With the inception of any business idea there is is myriad of choices that can be made. Choices are great but they can also be overwhelming. Logo design is advertised as the “easy” part of setting up a business, however, it is often filled with hurdles. There are 5 known ways to get a logo and benefits of each are quite public. However, our designers share the hidden “fine print” (or pitfalls) behind each of these options that companies don’t want you to know.

1. Pre-Made or Stock Logos

Stock logos seemingly offer the quickest and cheapest way to get your hands on a logo for your startup. They are usually very upfront with the pricing and what files come with the logos. However, they are quite similar to souvenirs at the airport. You are in a rush, so you grab one on the way to your flight, telling yourself that bringing something back is better than nothing. Even though that may not always be true, there are more problems with this choice. Stock logos, just like souvenirs at the airport, aren’t unique and are typically sold more than once. Meaning that your logo could be featured on hundreds or thousands of other sites. Not to mention the fact that you have to often sift through thousands of logos to find one that may fit your business. However, the one you find isn’t necessarily designed with what your brand stands for in mind. Often times, customization is limited in these logo marketplaces as well. Designers upload their logos to multiple sites and don’t always offer any changes aside from adding your name to the logo. Finally, since the logo wasn’t designed for your startup’s name, after the name change, the logo may look completely differently all together.


+Very quick



-Not always unique and often sold by the hundreds

-Lack of customization

-Not built with your brand’s focus in mind, very generic

-After name change, logo can look completely differently

-Some sites allow you to make offers to designers making the process more difficult

2. Design Contests

There are sites out there that offer businesses and individual to create contests and let designers compete for a prize in order to get the best logo for your business. This is a great way to get more variety for your money and to have designers participate without you reaching out to them. However, after listening to numerous experiences, it’s not as easy as it sounds. These design contests take up a lot of your time. You have to to set up a contest, provide a detailed description of what you need, make an account, verify payments, etc. Once you finally get your contest up, you receive onslaught of logos which you have to provide feedback to in order not to offend any designers. Also, depending on what amount of cash prize you select, the entries may vary in quality quite significantly. In our analysis of common design contest websites and over 1200 contests, there are typically only 1 or 2 entries that are rated 4-5 stars by the end of the contest. Meaning that most submitted designs didn’t meet your needs or more likely, weren’t very high quality. This happens because the designers aren’t vetted for quality. Our clients that used this option in the past also noted that they ended up paying fees to the contest websites even though they didn’t receive any quality entries or didn’t end up picking a designer. They also noted that the entire process from start to finish took about 2-3 weeks.


+Lots of variety

+You don’t have to contact designers individually

+You can easily set a budget as the reward (keeping in mind contest fees)


-Designers aren’t vetted

-Quality varies wildly

-Unique work is not always guaranteed

-Many submissions can be overwhelming to manage

-Contest fees and awards for designers add up to more money than expected

-Time consuming and long start-to-finish process

3. Freelance Sites

As a result of overwhelming choices when it comes to graphic design and the number of freelancers, a number of sites have been set up in order to make the process easier. Most designers are vetted for quality, their feedback from previous work is public and you can view their portfolios right on the site. Designers here are typically more responsible and reliable as they are worried about maintaining good feedback in order to get future jobs. It’s an overall simplified experience, however, one that’s not without work on your part. You have to create an account, get verified, set up a job post and then select the best designer for the job. You are then on a journey of 1:1 conversation and back and forth with the designer. Our clients have used this option in the past and they reported quite a few issues with this method. First, as soon as you post your project and set your budget (no matter what it is), you will instantly receive bids from designers in that range. No matter how unreasonable, bots or people, will spam these jobs without reading the task. The problem with this is that when you end up picking the designer, you will find out that since they haven’t read the task, the fees can be totally different. That $500 logo, can now be $900, since they didn’t know you wanted two concepts to choose from. Another reported issue was that the quality of work wasn’t always consistent with their portfolios. Some designers take other people’s work and add them into their portfolios in order to get some interest in new work. Although a lot of the issues can be avoided through careful vetting and selecting of only experienced designers, the process is still lengthy and pricey when it comes to logo design.


+Designers are typically vetted for proper skills

+Past work and feedback is publicly available for viewing before hiring

+Designers can bid on your project which can result in a lower price

+Ability to set your budget

+Designers more motivated to complete the job and do it well because of feedback system

+Logo is built with your brand’s message in mind


-Spammy project bids can lead to unexpected fees and time wasted

-Time consuming and long start-to-finish process

-Inconsistent design quality

-Extra costs associated with the marketplace and modifications with designers

4. Custom Logo Design

This is the classic way of getting a custom logo done. You reach out to designers manually after searching for the perfect designer on Google or design sites. You typically know what quality can be expected and you can inquire about the pricing upfront. The logo is custom designed to fit your startup’s needs. This is most likely the best way to get a logo for your business but certainly not without drawbacks. To find your designer, you will have to search far and wide. You will have to manually reach out to the designer, sometimes finding out that they may not have any time available or simply not hear back from them. Once you have direct contact with the designer (may not always be the method you prefer), you can then inquire about the costs and ask about what you will receive. The prices can vary wildly from designer to designer. This initial process, before design even begins can take a week or more. After all said and done, if you didn’t vet your designer properly, don’t be surprised if they disappear every now and then (or all together) and if the work they provide isn’t consistent with their quality or is simply not unique.


+You can view the designer’s past work upfront and select the best suited designer

+You can find designers that are within your budget

+Huge variety

+Logo is built with your brand’s message in mind

+Customization and modifications are typically included and expected


-Long search

-Start to finish can take weeks depending on designer’s workload and availability

-Expensive, vague costs varying from customer to customer

-Designers aren’t always reliable and may disappear

-Unique work and great quality aren’t guaranteed

5. Creative Agencies

A creative agency, such as the ones where many of our designers worked in offer seemingly an ideal solution. They combine “freelance” with “custom logo design”, all while you sit back and relax. You are not involved in the selection of the designer, designers are vetted thoroughly and quality is typically higher than that of other options. If we didn’t have designers who have worked for these agencies, we would perhaps end this post here and declare this the best choice. However, we know information that is not public regarding these agencies. Let’s start with the fact that not all agencies are credible. Just like when you were searching for an individual designer, you will have to put in equally as much time in finding the right agency. While you don’t have to manage the project and directly communicate with the designer, this is also a nuisance. There can be delays and miscommunication that can result from that. From our designers’ experience in working at some of the biggest agencies in New York, they’ve seen everything from hidden fees, up-selling, client’s information being sold to other companies and work being outsourced to countries such as India.


+Designers are selected by the agency

+Designers are typically vetted for proper skills

+Time saved not having to manage the designer(s)

+Logo is built with your brand’s message in mind

+Customization and modifications are typically included and expected


-Selecting the right agency can be tough and many are not credible

-Lots of upselling and hidden fees

-A lot of work is outsourced to different countries

-Little or no communication with designers

-Most expensive of all options

-Long start-to-finish process


Check out how 499Logos.com is different.