Note: this is a condensed version/follow-up of The $5 Logo. If you like this article, check out the original to get the full story, including design reviews of each logos and a very passionate comment thread.

In the past couple years, demand for good design has risen tremendously, and designer salaries in the Bay Area now routinely break the 6-figures barrier.

But that’s not the world I want to focus on today. Instead, I want you to join me on an adventure exploring the jungle of super-cheap, single-figure design to try and answer a simple question: what happens when you only pay someone $5 to design your logo?

The answer might surprise you! Or more likely, it won’t… In any case, read on for an epic tale of lies, deception, stolen work, and crappy logos.

The Price of Design

First, a bit of background: my own startup Folyo helps connect startups with a selection of hand-picked freelance designers.

Posting a project on Folyo costs $100, and the designer’s own fee can often reach in the several thousands of dollars depending on the complexity of the job.

And on the higher end of the market, hiring an agency can often cost several tens of thousands of dollars.

A Logo for $5

So you can imagine my surprise when I learned about a site offering design services for $5. That site is Fiverr, and they’ve built their whole business on the promise of cheaper-than-cheap prices:

Fiverr seemed to be a direct threat to traditional designers and sites like Folyo: after all, why pay a logo designer $1000 when you could get 200 logos for the same price? Even if these aren’t all of the highest quality, there‘s bound to be a few good ideas among them based on sheer variety alone.

Yet it also seemed too good to be true: how on earth could anybody make a living creating logos for $5?

I decided to find out for myself by going undercover: I would make up a fake company, hire three logo designers on Fiverr, and see what kind of results I’d get. Best of all, I could accomplish all this for a mere $15!

Note: just to get it out of the way: yes, there’s a conflict of interest here since Folyo and Fiverr are both in the business of helping people find designers. That doesn’t make what you’re about to read any less true, though.

Introducing SkyStats

My first task was coming up with a plausible-sounding fake company. I settled on “SkyStats”, a SaaS analytics app for travel sites.

Don’t ask me what “analytics for travel sites“ really means. The important part was that the name was evocative enough: planes, clouds, graphs… For $5, I didn’t want to make my designers think too hard to find a good metaphor.

image description
The SkyStats team as I like to imagine it, lead by CEO Sky McFly

Bait & Switch

Now for the fun part: finding the three lucky designers who would get the job, and thus receive a princely $5 apiece.

This is when I encountered the first problem.

While browsing Fiverr, I saw many designers featuring impressive work on their profile. But when I’d browse their on-site portfolio, the quality would suddenly drop after a few pages, quickly going from sleek, glossy renders…

image description

Fiverr seemed to be a direct threat to traditional designers and sites like Folyo: after all, why pay a logo designer $1000 when you could get 200 logos for the same price? Even if these aren’t all of the highest quality, there‘s bound to be a few good ideas among them based on sheer variety alone.

  1. that National Open Championships must be under the direct control of the national organization (federation) of that country;
  2. that only one such tournament may be held annually in any country
  3. that the date of the tournament must be sanctioned by the Tournament Committee of the IBF
  4. that the title of the tournament must be approved by the IBF

Yet it also seemed too good to be true: how on earth could anybody make a living creating logos for $5?

I decided to find out for myself by going undercover: I would make up a fake company, hire three logo designers on Fiverr, and see what kind of results I’d get. Best of all, I could accomplish all this for a mere $15!

Note: just to get it out of the way: yes, there’s a conflict of interest here since Folyo and Fiverr are both in the business of helping people find designers. That doesn’t make what you’re about to read any less true, though.

  • that National Open Championships must be under the direct control of the national organization (federation) of that country;
  • that only one such tournament may be held annually in any country
  • that the date of the tournament must be sanctioned by the Tournament Committee of the IBF
  • that the title of the tournament must be approved by the IBF
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