How much does a logo design really cost? Anywhere from $0 to billions and billions of bucks. It all boils down to what you put into it and what you make out of it.
We’re going to move from least to most expensive just to keep you on the edge of your seat, anticipating the most expensive logo in the history of design, eager to learn why it’s worth so much. Spoiler alert: it’s 1.28 billion US dollars, but you’ll have to wait till the end to find out why…
On top of that, we also decided to appraise whether or not the rebranding (or the initial design) was worth it. Enjoy our hot takes!
The 5 most expensive logo designs and rebrands in the history of corporate design
NeXT — $100,000
Paul Rand is one of the most well-known names in the design industry. So, it’s nothing out of the ordinary that it was him who Steve Jobs trusted with the logo for his side hustle, the NeXT software company.
The unusual part was that there were no tweaks or going back and forth between different options. Just a single brand identity concept and $100,000 in cash upfront.
When a client approaches you for a logo or identity design, and they have done so based on your portfolio, your experience, your reputation and your style, you have the driving seat. You say, this is how it is. You will pay me upfront. I will design you one idea, I will present it to you and you will accept it with no requests for changes or tweaks.Paul Rand
Without hesitation, Steve Jobs accepted the deal and, as a result, received a 100-page long book that explained the logo creation process from start to finish.
Fun fact: Not only did Paul Rand present a new logo for Steve Jobs’ tech startup, but he also changed the vision for it. In fact, he renamed the company from NXT to NeXT – with the ‘e’ standing for ‘education’:
Ideally, a logo should explain or suggest the business it symbolizes, but this is rarely possible or even necessary. There is nothing about the IBM symbol, for example, that suggests computers, except what the viewer reads into it. Stripes are now associated with computers because the initials of a great computer company happen to be striped. This is equally true of the ABC symbol which does not suggest TV. The mnemonic factors in both logos are graphic devices: stripes and circles.
In this example the e is the mnemonic factor.Paul Rand
In the case of NeXT, it’s less about the logo itself that costs a business a small fortune, but more about the boldness of the designer, his name in the design world, and the identity he creates for the brand.
So, yes, design-wise, it might have not been an example of an outstanding, out-of-the-box logo. Nonetheless, the meaning behind it and its presentation are 100% worth the $100,000 Steve Jobs paid the designer.
City of Melbourne — $148,000
Back in 2009, Landor, a graphic design company, created one of its most iconic logos for the city of Melbourne. While it might not be Coca-Cola level recognizable, it’s definitely the most popular creation in its niche that is very warmly welcomed by Melbourne citizens and city guests.
The research for the rebranding of the city of Melbourne cost the council $91,000, while the design itself racked up to $148,000.
However, the cost wasn’t too shocking as the logo paid off well in the long run. The city council used the new identity to replace over 50 old logos for its different services.
The ‘M’ design will become an icon for Melbourne, synonymous with the modern, vibrant, cool city Melbourne is today and will continue to be in the future. The new identity will deliver more impact, be stronger, more flexible and reduce confusion as to who is delivering services. It will build greater long-term identification and align with best practice around the world. The new brand is strong and leading-edge and will be instantly recognized as belonging to the City of Melbourne. The old logo was “a bit daggy” and Melbourne needed a new design to reflect its cool sophistication on the world stage.Lord Mayor Robert Doyle
Do cities even need logos, let alone ones that can take such a large chunk out of the city budget? That’s a great question to ask. The city of Melbourne’s example shows that sometimes, you should take a risk and invest into something like that and expect it to have a great return on investment.
The reason why this logo costs so much is because it’s not your average corporate logo. It’s not used to create a brand identity of a business, but rather to establish the brand of a whole city with all its people, landmarks, spirit, and hundreds of years of history.
Besides, the designer behind this logo did a great job of creating a visual identity that would be relevant for years to come. They managed to capture the essence of Melbourne’s progressive nature and created a logo that remains pretty cool and futuristic even 12 years later, in 2022.
London 2012 Olympics Logo — $625,000
The Olympics is always a big deal; not only because of the prominence of the event, but also the money that goes into it and the culture that surrounds it. This was the case with the 2012 Olympics taking place in London.
In fact, this particular logo is both the most famous and infamous of them all, as it cost the Olympics committee the most money and received the most critique from the public. People were outraged that this cubism-inspired logo cost this much money — a staggering $625,000 — yet didn’t represent British culture in the slightest. Besides, people thought that the logo looked dated and belonged to the 80’s or the 90’s, not 2012.
In what was a first in Olympic history, the logo did not feature the city or the country, but the year: 2012. Four strong, loud colors, inspired by the worlds of media, communication and fashion.
Hot take but we actually don’t mind the looks of this logo. At the end of the day, it has done the job it was created for — it brought attention to the event and made public resonance.
Nonetheless, in our humble opinion, the font the designer chose for the logo doesn’t look that impressive and cheapens the overall brand identity of the London 2012 Olympics.
Pepsi — $1,000,000
Pepsi vs Coke is a lifelong rivalry. But when talking about the cost of the logo, we have a clear winner. While Coca-Cola didn’t pay a penny for the original design of their logo, Pepsi splurged a million of dollars on their rebranding.
But when you look at it closely, the only thing that really changes is the position of the white section. It curved a little bit. The creators of the logo, Arnell Group, linked the new logo to:
- Hindu tradition
- Mona Lisa
- Earth’s gravitational field
- Sun radiation
But the thing is….
This is what they did, really. For a million dollars.
To draw our verdict, we need to throw in this image:
The 1950 to 1962 rebranding was revolutionary. Pepsi stepped away from being Coca-Cola-like and developed a look of their own.
Today’s logo revamp, on the other hand, doesn’t really look 1 million bucks worthy.
But we really do respect the hustle: the designers secured the bag while doing the bare minimum and justifying it with the bare maximum, so to say.
And since we’ve already touched on the subject of expensive logos, let’s jump straight to the example of an out-of-this-world expensive rebranding…
Symantec — $1,280,000,000
An expensive boy. Symantec. Have you heard of them before? Might not have. Have you seen the tick before? You must have. This is the reason the new logo of the Symantec corp costs so much, a mind-blowing $1.2 billion.
Once you have all the facts straight, it doesn’t seem so shocking anymore.
The reason why this logo costs so much is because they acquired VeriSign and their famous check mark, the official sign of the authentication of security certificates (SSL) for websites.
The logo itself isn’t worth $1.2 billion dollars. But the concept that comes with this rebranding does. It’s a sign of trustworthiness that brings you — a cybersecurity software company — loads of clients. And we respect that! Kudos to Symantec for incorporating the check mark of reliability so skillfully into their new logo.
At the end of the day, it’s not your design that costs a small fortune. It’s the meaning you put behind it:
- Learn who your audience is
- Learn what visuals your competitors use
- Create public resonance
- Translate your brand vision into a brand visual
- Be bold with your ideas
And if you have all of that checked off your list, create the actual design for free, with the VistaCreate logo maker.
Make sure you check out our vast library of customisable templates that can set your brand apart from the competition, and get down to creating the next billion dollar corporation of yours.