The release of the new logo designed for the Philadelphia Water Department has caused a great deal of controversy over the cost for what many are considering to be a minimal change to a logo that was not in great need of one. An article released on Philly.com details out the total project cost, including the cost of the logo, for a total of $350,000 over a 3-year period that is an entire rebranding initiative to improve processes within PWD.
The purpose of this article is not to repeat the details and controversy around the money that was spent and in what way, but to highlight aspects of the process that PWD is going through that may be less understood or overlooked by individuals that do not have information about the design and consultant industries.
In the design industry, knowing whether a client needs a redesign versus logo creation from scratch can be an interesting process. A redesign starts with identifying how the client’s business, company, or needs have changed that necessitate the redesign. From there, the designer and the client decide which parts of the logo will remain the same, be adjusted slightly, or if all parts are up for consideration of the reworking. This process can take a few weeks with revisions. The cost varies according to the size of the logo and the duration of the project from initial consultation to final image.
When creating a logo from scratch, the process is collaborative between the designer and the client. The client may have an idea or a concept to start with for inspiration, or the client may not have an idea about what will best capture his company’s message and essence while being creative, memorable, and unique. This process starts with an identity consultation and discovery planning, with the price varying the depending on the duration of the project, the number of hours spent on creation and subsequent revisions, etc.
More interesting, the amount of work that goes into a rebranding can vary greatly depending on the size of the company, what the client needs or is hoping to achieve, and the amount of time required to achieve the goals. All of these factors affect the cost. As part of the process, there are questions like how much marketing collateral needs to be redesigned to match the new brand? Does the website need to be redesigned and redeveloped? How much research needs to be done? Does surveying need to be done? Is there a need for focus group testing, etc?
It is easy to assume that the cost for a logo, even as part of a larger project, may be too great. But ultimately, the degree of a company’s overall need for change, combined with the expertise provided by the consultant, will determine the final cost, and result in the significant change that is sought.