Can a good logo cost $ 5?
Translation of the article “What Kind of Logo Do You Get for $ 5?” – stories about bad logos and impudent theft from Paris-based designer Sacha Greif.
Over the past couple of years, the demand for competent design has grown significantly, and smart specialists receive quite impressive fees for their work.
But today is not about that. This time, I invite you on an exciting journey through the impassable wilds of super-cheap design in search of an answer to a simple question: What can you expect from a logo for which you are asked only $ 5?
Perhaps the answer will surprise you! Although, unlikely … Anyway, here is my story about cunning tricks, fraud, stolen design and infamous logos.
About the cost of design services
To begin with, a little background: my startup Folyo helps other startups find designers with the help of my personally compiled database of freelancers, which have been carefully selected.
It costs $ 100 to publish a project on Folyo, and a designer’s direct royalties can go up to a couple of thousand dollars, depending on the nature of the work.
In comparison, the services of a design agency often cost tens of thousands of dollars.
$ 5 logo
Imagine my surprise when I found out that a certain site offers to use the services of designers for just $ 5. The site is called Fiverr and lures customers with promises of unrealistically low cost:
Even $ 100 is considered a rip-off here. Via Anthony petrie…
Fiverr sounds like a serious threat to traditional designers and sites like Folyo: after all, why pay $ 1000 for a logo when they are ready to offer you for the same amount 200 pieces? Even if their quality is far from perfect, among so many options, something worthwhile will come across.
And yet, something is clearly not right here: how can you even make a living with logos for $ 5?
I decided to play a secret agent and figure out what’s what: come up with a fictional company, hire three different performers from Fiverr and see what they offer me for the money. In the end, the experiment will cost me about $ 15!
I want to dot the i right away: yes, Folyo and Fiverr are competitors – both sites help customers look for designers. But this in no way diminishes the veracity of everything that will be discussed below.
The birth of “SkyStats”
So, first, it was necessary to come up with a believable name and field of activity for the company. I settled on SkyStats, a developer of analytical software for travel sites.
Don’t ask me what “travel analytics software” is. The main thing is that there is an obvious logical chain here: planes, clouds, graphics … I didn’t want to force designers to puzzle over finding suitable metaphors for $ 5.
Surely the CEO of SkyStats is a dude named Sky McFly.
Lure and substitute
And now the funniest part of the plan: I had to choose three lucky ones, and I would be willing to pay $ 5 generously to each of them.
It was then that the first snags began.
Browsing through the Fiverr catalog, I found many designers with more than impressive portfolios. Only after the first couple of pages the quality of work in each of them began to degrade rapidly, from the memorable high-level graphics …
… to absolutely profane tasteless cliparts:
After looking at several profiles, it dawned on me what the matter was: these guys were just taking other people’s work and passing it off as their own.
This commonplace trick is completely unacceptable in the design community and, of course, misleads potential customers. However, this is the order of the day on Fiverr (I emailed them about this – still waiting for a response).
Search for designers
Finally, I did pick three designers whose portfolios did not seem to have stolen artwork, and sent them the following message:
“We’re SkyStats, a two-person startup from Boston and Tokyo. We are developing an analytical application for tracking traffic, sales and reservations on travel sites (like Expedia or Kayak). We need a new logo for the business card site, which is currently under development. I would like the logo to be simple and modern and reflect well what we do. Maybe something with an airplane or a cloud as a reference to the theme of travel? ”
It’s time to make one more clarification: in addition to the basic fee of $ 5, Fiverr offers to pay separately for a number of additional options. For example, for providing the source code with the logo (which you cannot do without if you are really going to use it).
I order a logo.
But I still wanted to see what the $ 5 logo was, so I chose the cheapest option, paid with PayPal, and waited.
I waited for the first results for 8 days:
A day later, I received a logo from the second designer:
And finally, I had to wait a whole 14 days before I got the option from the last performer:
(By the way, did I say that you can speed up the process by paying extra for urgency?)
As you can see, the logos are very different – from the expectedly terrible to the surprisingly good. The developments from the third designer impressed me the most.
He not only offered me two logos of fairly good quality, but he also sent high-resolution files, even though I did not pay for this option. The other two sent in low quality images on a patchy background, making it difficult to use their logos further.
The story takes an unexpected turn
I posted the results of my experiment on the Folyo blog. In the original post there is a detailed analysis of each logo + my own design for “SkyStats” (you can also vote for the best option there).
The story could well have ended on this – i.e. on the fact that I was pretty impressed with the logos I got for just $ 5. But then the vigilant guardians of justice intervened in the form of fans to express their opinion in the comments.
My initial post sparked a storm of emotions and received over 150 comments. In addition to heated discussions about how ethical it is to offer design services for such a paltry amount (not without getting personal), several people pointed to an obvious fact that I somehow overlooked: The cloud-ribbon logo that I liked turned out to be plagiarism.
$ 5 for divorce
No wonder that the logo I liked looked much more stylish than the rest of the “product”. In fact, it was a slightly modified stock template.
Moreover, user AimeeD used a simple reverse image search and quickly found out that exactly the same logo has been used by various companies for a long time.
Ok but second option was quite original, right? Guess three times.
An offer from a second performer? No, and here, too, is sheer cheating.
Apparently, only two logos from the first designer were really his own designs, but, frankly, they turned out to be the worst of the proposed …
What to expect from a $ 5 price
In the comedy TV Presenter 2, there is a scene in a fast food restaurant that was opened by the character of David Cockner, a former sportscaster.
He serves fried bats instead of fried chicken, and the excuse is that these are “top quality” bats and generally “have to spin.”
Fried “chicken of the caves” is certainly a dubious treat. So my experience with Fiverr did not leave me positive impressions.
There is nothing wrong with choosing a freelancer over the more expensive design agency – it’s like going to McDonald’s instead of a three-star restaurant.
Bad is when they try to deceive you by presenting other people’s works or clipart as their own designs. Unfortunately, people themselves encourage this type of fraud, buying into the obviously dubious cheapness.
The end of the story
When I sent this article to the editor of a popular design blog, he refused to publish it, stating that it was “biased opinion in order to fight a competitor.”
I can certainly understand him. Still, I believe that as long as this practice takes place on Fiverr, people should be aware that the site is making money in a dishonest way. Customers have the right to know what they are giving their hard-earned $ 5 for.
Let’s see if my efforts lead to any positive changes. At least we can take comfort in the fact that McDonald’s is not yet trying to sell fried bats to visitors under the guise of chicken …
From translators: We hope you enjoyed the article. We would be grateful if you point us to mistakes in translation so that we can correct them. If you find errors, send to [email protected]