5 invaluable factors to consider when pricing visual identity for your church or ministry
For many churches and other Christian organizations, a logo is just an after-thought. It may not seem like an important thing — a logo is just a small image on your letterhead, right?
No big deal.
In fact, the logo you choose for your ministry is a very big deal. It’s what separates you from the rest of the ministries out there. Your logo is the most significant visual component of your organization, and gives life and breath to your brand identity.
Only in the past few years have ministry leaders begun to see the value of a great logo, and it is those leaders who also see the value in marketing their ministries well. Yes, word-of-mouth is a wonderful marketing strategy… but in today’s culture if someone hears about a ministry from a friend or colleague for the first time, the first thing they will do is google it or grab a printed marketing piece nearby. If that booklet or the ministry’s website/social media profile looks like the freshman ministry intern designed it — or better yet, the pastor — I’m willing to bet that new potential supporter or churchgoer will keep looking elsewhere.
So you get it — a logo is important. But how much will it cost?
Think of it this way… How much would a new dress cost? How about a set of golf clubs? How much does it cost to build a house? Obviously, the answer to these questions is that it varies. No well-trained designer or marketing agency is going to give you a set dollar amount for a logo design. In fact, if you speak to a designer who does give you a set price before talking about the project in detail, run!
The truth is, just as with buying a new house or even a new dress, the price tag depends on many variables. Let’s take a look at the five major factors that are considered when pricing a logo design.
The logo’s purpose or use
Are you needing a new brandmark for the whole organization, or is it for a specific department in the organization? Is it only for a special campaign or event?
Obviously, a church shouldn’t spend the same amount on a logo for their annual yard sale as they would on the main brandmark for the church. The purpose and importance of the logo’s role in the organization should be considered.
The size of your organization
This seems like a strange thing to consider. Why should the size of a church matter? Shouldn’t a price of a logo be the same if the same number of hours was used to make it?
Think of it this way: Should a local restaurant pay the same price for a logo that a major national chain pays? Of course not! A multi-million dollar business should expect to pay more for brand identity than a small “Mom and Pop” store because their audience is so much larger. In other words, not only are they being visited by thousands of people each week, but their advertising is being seen by a much larger audience as well – whether it’s through TV ads or online ads.
The same strategy applies in the field of ministry. If an organization’s logo will be seen by thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people through their printed material, fundraising emails, social media pages, and more, then that logo is far more valuable than the local neighborhood ministry.
A great designer will consider the size and scope of your congregation or audience, the current growth trend of your ministry, as well as the history of the organization — as they should be — when pricing a logo for a church or other faith-based non-profit.
The politeness and professionalism of church leaders involved
Because a new branding structure or even a re-branding campaign can be a lengthy process, it is important that you and the branding committee or other ministry leaders involved be courteous and polite. The fact is, if in the beginning stages of a logo design the designer feels like it is going to be painful or unpleasant to work with your team, it is likely that your quote will be higher.
Just as a plumber should charge more for a dirtier job, so should a designer expect more compensation for an ugly relationship with their client!
When interacting with the designer, be professional and considerate. They are spending lots of time on your ministry behind the scenes. Don’t insult their abilities or their work.
If there’s something you don’t like about a design, think of it like critiquing a piece of art — mention the details you like about the logo, but also be honest in a professional manner about what you don’t like.
Be as descriptive as you can — the phrase, “Just make it pop!” is one of the most despised phrases in our industry because it suggests that the design we spent time on doesn’t ‘pop’ already, and it also doesn’t give us any hint into how you’d like it changed.
The more information you can share, the quicker you and the designer can come to an agreement on a design.
Keep in mind that while you are a professional in your industry, the designer is a professional in his or hers! They chose that specific font for a reason. The placement of lines and curves are carefully thought out and planned. The reason they used that color palette is based on not just their time in research, but also thousands of hours others have devoted to developing the science (gasp!) of color theory. It’s okay to ask to see something in another color… but don’t be offended if they tell you why your color choice is wrong!
The value to the designer
If the design of the logo for your ministry is one that the designer can then use in his or her portfolio or to advertise their business, they should take that into consideration. A boring, run-of-the-mill (but still well-designed) logo can potentially cost you more than a fantastically-designed logo because of the perceived value to the designer.
However, this does not mean that you should suggest a deep discount — or even free services — because you think it somehow helps the designer beef up their portfolio! It is insulting for someone to ask for free or cheap work from a contractor to somehow improve that worker’s experience. If any discount is to be given based on the finished product’s value to the designer, then that is up to the designer — not the client.
This is true even more-so in ministry. For some reason, leaders in churches and Christian organizations think they are doing the designer a favor by giving them work that could help his or her portfolio. Instead, consider how you can benefit the designer. What if — instead of asking for a discount “because you’re a non-profit” — you gave the designer a tip above the invoiced amount after the work was completed? What about offering free advertising on your website or in your printed booklet?
The suggestion of free advertising might even get you a discount if it is mentioned early in the process. But I recommend not offering this with the assumption that you will get the discount. Offer it to better the designer’s business. If that designer offers you a discount in exchange, then even better!
The amount of time spent on the project
There’s a reason I have saved this point for last. Design projects should be priced based on the overall project — not hourly. However, the number of hours it takes to complete a design project can be grossly underestimated. The final invoice should be enough that it compensates for the time devoted to the project.
How long does it really take to design a logo? You may think that it only takes a few hours, or even a few minutes — especially if it is a simple text-based logo or monogram! The truth is, designers might spend hours upon hours on one project. Let’s look at some of the various steps a designer or agency will go through to complete your project:
Design Brief or Initial Interview
All communication between the designer and yourself needs to be counted in the time devoted to your project. This communication can be several hours alone, and that’s not time the designer should count as donation. The design brief allows your team and the designer to talk about your ministry, where it is headed, and your expectations for the logo or design project.
Once information is collected from you the client, then the designer needs to conduct his or her own research. They will be looking at your competitors’ (or other similar ministries’) branding, and researching potential color palettes, typefaces, and visuals.
Depending on the size of your ministry and the project, this phase can also be quite lengthy and may involve further meetings with you and your leadership team to look at mood boards, discuss and narrow down ideas, etc.
Time Spent Designing
Your designer might go through dozens of design sketches, concepts, and layouts before narrowing it down to just a few options to present to you. Best practice is to show the client only 2-3 concepts.
Based on feedback from the concepts that are presented to you, the designer will then go into the process of revising the designs. If you loved the original concepts but only need to see some minor changes, this could be a quite simple and quick step. Otherwise, the designer may need to come up with completely new concepts to present to you.
An experienced designer will allow for a set number of revisions in their initial quote, but may allow for further revisions at an extra cost.
This is where the amount of information you provide at the beginning is crucial. It will save the designer time, and ultimately save your ministry crucial funds.
Depending on the scope of the project, this could be as simple as an email with attached files, or it could be a face-to-face meeting with an on-screen presentation or professionally-printed booklets.
This may be combined with the final presentation, but the final package should contain multiple variations of your logo (for use in different media such as print & web), and maybe a style guide explaining the best practices for maintaining and using your brandmark.
Throughout the process, there could be multiple forms of communication between you and the designer. This might include face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and emails. A large project might even require the designer to contact your constituents to discuss your organization and potential branding. All of this needs to be factored in to the initial price quote and final invoice.
If you’ve read this far, then you certainly see the amount of effort that goes into designing a brand identity or other marketing material for your church or ministry.
It’s more than paying a designer for his or her time — you’re paying for the visual identity of your organization, as well as the expertise needed to create such an identity. As I mentioned, there is no cookie-cutter, set price for a logo.
The best way to figure out what to pay for your ministry’s brandmark is to discuss with your team the value of the mark and what it means to your organization — then discuss what kind of budget you can devote to the project.
The budget you propose to the designer will reveal just how much the logo means to you and your leadership. It will also help the designer come up with a more accurate estimate for the project — and maybe more importantly, help define just how much time and energy they should devote to your organization.
If your proposed budget is low, then you can expect at-best a mediocre finished product. You might even get referred to an automated, impersonal logo factory.
However, if the designer sees that your visual identity means a lot to you and it is reflected in your budget, then he or she will do their best to produce a brandmark that will not only benefit your organization for years to come, but will lay the framework for providing quality public relations and marketing material year after year.
Treat your designer right, and you may develop a strong partnership. In doing so, you gain a professional who not only understands their field, but also understands and supports your mission. That partnership is more valuable than any one design project will be in the life of your ministry!