Just published my latest project on Behance and was hoping if everyone here can kindly take a look and give me some feedback.
A little context on the project:
Hakuhan is a Japanese restaurant/dining hall stationing in the Gion area of Kyoto, Japan. Recently, with its increasing popularity, the brand has decided to expand its business further throughout the country and possibly overseas. The decision was made before the pandemic started causing damage in the country, and with the reduced number of customers these past few months, the brand decided to have its identity redesigned and have its interior designed anew to prepare for new customers (Japan will soon lift its travel restriction in the coming weeks). The project this time was launched to exactly design a new identity for the restaurant.
The biggest question I would like to ask is, if you are a business owner, how much are you willing to pay for a project of this scale and quality? I’ve charged the owner of this restaurant $200 for the full logo design, and an additional $1500 for other materials as we came to a compromise that the owner allows me to post the project on Behance for a discount (I was also being considerate of the restaurant’s current circumstances since the economy is pretty bad in overall). However, how much, do you think, would a normal agency charge for a project like this in normal condition?
We don’t discuss pricing here.
It’s generally assumed that if you are a practicing professional, you know what the market will bear in the area in which you live and work, that you know what you need to charge in order to maintain your own standard of living, and that you have the skill level to bring a return on investment to your clients’ bottom lines.
Pricing is relative.
The restaurant you’re referring to is apparently very successful and making lots of money. They’re expanding throughout Japan and thinking about overseas. Doing this will cost them many millions of dollars. It’s absolutely critical that they maximize their chances of success through a well-researched, well-planned, well-executed visual identity. Their logo, their advertising, their signs, etc., will be the first exposure their new potential customers will have to these restaurants in each of the new markets they enter. It’s these first impressions that will largely be responsible for bringing in new customers.
So given that this restaurant expansion will cost millions and, if done right, make many millions more, how much should it be worth to the business owner to maximize the chances of success by ensuring that a critical part of the strategy — the visual branding — is done right?
Pouring the concrete sidewalk and steps leading up to the front door on just one of their restaurants could cost them ten times that amount. A single, mid-sized commercial dishwasher for a restaurant will cost around $5,000. One commercial steam kettle in which to cook just part of the food in one restaurant can cost tens of thousands of dollars. I just looked up the prices on these things to make sure.
The rug lying just inside the front door of just one of their restaurants will cost as much as you charged. Nobody notices the rug. It’s just there to help keep the floor clean. The right visual branding, on the other hand, might very well make or break a business expansion in which many millions of dollars are at stake.
So what do you think? Should the cost of the visual branding be the same as a rug or a tenth the cost of a single commercial kitchen appliance?
The answer seems fairly obvious. Even so, it’s not your fault. Designers have done a horrible job at marketing themselves over the years and attaching a cost to their work that reflects the actual value it brings to their clients.
Nearly 40 years ago, when I entered this field, the going price for a small business to pay for a logo design in my city was around $600. My very first design project at the first agency job I got after graduating from college was a logo for a local television station. I can’t remember the exact price, but the agency charged somewhere around $60,000 for it.
Today, almost 40 years later, when factoring in inflation, the going prices for these same things (and the research and thought put into them) has dropped to a tiny fraction of what we thought was normal — especially on the crowdsourcing sites where I’ve seen people offer logo design services for as low as about the same price as a couple of grapefruits at the local supermarket.
Like I said, it’s not your fault. You likely charged the restaurant what the company was willing to pay, even though the value it will bring to them is thousands of times that much.
@Just-B@Billyjeanplxiv@pluto Thank you for your feedback. I’m really glad that you enjoy the project.
To be honest, the price range for design in Japan is still relatively low compared to other countries such as the Western world. Although the price has been slowly picking up, it’s still just a fraction of what the price should be in general. This is because of the (in general) bad designs that generally dominate the people’s thinking in the society here. There have been some changes over the last decade as many Japanese companies start expanding (and losing) their businesses overseas. However, that doesn’t mean that businesses in the country fully appreciate good designs and as such, it’s difficult to charge a high price. Compare some of Japan’s largest corporations’ websites to the websites of other companies in the same field and you’ll see what I mean.
Working as a freelancer (while looking for a full-time job), I found myself wanting to expand my reach not only to companies and businesses in Japan but to other countries as well, and as such, I’ve been looking for a good benchmark to set my price properly. I know that there are companies and agencies charging over $10k to millions for branding projects. However, the scale of these projects is usually larger than what I alone can offer (for example, they also include full promotional videos, product promotional videos, etc. for the branding package, which is something the current me am incapable of), and the project length is usually longer, making it difficult for me to use their case studies as a benchmark. As such, I sought out everyone’s opinions so as to price myself more properly.
Again, thank you for your valuable feedback, and I’m really glad that the project I designed was to your liking (this is also the first time I combined some of Japan’s best design style with Western styles so I was a bit nervous as well).