Professional Design isn't $5

First: What is Design?

Simply put:

“Good art sends a different message to everyone. Good design sends the same message to everyone.” - John O'Nolan

Professional designers have a process to achieve this messaging that involves research, sketching, conceptualizing and revisions to ensure clients get designs tailored for their needs not just their wants. Professional doesn't mean most expensive or always necessarily better but like a trained mechanic who can explain why you can't ignore your car making a weird grinding noise professional designers are trained to help you effectively visually communicate a message.
This in essence is why professional designers in the US do not charge $5.00-$100USD or partake in contests as some sites like Fiverr claim but I will go into detail in regards to Logo Design of what happens when clients trust a group of untrained designers via a contest.

First I'll establish what qualifies as a "logo":
A logo must satisfy several conditions:

  • Easily recognizable without color
  • Able to be enlarged without the loss of quality
  • Suitable for use in a variety of media (print, digital, tattoo, whatever.)
  • Clearly convey meaning even when scaled down to the size of an app icon

If a "logo" fails these then it isn't even up to basic professional standards ergo its not a true logo, its a picture. I will demonstrate just how true that is below.


Cheap design hurts everyone

Since we've established what a logo actually is let's look stick to the commonly offered $5 to $100USD range and look at what kind of quality you can expect in this range in the now popular "logo contests".

Logo contests to designers would be like if your cowokers worked their shifts then ONLY ONE PERSON gets paid based on if the manager likes their work. It wouldn't fly there yet does in the design world currently so we'll look at a $30 logo contest from a popular forum called Digital Point. This is the “brief” (in every sense of the word) for the logo:

“The logo will be for my site NWnoise.net. I would like colors similar to those on the site (blue/dark blue/grey/etc). I need a logo that can be used stand-alone on print material or on a website. Also, we generally format the name "NWnoise.net" or something similar, so that the NW is larger then the rest of the name.”

Below are the results:

Notice all the logos are different colors, use clipart, can't be scaled down and one just disregarded the bare minimum brief entirely. These all in some way break the basic rules of professional design I laid out above.

Now sure one may seem nice enough to you for $30 but did you notice the brief said the logo would be for print? Because all of these logos are in RGB (Red Green Blue) not CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black).“Why does that matter?” you ask, simply put: YOU CAN'T PRINT RGB COLORS, ONLY CMYK! THE COLORS WILL NOT LOOK THE SAME!

Any professional would know this but such “designers” who are willing to work for low prices either don't know or worse don't care possibly because the client themselves doesn't care about anything beyond doling out $30 for an image they think they can slap onto anything but soon will realize they can't! Again, cheap design equal bad design which hurts everyone.