Everywhere. Case in point I suppose might be the google logo, where the internet is mass exposure at so little cost. Love it or hate it, it is in fact highly memorable. But the real tragic shift in this business? Fg crowd-sourcing. Which has completely undermined the quality, respect and what once was the well-deserved compensation for professional designers â€” all in the interest of saving money and or driven by executive egos. So it would seem even more critical now that designers be even better Salesmen and Educators if we are ever going to get back our reputations and Respect from um, Logos-R-Us (my apologies in advance if that really exists). Now re that 2012 London Olympics logo. Pathetic.
- John Caruso Posted 20 months ago · 91 Reply
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