Think twice before buying that cheap logo design

12/28/2011 1:24 am / by / 9 comments

low cost logo design, a website offering $79 pre-made logos was allegedly busted back in August for selling more stolen logo designs. Over 200 to be exact. Read more on the logo theft here. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident of large scale “identity theft”. is also apparently guilty of selling blatant logo rip offs, as are many other sites offering these cheap stock logos.

In an attempt to rectify the problem, many in the design community have spoken out loudly against this assault on our profession. Even AIGA (the professional association for design) is pursuing the issue.

But sadly, instead of these thieving companies being brought to justice for their actions, in the case of, they are being rewarded by investors in the amount of 2 million dollars in financing. And ironically, they have profited even more from the great amount of exposure they have received from this story (in the form of higher search engine rankings). It appears sometimes crime does pay.

There’s a big difference between coincidentally creating a logo that too closely resembles an existing design, and continually creating/offering blatant rip offs. Websites like LogoGarden have a moral duty to stop selling stolen logos and profiting from the hard work of other designers. I feel it’s my duty as a logo designer to speak out against this and I hope others do as well.

I would suggest to anyone looking to buy one of these “cheap” logo designs, to minimize your risk by doing some research into whoever you are buying from. Saving a few dollars now, may just cost you more time and money in the end. Having to re-brand your business because you purchased a stolen design, could prove to be quite costly.

So what are your thoughts on this subject? Are you a designer who has had one of your designs stolen? Are you a client who is thinking about purchasing from a crowd-sourcing or pre-made logo website?


This website is authored and run by Derek Kimball; a self employed freelance graphic designer specializing in brand identity and print design since 2007. Want to receive inspiring and informative future blog posts via email? Subscribe Here. You can also follow me on: Twitter , Pinterest , Facebook , Google+ , Behance , Dribbble



  1. Marc Posch says:

    Dear Derek. I was reading your article about Logogarden/maid and wanted to share a few thoughts. First, as a fellow designer I can feel your frustration and pain seeing more and more shady online shops popping up, offering $99 logos. However, that’s spilled milk and very likely will not go away, rather increase. They already start canibalizing each other by offering $49, $39 logos all the way down to $5 at Don’t worry about that. What our job is, to be more outspoken about the value you and I are offering. And frankly, offering just “logo design” puts you in the same league as Logo Garden, only at a higher rate. Not a good business model. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing or downplaying your work (you are very good, indeed), it is just the positioning that’s off – for all of us including myself. If we just sell “food” this doesn’t distinguish between a $2 burger at McD or a Filet Mignon at Chris Ruth’s. And for guys shopping just for a bargain, McD wins, of course. That’s a little bit how I see “logo design”. We need to change the narrative, moving away from design to what design/design strategy does, what a carefully crafted design can accomplish and how design creates assets.. That’s when we become relevant again and our rates are justified. And if I may add, offering a production process, as you do, isn’t really relevant for clients. This is pretty much considered a given. Can you imagine Zaha Hadid or Stefan Sagmeister presenting their work by illustrating a process of “research, strategy, scribbles, revisions..”? Again, it was not my intention to offend you, just sharing some thought I had since I’m in the same situation. Maybe this will start a dialogue. All the best, Marc

  2. DesignBuddy says:

    Hi Marc, thanks for sharing your honest thoughts on the subject; they’re greatly appreciated. I agree with your sentiment on many of the things mentioned, yet I’m torn with certain things. For example, on one hand I think it’s helpful to inform and detour design buyers away from cheap/fast providers, by explaining to them the risks associated (like mentioned in this article). On the other hand, I tell myself “do you really want to be working with anyone who doesn’t have the sense to tell the difference between cheap/fast and something better”.

    I feel it’s my responsibility as a designer to speak out against spec work, crowdsourcing, etc because I see a trickle down effect resulting from this idea that designers should work for free or on the cheap. This may not be so prevalent with very high budget clients you may be use to dealing with, however this mindset/conditioning seems to exist with some of the prospective clients I encounter. I may be preaching to choir here, but I figured it was best to explain why I write articles like the one here.

    You mentioned that displaying me “logo creation process” is unnecessary. Yes, maybe so, but I think it may help some potential clients better understand the time investment required for good design, thus justifying pricing. Would Stefan Sagmeister present something like this? I don’t know. He and Zaha probably don’t deal with many neophytes at this level in their careers, so it’s probably not necessary. As I progress further into higher end clients, I’m sure I’ll have to reconsider my approach to things.

    In regards to your mention that I only offer just logo design, that is not the case. Hopefully my “About” and “Services” pages make this clear. Or were you simply using “you” in general terms?

    I couldn’t agree more with your statement of how important it is to convey our value. For me, I use things like: “benefits of working with me”, “testimonials from past clients”, messages of “how good design can attract more clients”, etc. I also hope that my fair pricing and portfolio help sell themselves. Do you have any specific methods or recommendations for selling your value to the client? I’ve read a good share of books on branding, marketing, sales, etc; yet this remains a foggy area. Perhaps because there isn’t a one site fits all approach.

    Thanks again for the comment Marc. You’ve been in the field longer than most, so it’s a privilege to receive your honest insight. You’ve got me questioning my approach to things, so that’s a good thing.

  3. Marc Posch says:

    Hi Derek. This is such an interesting subject – and discussion. Here in California we say, You can’t change the waves, but you can learn how to surf. What I mean is, the Internet has opened up a market that connects cheap buyers with cheap design. This has taken some business away from us. Now, what we should do is “learn to surf” for a different kind of client, the ones that understand the value of carefully crafted design… they are out there, it’s just a matter of adapting to their thinking and values. They don’t buy the cheapest design, they go for credibility, trust and concepts that promise results. This what I suggest to consider, don’t go for the $2 burgers, shoot at Ruth’s Chris. To answer your question about how to sell value: think about what a client is [really] looking for and ignore the obvious, design, letter, business card, website… those are all just tools. Look deeper, search for where their pain is, the problem they need to solve, and dive right in with solutions. That’s how you move from being a decorator/designer to a [business] partner who solves problems. PS. If you want to read a good book, grab “Icarus Deception” by Seth Godin.

  4. Marc Posch says:

    I could go on and on… I hope I’m not frustrating you. I noticed your “fair pricing”. In my opinion you’re selling yourself under value by stating: “My pricing is below industry recommended rates for an experienced freelance designer.” Why are you lower than industry standards? Is your quality sub standard? And what is industry standard? We are a free market here in the US, where demand dictates the price. Your rates should be twice the “standard” to be taken seriously. Would you go to a cheap heart surgeon? Think about it.

  5. DesignBuddy says:

    Thanks for the reply Marc…no your not frustrating me. You bring up some good points. I agree with you that the “below industry recommended rates” line should probably be removed. I suppose I included that as a selling point (affordability). I can see how it could be presumed that lower than average pricing means lower than average service quality.

    Pricing is another tricky subject. Charge too much and you lose some projects you may have gotten otherwise. Charge too little and you end up working too hard for the money. It’s a fine line I’ve found. One I’m still trying to walk.

    My strong suite is the aesthetics side of marketing…when it comes to sales, etc, it’s still a learning process for me. Anyway, your comments are helpful and encouraging. Thanks for the discussion.

    p.s. I’ll check out that book recommendation as well.

  6. Marc Posch says:

    And the most import book I found is Mike Monteiro’s “Design is a Job”. Really really good. He got famous for his lecture “Fuck you pay me”

  7. DesignBuddy says:

    Ah…I’ll check that one out as well. I am familiar with the “Fuck you pay me” video…saw that a few months back. Thanks!

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